Last night, Gator Country held its first ever VIP Chat for VIP members and it was a blast, with many tidbits divulged and questions answered. Here’s our transcript for those of you who could not make it to our chat which ran over an hour. Stay tuned for another one in a week or two. Enjoy!
This chat transcript is normally reserved for VIP members only, but for this time only we’re making it open to all so you can get a glimpse as to one of the great VIP membership benefits… Don’t miss out on future informative “insider” chats! Upgrade today—it’s only 40 cents a day for VIP access!
Guys welcome to VIP Chat with Franz and Bob! For now Franz will go first and then Bob. Bob’s currently on the phone with Jamie Harper and should have a scoop on that. Again, folks, this is a moderated chat.
Franz go ahead and open up with something!
Franz: All right guys and girls… we’ll be talking about basketball tonight, so I’ll start by telling you that we’re in the mix for a GREAT class, not just a good one … I think something big could happen in the next two weeks even.
Angel Garcia looks like he will come to Gaiensville before he goes to Europe with the PR national team and that bodes well for us. This is getting very close to reality that he’ll be in our class.Â
Okay Franz is ready for questions.
It has been said that in order to take two more BB recruits in this class, someone current will have to leave, is that true and if so who do you think it will be, BP perhaps?????
We have an entire year … and Brandon might be here but someone else could transfer or Speights could go NBA. He’s improved that much.
Are we still looking good for Kadji?
Kenny Kadji I believe will be a Gator when he announces on July 25 in Las Vegas
Woods is out then?
I think it would take a huge upset for him not to be in our class. Woods and Aminu are talking about a package deal to Wake Forest … for some reason that does not make sense since Woods is a true 5 and so is Ty Walker … I can’t see them co-existing
Anybody in academic trouble.
Right now everybody is good … but there is the matter of the CLAST. I think Powell may have some problems there … that’s what did in Orien Greene. He had to leave UF because he couldn’t pass it and get in the upper division.
Is Garcia with the PR junor national team or the senior one? They have some serious ballers in PR.
Garcia is going to be playing with the senior team. His offensive skill level is off the charts. Give us Kadji, Tyus, Garcia and Speights and we’re really looking like a powerhouse for the next two or three years on the inside. That would be the best group of bigs in the country. Then you have Chandler Parsons 6-10 or 6-11 when he stops growing. Where will he play? Somewhere and he’ll be a nightmare.
Franz, you say Speights may leave early, what part of his game you think he has improved the most and how tall is he in person?
Speights is off the charts right now. He’s improved his game seriously. He’s expanded his jumper range and he’s scary good on the inside. He’s also shown that he has learned what shots to block and when.
So if Garcia looks in and so does Woods that would make 5 correct?
I’m having a hard time getting a handle on Woods. On one hand he says he’s going to go to WF with Al-Farouq as a package deal, but WF has Ty Walker who is a legit 7-footer and a true C … Woods is a low post guy all the way …. so I can’t see him going there. So I would have to say we’re still in the mix, but I think this is first dog that barks gets the bone.
Does parsons pass werner on the depth chart by the start of the season?
I don’t know if depth charts will really factor this year… My belief is we’re going to go with a 10-11 man rotation … Garrett Tyler is going to get on the floor. He is a walkon but he can play and he’s another player when you go to a pressing style that can play. Werner will play a whole lot. The Werner that looked so good against Ohio STate in December is the one we’ll see this year.
Have Kadji and Garcia qualified academically?
Kadji will not have a problem. I’m hearing Garcia is pretty good but haven’t gotten that confirmed. I think we’ll see Garcia’s transcripts soon.
Besides Speights, who do you think is going to break out next year?
Jonathon Mitchell is going to be a beast.
If the assistant leaves who might replace him?
Good question ellparr… I believe that billy’s got a replacement in mind already. Could be Darren Hertz who’s already on the staff in a pinch.
Franz, name your starting five for next year.
Hodge, Werner, Speights, Mitchell and Calathes
When is AAU Nationals in Orlando and which of our current recruits or commits are planning on being there?
AAU nationals are the last week of July, first few days of August
How are Werner & Mitchell this offseason?
Werner and Mitchell have had superb offseasons. Mitchell is New York smart so he can score and play inside even though he’s only 6-6. I think Dan Werner has his confidence back.
How are Taureen Green, Chris Richard, and Lee Humphrey doing in pre-draft workouts?
Taurean may sneak into the first round but I think first five or six picks of the second is more likely. C-Rich has moved into the top 40.. .he could move down but I think he will get drafted second round. Humpers is going to get a lot of free agent looks although he’s getting some good offers for Europe that woudl be more money.
Can speights handle 40 min a game?
Speights will have to be a 30 minute guy but he’ll be better than last year.
Do you expect more rebounding and shot blocking issues with this upcoming season?
I ASSUME THIS IS GONNA BE A BIG YEAR FOR MITCHELL AND WARNER THEY NEED TO IMPROVE OR THEY WILL BE PASSED BY THE NEW KIDS
I think that we won’t have as much depth and we won’t be as much a power team inside this year. I think Werner and Mitchell can really play and I think the way Billy is planning to play this year will be similar to the way we played in 2000. A lot of rotation. A lot of guys in and out. I think it’s a legit 10-man rotation.
Why are you so high on Garcia Franz?
Everybody I have talked to including coaches say he’s just gone off the charts with his offensive game. He’s a 4 that can play the 3 or the 5 and seems to do it with a flip of a switch. Goes from outside to inside and he’s comfy either way.
How do you see our team shape up with the rest of the SEC next yr?
Arkansas. Remember that. More talent than anyone else and now they have Pelphrey. They will have to choke to not make the Final Four. Tennessee is going to be really good too. We’re probably looking at the third slot in there. Kentucky is going to have to fight to be the number four team in the east.
Franz–you’ve been to all these camps and obviously the HS kids are giving us good reception–but do you see UF having the staying power of a UNC for example (ability to continue to recruit Top 10 classes) if we do happen to have a down year here & there?
We’re legitimately a basketball power now that all these kids know. Remember, these kids don’t remember when Duke won two in a row but they remember that Florida did.
Has things return to normal for Billy? He is a class act, IMO…
Billy is fine and our recruiting is right on track. We’ll have a great year recruiting and I think we’re a legit threat to win 23-25 games next year. I know that sounds optimistic, but I think we’re that talented. The freshmen can really play and the freshmen from last year are better than we have seen.
Losing as much experience as we have…do you think walter hodge has the leadership caliber attribute in him?
Walter Hodge is a fine kid and he’s a good leader. He’s mature. Married, has a daughter that he adores. The kids look to him and he’s very stable. Speights is going to be a GREAT leader and don’t count out Calathes.
Franz-what would be considered a good year in basketball next year, win wise?
Bill, we will win 20 or more … I would like to see us get to the Sweet 16. I think it’s possible. Tough to do for sure, but I think we could do it if we don’t have injuries. That’s the key. If we stay healthy, we can be really good.
Who does Ray Shipman most resemble with his style of play? And, what type of player should we expect? A big time scorer/ All-SEC or more of a team/role player?
Initially, Ray will be a role player … but his game will evolve. He’s a scorer. He’s a finisher. He’s versatile and he is ultimately a great team player. Think Stacey Poole.
Do you think jai lucas will get quality minutes this year even if Hodges stays healthy?
We’ll go 10 deep and they’ll all play a lot.
What position is Mitchell going to play?
High post or wing.
Is shyatt interested in being a head coach again?
If the right opportunity came he would. He had two offers last year, another 2-3 this year that he turned down.
And the last question for Franz tonight:
Who is this year’s Sixth man?
Once again … we will go 10 deep folks. All our guys will be playing. We’re not going to have a six or seven man rotation. We will sub in waves. It’s back to press till they puke defense and run the other guys in the ground on offense.
Thanks Franz! Anything you want to close with?
Yeah, I’ll be at the draft and I hope I’ll have some good stuff for you guys from NYC
Tim Casey plans on going with Franz, so we should have some phenomenal coverage…
As usual, right, Franz? ;)
Correcto… Tim in the big city… I’m worried!
Thanks for your time, Franz. Now we’ll have Hollywood Bob step in…
Bob, anything you want to open with?
Bob: Just talked to Jamie Harper. Great kid. He is the top running back on the board right now, had to track him down at his girlfriend’s house. Gators are definitely his leader, but he has an affinity for Clemson and it’ll be a dogfight.
I’ll go ahead and open the floor for questions – go ahead and fire away folks.
Bob how many recruits to we have that are silent?
I really don’t know of any silent commitments right now. Normally there would be one or two, but this year has just been different. I do think they would rather have a few more commitments than they already have at the moment.
bob-is patchan the top in-state ol on the board?
Yes I think you could say that Patchan and Love are the top two tackles and they want them both. I know Ricky Barnum is up there as well.
John Brown? How far is he from qualifying?
I think Brown makes it, but will not report until a week before the semester starts. He just has the one class to finish.
Bob, who on the team has made the most progress so far this offseason?
Well we have heard of Louis Murphy’s exploits, I think he is one that has come a long way and even in the summer. But, My money is on Aaron Hernandez. I think he will be a weapon and looks a lot bigger than he did in the spring.
What is the latest on Brandon James?
My guess is James will get a normal suspension of a game or two and then be allowed back. I don’t think he is a problem child, however he did make a very poor choice and that has to be dealt with. I am pretty sure no decision has been made, but it is not like Meyer to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
How is Tebow’s shoulder doing?
Tebow will be fine. He did better than I expected with an ailment in the spring. Honestly, he is much better than I ever anticipated, and should be 100% by fall.
Anything new on the CJ Spiller front?
With Spiller actively recruiting to Clemson I would say it is over for him coming here. Trust me, this was all but done a few months ago and Clemson had to re-recruit him. Florida did nothing, he just wanted out of there at the time.
When do the freshman show up? And start practicing?
The freshmen will start showing up this week. They will go through informal workouts at the practice field with their teammates as soon as they arrive. They will also start working out with Mickey Marotti and the strength coaches as soon as they arrive. Fall practice in pads and coaches starts the first week in August. That is the first time we can cover them for you guys and we will be there in full force.
I consider Javier Estopinan a third returning starter from last year, before he was injured he was getting quality playing time is that a good assumption?
I know this, Coach Mattison loves Javier Estopinan. Mattison is a guy that wants his players to do the right assignment. He feels he can coach them up technique wise enough that if they are in the right gap, they will do what he needs. Estopinan knows his assignments and does everything Mattison wants.
What do you hear about B. Waggoner’s progress? Saw him in Gainesville and he looked like he was ready to start practice.
Waggenner is so much bigger than I ever imagined. he is a beast. Honestly I don’t know much about his health progress, but it was my understanding he was supposed to be ready for fall practice.
Who do you see playing center?
It will be Drew Miller unless a rash of injuries happens and he has to go elsewhere. If Ronnie Wilson comes back and I dont anticipate that happening this year anyway. Then Mo Hurt or Wilson may slide over as second team. In the meantime, I think the staff is happy with Haupt and Barrie and let them fight out for the future at the position. Miller should start there on opening day.
Bob, is the staff concerned at all about how Miami and Florida State have cornered the best in state talent or is it part of their plan?
There are two at FSU and two at Miami that the Gators would take commitments from right now. I do believe the staff wishes there were more commitments than there are now, but I don’t believe there are many they would take from the other two classes.
Bob, if Harper is our first choice, who is the next back we want?
The problem with the second back is Demps. I see him as a receiver / back and getting a lot of time at both. Otherwise, we havent been able to get a hold of him, but from the things I have heard and see, Ryan Williams from Virginia is right up there at Franklin Green.
Bob, How many commits are you expecting after FNL?
Commits after Friday night Lights? Ask me that saturday!
Is Harper an early entry?
No, I just asked him and he wishes he was but is not an early entry.
Any word on Pryor coming to FNL?
I have not heard about Pryor coming, but we will try and find out.
Do the coaches see Finley as a LB or a S?
I believe at safety. I had him losted as a linebacker originally, but that was based on size only. I am hearing they want him at safety.
Bob, where do you think Will Hill stands?
He is another one we are having a problem getting in touch with. I think the Gators have a good chance of being in the mix with Will Hill until the very end.
Are we looking at any true MLBs? and who?
I think the staff recruits linebackers and really not by position. they want speed and a linebacker is a linebacker until they get on campus and figure it out.
How does our LB’er board stack up? Who do we have at the top at OLB, then MLB, etc? Sabino, Buchanon?
Jerrell harris, Joyner, Sabino, McCray, Manning, Munroe, Brown, beal, Fitzgerald, Hale, there are still a ton of talented linebackers out there.
Bob, do you think PolkRibs can eat more ribs than you?
Ha!! Man I have sat on barstools taller than that, maybe not as wide, but definitely taller.
Bob, Are we still recruiting Michael Brewster?
I am sure they will continuue the top prospects as they always have. In the past. I know Nigel Bradham made a mid camp appearance that not many know about.
Bob–its perplexing to hear that our staff would like a few more commits—esp coming off a NC–you think that wouldn’t be a problem. Is the garbage spewed by other schools about “UF having too much talent/you won’t play early” really have that traction?
Charleston, it is hard to verbalize what I mean, but it is the kids that haven’t comittred yet that they are waiting on, not any that are going elsewhere. I am sure there is some “ noise in the system” that may be keeping a few from coming on board right now, but remember, the staff wouldn’t take 9 of 11 of FSU’s commitments right now.
How is the OL recruiting going?
OL board is another one that has a lot on it. I think the top dogs are looking really hard at UF and that is all they can ask for.
Do you think we will have a top 10 recruiting class this year?
Quality wise, I believe the class will be as good as the last two. I think they only sign around 16-18 and that should be a top 10 caliber, but probably not enough to rank at the very top.
Bob, who is your favorite high school recruit this year?
Tough question. With my recruiting guys like Cody, Ryan, and Tripp making a lot of the calls I don’t get to talk to as many of them any more. I would say Matt Patchan is a guy that really strikes you as a guy that is a freak at what he can do. He could play numerous positions on the field, and a staff will get him in the game to make plays one way or another.
Will Nixon be a part of our Gator Nation?
I think Patrick Nixon will be a part of this class, yes. At least I do today, that of course could change at any time.
Thanks to Bob for taking the time to answer our questions. We’ll bring in Cody Jones now, who helps us cover recruiting, especially down south.
Cody, welcome! Go ahead and fill us in what’s going on in recruiting on your end…
Cody: I’ve talked to quite a few guys today. Ricky Barnum was actually on campus today with our coaches, and it was actually his first trip to Gainesville. I think he’s a great fit for us, especially at the interior line position, where I think we will take one.
Daryl Stonum is now down to Michigan, USC, and Florida. He already visited Michigan, will be in Gainesville for FNL, and will visit USC in August. He said his decision will be coming “sometime soon”, so I’d expect FNL is our chance to switch him from UM.
Don’t forget we recently put great video on Stonum online in his profile, so check it out.
Another guy I’ve been talking to is Matt Patchan, who Bob just mentioned. He really is one of the most intelligent kids I’ve talked to in doing this, and my honest opinion is its Florida and Miami. He will keep taking visits though just to make sure.
Patchan is also an early entree, so he should decide in December.
Also spoke with Chancey Aghayere today. He has legit interest in us and will take an official visit for the Tennessee game, September 15th. He will then announce his decision on his birthday, September 17th. He has plenty of Longhorn ties however.
Okay folks if you have questions for Cody, fire away.,..
Cody what have you heard on Burton scott, Willam Green and Julio Jones?
Even with their Bama ties, I think we have legit shots. Green is very high on our board, as is Scott and Jones. Scott is an excellent WR with the ball in his hands. I’d say there are legit shots with Scott and Green. I think Jones to Bama/LSU.
What are your thoughts on Tyler Love?
I’m a big Tyler Love guy. This is a great year for us to need two OTs with he and Patchan on the board. I think Love bringing his parents to Gainesville was big, as we’re more recruiting them than Love himself.Stealing guys from Bama will never be easy tho.
Does Ricky Barnum have a offer from Florida?
Barnum does have an offer from our staff. I think he’s our #1 prospect at the OG position and I see him in this class right now.
And the last question… Pardon my ignorance, but who is Daryl Stonum????
My fault. Stonum is a 6-2, 190 pound WR from Texas. He’s big time. Check out his film in the recruting database and see him for yourself.
That wraps it up, folks. Cody wants to do a recruiting blog for us, so we will be setting that up soon… So stay tuned for that!
Hope you guys enjoyed our first ever VIP chat… Let your friends know and tell them what they’re missing out on!