GatorCountry brings you a new podcast as we preview the NFL for the Florida Gators prospect this coming week.
Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre talk about all the Gators prospects and who could be the first off the board for Florida this year.
Andrew and Nick also talk about the latest in recruiting, plus the latest with Notre Dame transfer Malik Zaire.
Andrew: What’s up, Gator Country? Your man, Andrew Spivey, here with Nicholas de la Torre. Nicholas, a little bit of a break for us, but we’re back and it’s officially draft week. About 300, 350 guys will have their dream come true on Saturday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Nick: Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
Andrew: Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Sorry. Big, big week for a lot of guys, including several Gators.
Nick: Yeah. This is what you’ve worked for your entire life. You go to college, and I’m sure you love your university and love your teammates, your brothers there, but the end goal and the goal your entire life has been to play in the NFL. So, Thursday night you get the first round, and second and third round on Friday. A lot of dreams realized those two days. Even those guys that go in the later rounds, or even go un-drafted. We talk about guys who are getting drafted in the sixth, seventh round, sometimes they and their agents almost would rather not be drafted and get to pick your spot after that. Look at Brian Poole of an example of somebody who didn’t get drafted last year, and then all of a sudden, before he knows it, starting the Super Bowl.
Andrew: That’s a good point. When you get in the sixth and seventh round, there is no guarantee for anything. So, if you get picked up as a free agent, you get to basically pick your team.
Nick: Pick your situation.
Andrew: Yeah. Pick the depth chart and all that. You talk about Brian Poole. There’s several guys. His name forgets me, but the guy from the Patriots who had the game winning interception.
Nick: Malcolm Butler.
Andrew: Yeah. Couple years ago, that was a free agent as well. A lot of guys. Nick, several Gators going to go this weekend, but one had a weekend that he would kind of like to forget.
Nick: It actually stems from a little bit over a week ago on 4-13, April 13th. It’s not like he was out doing this week. I had some people saying, “What is doing out at the bars five days before the draft?” Well, it wasn’t this week. This is kind of like an onion, you peel back a layer, and all of a sudden there’s 30 more layers.
You’ve got one side saying that the police lied, the other side saying that Brantley’s lying, and, all of a sudden, this person is lying. Just a lot of stuff going on. Huntley Johnson, who is representing Caleb Brantley, he alleged that the initial report that the police falsified the report. The victim’s attorney is saying that Caleb Brantley is almost triple this girl’s size, and he knocked her out. There’s witnesses saying that Caleb Brantley did it.
On Monday morning, Brantley, through his attorney, through Huntley Johnson, filed a written plea of not guilty, according to the court records. Whether or not he did this, it’s really terrible timing for him, with the draft coming up. He’s a guy who probably projected second or third round. Maybe a Friday guy, maybe even middle to late third round. Some teams will just scratch you off, off their list, because of something like this. Even if it’s just an allegation, it’s not a risk that they’re willing to take when they’re investing millions of dollars. Other ones who maybe really liked you before are now trying to scramble for any type of information, and right now, because of everyone pointing fingers and saying the other one’s lying, it’s really hard to figure out who to believe.
Andrew: That’s the thing that sucks about it all is that it’s so close. It’s kind of a reminder that one decision can mess up a lot of things. Was able to be around Caleb Brantley a lot, as you were Nick, and able to be around him since really his high school. I’ll say this, Caleb Brantley did have some things that I think everyone noticed about. There was some times he would maybe lack a little bit on the field, not play as hard, but never thought this was something Brantley would do. He seemed like a guy that was very respectful, I guess is the best way to say it.
It’ll be interesting to kind of see what this is all about, because, like you say, there’s a lot of misinformation out there of this, and that, and who falsified the report, and so on. The police falsifying reports is a big deal. We’ll just have to see, but it definitely will affect where Brantley goes. You look at things like Joe Mixon, not even invited to the Combine. Crazy things like this definitely affect your draft stock.
Nick: Any of these things can affect your draft stock. There’s so many things that can affect your draft stock, and the NFL has taken somewhat of a hard stance. It seems like they’ve taken a harder stance on smoking pot than they have on hitting women, but they do so much background and look at all these guys to see what kind of people they are before they bring them into the organization.
Something like this to happen, I don’t want to say that there’s a better time to have hit a woman, because there never is, but something to pop up so close to the draft it’s got to make the team, or teams, think, “What are you doing? What’s important to you?” Like we said earlier, this is a dream for people. How can you not just stay out of trouble two weeks before an opportunity to realize your dream?
Andrew: Right. Exactly. That’s a good point. It’s interesting, to say the least, but we’ll move on, and let the process go about. As we say, all of it is alleged right now. Nobody is guilty of anything yet, so we’ll see. Let’s go on to the draft itself. You got guys like Quincy Wilson, Jarrad Davis. Teez Tabor, I guess, is still in the mix to be that first guy off the board for Florida. I personally, Nick, I think it’ll be Quincy Wilson on Thursday that goes. Would I be surprised if someone took Jarrad Davis? No. I think Jarrad Davis is a prototypical NFL linebacker. Be interesting to see where it is, but I think the Gator streak of having a first round draft pick stays pretty good this year.
Nick: Yeah. The only thing, I feel like there’s so many great cornerbacks in this draft that it’s kind of just like you’ve got to pick who you like, if you’re a team. Is Quincy Wilson better than Teez Tabor? Is he better than Stripling from Michigan, or the guys from …
Nick: Iowa, Desmond King, the guys like Malik Hooker. There’s so many cornerbacks in this draft that maybe that’s, are six going to be taken in the first round? I don’t Caleb Brantley, Alex Anzalone or Marcus Maye are really going to be first round guys. I think you might be looking at just one or two. And after the way Tabor kind of ran, I know there’s been some excuses with his leg and stuff like that, but it depends on how teams look at all that. I don’t know if he’s even a first round guy. Really, right now I think you might be looking at just the two, Jarrad Davis and Quincy Wilson.
Andrew: I would agree with that. I think it’s two, and I think it’s now a battle of who’s going to be the top guy. Is it going to be Quincy, or is it going to be Jarrad? I think it’s up for grabs. I think it will be Quincy, and then I think you probably see one to two guys go in the second round, with probably Teez. I don’t think Teez goes past the second, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a guy like Marcus Maye slip up into that second round overall.
Nick: Yeah. Marcus Maye’s kind of an interesting player for teams. I talk about this with NFL teams. There’s only 53 roster spots. If you can play multiple positions, if you can fill multiple spots, look at Trey Burton. That’s how Trey Burton is still playing football with the Philadelphia Eagles. He’s going to be on all your special teams, and you can play him at wide receiver, a slot wide receiver, or a tight end. So, he’s filling roles for you, instead of having to carry two or three people. Can Marcus Maye be a guy that play every special team, play safety, free safety or strong? Probably. And a guy that can come down and play a little bit of nickel or play in the box. Right there, you’re looking at a guy who can fill two, three roles for you. Where do people value that?
Andrew: Right. I think that’s a good point, and I think it’s a thing of Maye being a guy that really, if you look at how he was playing, had he not got hurt you’re talking about a guy that is pretty much a for sure second round guy. I don’t think it’s a reach at all to say that he’ll be picked in the second or third, at the latest.
Nick, give us a rundown real quick of the guys you think will have their name called this weekend.
Nick: I think Thursday it’ll be either Quincy or Jarrad, and then Friday you look at Tabor, Maye, Anzalone. It’s hard to say where Caleb Brantley will fall to. I do think he falls, but how far? It’s kind of like it’s different for every team. Every team will view Caleb Brantley and the situation differently. They’ll be waiting on news all the way up, digging for news all the way up until they pick, decide to pick him or decide not to pick him. That’ll be interesting to see. We’ll see what else happens. I’m sure Huntley Johnson, who is representing him, will try to get as much information out as they can.
I think Alex Anzalone is a Saturday guy, rounds four through seven. Maybe could sneak into the late third, and then you’re starting to look at guys that will probably hope to have their name called. Chris Thompson is a guy I don’t think will get drafted, but someone who could catch on quickly as teams look for punt return, kick return kind of guy who can play wide receiver. David Sharpe is a guy, probably, in my opinion, rounds four through seven.
Really, that’s it. I don’t expect Mark Herndon, Neil MacInnes, Ahmad Fulwood, to be drafted. Bryan Cox, Jr. and Joey Ivey, two guys never had a problem off the field. Never have to worry about that. Best case scenario, they’re Saturday guys, I think. Florida could walk away with eight guys drafted. Let’s see. Anzalone, Brantley, Cox, Davis, Ivey, Maye, Sharpe, Tabor, Wilson. Could have eight to nine guys drafted there.
Andrew: I think the guy that is going to surprise people the most, and maybe it’s not a surprise to people, but Alex Anzalone. Would I be surprised to see his name called on Friday night? No. I really wouldn’t. When you see what he did at the Senior Bowl, people were really impressed by how he did at the Senior Bowl.
People are always going to look back at his past, but his father had a good point to me at the Senior Bowl. He said, “Honestly, there’s nothing Alex can do about his past except for show that he’s healthy and ready to go forward.” That’s something that I think is a good point. There is no wiping away the medicals from Florida. There is no wiping away what happened. It is what it is. There’s nothing you can do about it. He just has to show teams he’s healthy.
Would I be surprised to see him go on Friday? Absolutely not. I think that Anzalone is a guy that, like you say, is going to be able to play all your special teams, can play all your linebacker spots, never going to get in trouble off the field, and is going to be a guy that is smart, athletic, and can run with the athletic playmakers in the NFL. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get drafted on Friday.
Nick: Yeah. You can’t change the medicals. It’s still there. We’ll see where he goes. I wouldn’t be surprised. I’m in the same boat with you. I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes Friday night, and if he doesn’t go Friday, I expect him to go early Saturday, go early. I don’t expect him to drop past the fourth round.
Andrew: I would be incredibly shocked to see him drop past the third round. That would be something that somebody would get a hell of a player if they dropped to the fourth round. I know your Dolphins, Nick, they were very high on him at the Senior Bowl.
Andrew: Met with Dan Marino for dinner. That was something that I know him and his family were very excited about as well. Like I said, I think it will be interesting. He’s a guy that I could very well see having a Brian Poole type of impact. I say Brian Poole, and I don’t mean that as in he’ll be undrafted. I mean a guy that wasn’t the top guy being talked about in the draft for Florida last year made him a good career, good season. I think that’s how Anzalone is. If Anzalone stays healthy, Anzalone may be a first round draft pick, and I have no problem saying that.
Nick: I don’t think you’re wrong about that. It’s just every team, every single team that brought him in, they have their own doctors look at him, and a lot of that is just opinion at that point. Go back to my Dolphins when they’re trying to pick between Drew Brees and Dante Culpepper. Dr. James Andrew says, “Drew Brees will never be able to throw again.” Obviously, the Saints doctor, whoever they went to, didn’t feel the same way. It’s an opinion.
You might have had someone’s team doctor say, “Listen, his shoulder’s a ticking time bomb. It’s going to blow up, and then he’s never going to be able to play again.” Or someone says, “Hey, couple freak accidents. Don’t worry about it. Play with some extra protection. Play with a brace, and he’ll be fine.” Then he’s obviously higher on that team’s board than the team with the doctor that did not give him a clean bill of health.
Andrew: You’re Nick Saban may be still coaching at the Dolphins, had Dante Culpepper not been the choice.
Nick: I don’t want to talk about Nick Saban and the Dolphins.
Andrew: Nick, let’s move on. To say the least, Nick, the Gators softball team is on fire. On fire.
Nick: Yeah. Pat Dooley, I think, covered the game Thursday, Friday, and then he was at baseball on Saturday, so I got to talk about it with him, talk about the girls a little bit with him while he was there. The one main thing that we were laughing about is hour and a half, the girls are done, because of how well they’re playing.
Andrew: It’s insane. It’s insane just how good they really are, Nick. I told you this stat before we went on the air here, and that was Florida has played 22 games against top 25 teams. They’ve lost two games, one to Kentucky and one to Auburn, and the other 20, of the 20 wins, they’ve had 14 shutouts, and six games where they’ve only given up one run. One run, Nick. That’s saying you do well against the elite of the elite.
Nick: Pretty easy to win softball games, baseball games, if you’re only giving up one run.
Andrew: Kelly Barnhill is now sitting with the nation’s best ERA, with a 0.17 ERA.
Nick: Leads the nation?
Andrew: Leads the nation.
Nick: She had a bad weekend. She gave up two hits.
Andrew: Four hits.
Andrew: Had a bad week. Gave up the four hits, but in 12 innings pitched this weekend she had 22 strikeouts. Now is sitting with a cool 230 strikeouts in 122 innings pitched. Nearly two strikeouts an inning. It’s insane. In 122 innings pitched, she’s only given up 48 hits. Opponents are hitting a cool .117 against her.
Nick: They are getting it done. I haven’t been able to watch as much. How is the rotation? How has he been handling the girls throwing?
Andrew: It’s mainly gotten to a point where it’s a Barnhill/Gourley duo. Poor Delanie Gourley would be the best on 90% of teams. Just has a .94 ERA. Does have the three losses on the year. 0.94 ERA though, and has only given up 15 earned runs on the year, and she has to settle for second best.
Nick: Yeah. Gourley’s kind of taken a backseat to Barnhill. Not because she’s been bad. Just kind of, I think because of how crazy good that Barnhill has been, and that can happen. That happened to Florida, I think, last year. Faedo was so good, led the SEC in wins with 13 wins, but the whole talk was about Logan Shore. He kind of got overshadowed by Shore, who set the record for most consecutive wins.
Andrew: That’s exactly what it is. Good for her, though. Nick, baseball, give us an update.
Nick: Florida took two of three this week from, why did I just blank on who they played? Florida took two of three this weekend, were able to come back, or hold off, on Thursday, with a 1-0 win, 1-0 shutout win. Alex Faedo went eight and two thirds. You lose on Saturday, and really just not hitting. Not hitting with guys on base is killer. Florida gets runners on. They’re down two. Runners on, bases loaded, eighth inning, and you don’t get any runs. That’s the fourth time this year that Florida’s gotten runners on base, bases loaded with nobody out, and not got any runs. Happened twice against Auburn. Once against LSU, and then again last night, or again Friday night. That’s a huge problem. Not hitting with the bases loaded and no outs, and Florida’s left a ton of guys on base this year.
Then you look at, you get into Saturday, the final game of the schedule, or final game of the weekend. Second inning, same thing happens. Bases loaded, no outs. You score a run this time, but it’s on a ground ball, double play. Christian Hicks doesn’t even get an RBI for that, and then you’re out after that.
Andrew: That’s bad luck.
Nick: It’s not even bad luck. They’re just not good swings. It’s guys taking huge swings when they’re up with bases loaded, not cutting down their approach. Bases loaded, no outs, all I need to do is look for something that I can hit in the air to the outfield. That’s it. I don’t need to hit a grand slam. You don’t need to hit a triple or clear the bases. Call a sacrifice fly. Hit something hard through the infield. It’s just these big swings. Now, when it happened on Saturday, South Carolina brought in Tyler Johnson, who’s one of the best closers in the country, and someone tells me, “What’s Austin Langworthy swinging at?” I said, “Well, he’s swinging at 98, so you’re kind of just hoping.”
Andrew: Good luck getting in there and you not doing that.
Nick: Yeah. But third time’s a charm, I guess. Saturday JJ Schwarz comes up in the eighth inning, bases loaded again, no outs, and gets a ball. They brought in a new pitcher. The pitcher before walked Nelson Maldonado on four straight, and JJ comes in and gets a ball to start off. So, hey, this pitcher’s done five straight balls. I know he’s throwing a get me over fastball, and JJ was just waiting on it. Hit it. Gone. Kind of reminded you of the grand slam against Florida State last year that kind of shut the door on the Seminoles in the super regional.
Andrew: Yeah. You say that about the runners left on base, and I can compare that kind of to softball a little bit. We talk about softball’s pitching, and hitting’s been good. Don’t get me wrong, but that’s kind of been the same thing a little bit is that when runners get on base it’s a lot of hard contact, but it’s right at someone that either causes the runner to be out at the plate, double play, so on and so on. I think every team though struggles with that a little bit. Nick, real quick, give me a recap. Recap me real quick. Where does Florida stand in the SEC?
Nick: Florida’s two games back from Kentucky right now, but it’s a pretty favorable schedule coming up. You get Georgia, who is cellar dweller, Ole Miss, who’s been struggling. Alabama, everybody in the SEC wants to play Alabama right now. They just dropped, I think, 10 in a row in SEC play. They took Mississippi State, who’s been the best team, them and Kentucky, been the best team in the conference two extra innings, and then drop and infield fly, and go on to lose the game.
Right now, I think Alabama is kind of just biding their time, and waiting and hoping for this season to be over. Let me see. They got swept by Mississippi State. That’s three. Swept by Texas A&M, three. Swept by Ole Miss is three. Is nine, and lost their last one to Arkansas, so they’ve lost 10 in a row in the SEC.
So, favorable schedule. Kentucky just had a good series against LSU. I think they took two of three from LSU. I’m pulling it up right now. It’s not the hardest for Florida. You’re going to end with Kentucky, and I think if you take care of your business, that last series of the season is going to be probably for the SEC, or for the SEC East.
Andrew: Okay. That’s kind of how …
Nick: Kentucky actually lost two of three to Mississippi State earlier in the year. Beat Missouri, two of three. They beat Louisville, 11-7. Louisville at the time was #2 team in the country. Just took two of three from LSU, including huge wins. They won 10-2 on Sunday. They played a double-header on Friday, and they won 12-5 in the first game. Kentucky will play South Carolina this week at South Carolina, in Columbia. Then they get to feast on Georgia and feast on Tennessee. Tennessee is also another bad team that they’ll get to play before ending up with Florida. Not the hardest road for Kentucky either.
Andrew: Okay. That’s kind of how softball is. Softball has a little bit of a different thing, because Vanderbilt does not have a softball team, so there’s only 13 teams in the SEC. So, every team gets a bye week. Florida has their bye week as the last weekend of the regular season. Florida has one more series. Crazy enough, Nick, can you believe that it’s already the end of the conference season almost?
Andrew: Seems like it just started.
Nick: Yeah. It’s gone by quickly.
Andrew: Florida has Tennessee this weekend, with a three game set, and then they have a weekend where they play North Texas twice, and then they play Florida A&M. Like I said, it’s different for them, because you wouldn’t think that you would want to end the season with a bye week, but that’s how it is. Florida right now is currently ahead of Tennessee. They have a two game lead on Tennessee, and a game lead over Texas A&M.
Basically, Florida is going to this weekend with a chance to win the division. If they go out and sweep Tennessee, they’re going to win the SEC. Heading into a bye week, so they can have it clinched up by then. That Tennessee weekend is a big one. In Knoxville, a place Florida usually struggles, and Tennessee is on a high note. They had a long winning streak just snapped by LSU and a walk-off homer.
Crazy that Florida, at 44-3, is going to go into the last weekend needing basically a sweep to guarantee an SEC Championship, but that’s how good the SEC is. Texas A&M right now looking at a 40-5 overall record, and then you look at Tennessee, who’s 41-6 on the year. As crazy as Florida has done this year, and as good as they’ve been, the SEC is right there. I mean, you look at Auburn. They’re fourth place and a 39-8 record. Alabama’s in fifth place, five games back, and they’re 37-11 on the year.
Nick: Can you imagine going 40-5 and not winning? Not winning your conference?
Andrew: How mad do you get? Here’s the thing that could hurt Florida, and this is what may look out to be, but say Florida drops one game to Tennessee this weekend, and Texas A&M sweeps the next two series. Florida could lose the tiebreaker to Texas A&M because of a rainout.
Nick: That would be pretty unbearable to have to go through.
Andrew: They would lose it, because they lost a rainout to Missouri, who is the third worst team in the conference. Yeah. Here’s another thing, and I’m going to throw this stat at you real quick. Ole Miss is #18 in the country, and they are in, let’s see, ninth place in the SEC. Pretty wild, to say the least. Football gets the powerhouse name, but watch out. Softball and baseball are right up there with it.
Nick: How many teams do you think are going to be regional hosts from the SEC?
Andrew: Regional hosts? I would say probably at least six.
Andrew: You’ve got nine teams that are ranked, and two teams that are right outside the top 25. You talk about it, your top 16 teams get ranked. Six very well could be hosts. You’re looking at four probably being super regional hosts.
Andrew: When you look at the rankings here. I’ll pull them up real quick while we’re sitting here talking about it. When you look at the rankings, Nick, week after week SEC softball is just dominating. Florida State was supposed to be the #1 team. Florida beat them. They’re going to get another chance here in a couple weeks. When you look at the top 16 teams, you have six teams of the SEC in the top 16.
Nick: To me, it was so incredible when Florida went, and it wasn’t just the SEC, but when Florida went to Omaha, was it two years ago? They had played six of the eight teams, and they were the seventh.
Andrew: Yeah. When you look at the top teams, Florida has done really well. They beat up on Auburn. They got a chance to go to Tennessee and play them. They’ve played Florida State, who’s up there as well. When you look at the other teams that they’ve played, LSU’s up in there, Michigan’s in the top 25. Tim Walton’s a lot like Kevin O’Sullivan, in that he wants his out of conference to be the best of the best. He wants to go out to California, where he plays UCLA, where he plays Michigan, where he plays all these top teams. He wants to play those teams. That way when they get to Oklahoma City, it’s no surprise. They faced them.
Nick, let’s move on a little bit. Let’s finish real quick with some recruiting. Since the last time we talked, Florida picked up the big running back, Iverson Clement, out of New Jersey, and also the evaluation period has opened up. The staff’s able to get on the road. They’re able to see each prospect at the schools twice, or go to each school twice. One is supposed to be for academic purposes, to check out the transcript and all that good stuff, and the other’s supposed to be for their athletic, but we both know how that is. Both of them are for athletic, while they pick up the transcript.
So, that’s going on. With spring practice starting this week in Florida, you’ll start to see them get out, check out practices. Last week was a lot of out of state visits. A few in state visits as well, but they were out on the road. That signals a busy month, month and a half, as the evaluation doesn’t end till May 31st. Florida will be seeing spring games all the way up until that May 31st.
Nick: I think there’s only one recruit in town this weekend?
Andrew: Yeah. Rick Sandidge, out of North Carolina, was in town. Big defensive tackle. He was on spring break, and he visited Florida, Florida State, and Miami. Actually, on Monday he’s visiting Florida State. He was there, but a lot of the coaches on the weekends kind of get that off. Really it was only Drew Hughes and some of the recruiting staff, and Coach Rumph was there. Coach Shannon was on there. McElwain wasn’t. He’s out on speaking tours all week, so he wasn’t on campus. You don’t see as many visitors right now, because when you’re out on the road five days a week, the staff kind of gets the weekends to basically do nothing and lounge on the coach a little bit, relax and get the jetlag out of them.
That’s kind of where it is, but Sandidge did have a big visit over the weekend. That’s someone Florida is in the mix for, for sure, and is someone that Florida will continue to try to get back on campus. He says he’ll be coming back on campus. That was big.
The main news headlines are going to be that Florida’s out checking out the prospects, and they’ll be offering some ’19 kids and some ’20 kids while they’re out. Maybe here and there a 2018 kid that was either on the fringe, and they wanted to see them in practice, or was someone that they wanted to get a better height and weight for, and when they got their visit in he checked out like they wanted to. That’s kind of the headlines for recruiting until the end of the month.
Nick: What is the ever interesting, and not filled, quarterback position looking like?
Andrew: Of course, you would ask that.
Nick: I ask the people what they want. I ask what the people can’t ask.
Andrew: Are you asking about the transfer, Malik Zaire, or are you asking about high school guys? Because I think Zaire might be more popular than everybody else.
Nick: We can address that real quick. I think that’s just a matter of time. We’re going to have the spring meetings coming up in May. I was there last year. I’ll be there again. We’ll have the spring meetings in May, and I expect the coaches to vote on that, and for that to get switched before long. Listen, Malik Zaire wants to be at Florida. I’ll just go ahead and say that. I’ve got that from good sources. Wants to be at Florida.
There’s a reason he’s not out of school yet. There’s a reason he’s been waiting. It’s just tough. This isn’t the University of Alabama. This isn’t Florida State. Malik Zaire is a business major, and he’s got to get into Florida’s business school, Florida’s graduate business school, and that’s not easy. I think that’s what you’ve been waiting is for the rule change, and for him to get the necessary test scores that he needs to get.
Andrew: I’m like you in saying that I think that it’s a matter of time before the rule is changed to probably just a one year ban on signing transfer if you don’t. It’s a situation where SEC is at a disadvantage if they continue that rule. I’m like you in saying that if Zaire—
Nick: Greg Sankey said it on Pat Dooley’s show. He said, “We did it to try to set an example for all the other conferences, and then they didn’t follow suite. Now we’re just playing at a disadvantage.”
Andrew: Right. Exactly. I’m like you though, in saying that I think that if the rule changes, Zaire gets into grad school, like we all think he should, then he’s coming to Florida. After you seen the spring game, can anybody say Florida doesn’t need that quarterback?
Nick: Yeah. That’s an issue. That’s why quarterback’s always the most popular position to talk about, but I don’t know. I think Florida’s certainly behind Florida State in the quarterback situation. Are they behind Miami? I don’t know if I can say that, because Miami’s quarterback situation kind of looks like a disaster right now too.
Andrew: And they lost their starter in the spring game.
Nick: Yeah. Kind of looks like a disaster. Better than Florida’s? I don’t know. I don’t know that Zaire’s your panacea. I don’t know that he’s your band-aid that fixes everything. He’s got some playing time, but not a ton. I don’t know. I haven’t been high on him as a player, but you look at the other two quarterbacks, and what you’ve been getting from them, and you say, “Why not bring in someone else?”
Andrew: I’m with you. We’ll talk about the high school recruiting, because that’s everyone’s deal. Everyone and the brother loves Joe Milton, because he was a camp circuit freak. Everyone wants him. That’s the message board deal. Simply, there’s higher guys on the board. Florida right now is looking at Justin Fields, the Penn State quarterback commit. I got to visit with him a couple weeks ago up at his school, and he’s a guy that has legit interest in Florida. Is going to visit this summer with his father and his stepmom and mom. Is someone that I think Florida has a decent shot with.
I continue to tell people, “Joe Milton’s a good quarterback that just is a project.” I think right now, look, you’re talking about bringing in a grad transfer for the second year in a row, because you’re not sold on your quarterback position. You can’t go with a project at quarterback for Florida in this recruiting class. You need a guy that is polished, that just needs a little bit more polishing to be ready to play.
Nick: Yeah. I have noticed the Milton tribe. I just don’t get it. I also laugh when people say, “Oh, I watched his film.” You watched a Hudl highlight tape that he created, showing his best plays, not full game tapes. I would go ahead and say just to trust Florida when it comes to their evaluation, rather than what you’ve seen on Hudl.
Andrew: Right. Exactly. You can’t make me believe that Florida would not take Milton if they really thought that he was the guy. It’s a situation where people were griping about the quarterback position, but then they’re steading asking for more projects. You and I said this about Feleipe Franks, and that was Feleipe Franks was not ready to be the guy. He was going to need a lot of seasoning. He’s had a year and a half of seasoning, and look, he’s still not the guy. Sorry. It just is what it is. That’s nothing against Franks. That’s nothing against Milton. They’re just not ready. They’re not ready to be that guy.
Florida needs a guy in this class, whether that be Justin Fields, whether that be Kentucky commit, Jarren Williams, or whether that be Ohio State commit, Emory Jones. They need a guy that they can flip that is going to be a guy that is maybe not ready to start as a freshman, but is ready to be close to playing. The whole deal about freshman quarterbacks not playing in big games is kind of gone. When you look at what Deshawn Watson did a little bit, what Jalen Hurts did, what these quarterbacks are doing now as freshmen, the elite of the elite is playing early.
Nick: Yeah. It’s not just the elite of the elite. Look at Jake Fromm. Fromm has looked good spring at Georgia.
Andrew: The rumor that’s going around Georgia all week when I was up there was that Fromm is in the mix, and that he’s pushing Jacob Eason to be the guy. Nick, I think I texted you that, and said, “There’s a quarterback battle up there.” You said, “That’s not good for Georgia,” and I said, “No.” We can look at it two ways. Is Eason just not that guy we all thought he was going to be, or is Fromm just that dude?
Nick: I don’t know. I think Jacob Eason would be your starting quarterback if he’s at Florida. I don’t know if Fromm’s just that dude, or if it’s a knee’s an issue.
Andrew: I don’t know. I think Eason has a little bit of the Feleipe Franks, Brett Favre mindset, and that is he can put the ball anywhere with any hole within a split second, and I think he’s going to be a guy that will probably be a high interception guy, with a big arm. There’s nothing wrong with that, but there is some chatter that Fromm is a little bit more protective over the ball, but is also still has that big arm. We’ll see where that goes.
Nick, there definitely will be a lot of headlines coming out as it gets through. You get through this evaluation time, and guess what? It’s June, and it’s camp time. Florida will have a lot of camps in June, and follow that up by Friday Night Lights in July. It’s getting close to where it’s time for this class to really start coming together. There is a lot of positivity. The work Ja’Juan Seider, Drew Hughes, and those guys are doing is crazy. Every bit of talk about Seider being that great recruiter has come true. That man’s a workhorse.
Any final thoughts, Nick, before we get out of here?
Nick: I’m good.
Andrew: Good. All right. Everybody stay tuned to the draft. I know Nick will have some stuff for the draft coming up. We’ll always have it. If you haven’t checked out Zach Hughes lately on the basketball recruiting board, check it out, because that’s getting hot. By the way, open invitation. Anyone who got trolled in their membership in recruiting, come check out GC. We don’t troll you. We just spit the truth at you. No fake news over here. We have a coupon code for you as well. Come check us out. Join us for football, baseball, softball, basketball, basketball recruiting, and football recruiting.
Nick: How about that?
Andrew: No trolls. Right?
Nick: No. None over here.
Andrew: No trolls. No fake commitment news. Nick, tell the people where they can find us. We’ll get out. We’ll see everyone later in the week.
Nick: www.GatorCountry.com for all your Florida Gator news. You can find the podcast there in transcript and audio form. You can also find it on iTunes by searching @GatorCountry on the podcast player. You can find us also on social media. @GatorCountry on Facebook and Twitter. @TheGatorCountry on Instagram. I’m @NickdelaTorreGC. He’s @AndrewSpiveyGC.
Andrew: There you go. Again, as I said, if you want to join us, hit us up. We’ve got a coupon code for you. As always, guys, chomp, chomp. Go Braves.
Nick: You stay classy, Gator Country.