Last night, nearly 300 folks joined us for a special, wide open VIP chat for everyone to partake in. It ran nearly forty minutes over because there were so many questions and a lot to talk about in a packed room. Here’s our transcript from the chat for those of you who missed it or joined us late. Enjoy!
Our VIP “Insiders Confidential” Chats are usually reserved for VIP members. On a rare occasion we’ll open it up for everyone but only once in a blue moon! If you’re not a VIP member, join or upgrade today so you don’t miss out on these informative chats anymore!
Ray: Okay folks… Welcome to VIP Chat tonight… It’s open to all this time, so welcome to everyone… We’ll open first with Franz who will cover basketball… Then we’ll have Hollywood Bob come in the next half hour. Thanks and we’ll begin—Franz – what’s the latest to open with?
Franz: I am told that Billy spent the day calling some kids and letting them know that we aren’t recruiting them anymore. I think he’s narrowed down his list considerably and he has a pretty good idea who we’ll have in the class.
Ray: Interesting.. Let’s go ahead and start getting the questions – go ahead and fire ‘em on in, folks. For Franz, how do you see the class filling out in Basketball?
Franz: I think we’re putting the full court press on Colton Iverson and if we get his commit, then we go into a holding pattern for either Vargas or Green and with them, first dog that barks gets the bone. If we scratch on them, we could go small with the ship, but I think they would save it for DeShawn Painter, a 6-9 and growing kid out of Norfolk for the 09 class.
Ray: what are the chances that Vargas will go to college?
Franz: I was told Monday down at Disney that Vargas has some family that might help his parents out because they know if he goes to college in the US that he’s got a chance to make more money in the NBA. I think the chances are maybe 60-40.
Ray: What do you know about the kid from Dakota that you mentioned in your last screening Franz….
Franz: Iverson has developed a strong post game this summer and now he’s more than just a banger. That has made him a hot commodity. Everybody from UCLA to Arizona to Florida to Ohio STate has offered him now.
Ray: How does Colton compare to the other bigs we are recruiting?
Franz: He’s more of a physical guy than the others. And we need a banger in there … a Chris Richard type that can pound people.
Ray: Is Colton athletic enough to be a star in the SEC?
Franz: I think he’s athletic enough to be successful in the SEC. Star? That takes time. We’ll have to see if he’s a star but I think he has the tools to be very successful.
Ray: Franz, I saw Vargas play a number of times last year and he didn’t appear to be a high D-1 prospect (good, but not great), what has changed?
Franz: He’s grown into his body. He’s got good skills and now he’s asserting them. I think last year he was hindered by the language barrier and his natural shyness. He’s made friends now and he’s comfortable in his surroundings. I think that has a lot to do with it.
Ray: What’s the status of Xavier Gibson’s recruitment?
Franz: I think X-man changed his mind about committing yesterday and that he’s trying very hard to get back in Florida’s and North Carolina’s good graces. My guess … he winds up at the SOW.
Ray: Is Garcia out of the picture now?
Franz: I think Garcia is a holding pattern for us. I think we’re waiting to see where he goes to school next year. If he winds up at a place like Florida Air where he would have a chance to learn English and make up the core grades that are lacking, I think we would still be interested. But if he stays up in Indiana, I can’t see us interested and I can’t see him getting in school.
Ray: If Woods wanted to commit would they let him?
Franz: Good question 108. My guess is yes they would.
Ray: When do you think our class will be done?
Franz: I think we’ll get an Iverson commit … nothing solid on that yet, but that’s a gut feeling from what I’ve heard from several sources. I think that will happen fairly soon. Then I think we wait on JaMychal Green and Vargas and whichever one of them pulls the trigger, we take it and we’re done for a class.
Ray: I’ve heard about a supposed rivalry between Kenny Boynton and Brandon Knight…is this true? If Boynton were to end up a Gator would his presence discourage Knight from entertaining a Gator offer?
Franz: Boynton and Knight are best buddies. I think they’d be happy to play together in college. Knight is transforming his game to the point. That’s where he sees his future and I agree. KB is a 2 guard all the way.
Ray: Franz, how many miles is it to Jacksonville from Gainesville? (inside joke there ;))
Franz: 9,517 as a drunken crow flies!
Ray: Franz, do you have preference between Vargas and Green. Green looked good at the Peach Jam
Franz: I would hate to have to decide that one boss. JaMychal is such a warrior and Vargas has so many skills. I’d flip a coin and gladly take one or the other and be happy with the one I got.
Ray: Although we have commits from top 50 type players and are still in it for a few highly rated guys, do you think the fact that we didn’t get any top 10 players after back to back titles is mostly due to Billy’s recent philosophy of looking for 3-4 year guys
Franz: That could be but I think it has more to do with finding chemistry guys … guys that fit in with the guys we’ve already got on campus and already have committed. There are players out there that would love to be Gators but they just aren’t good fits, mostly in the team chemistry department.
Ray: Franz do you have a preference between peach jam or strawberry jam
Franz: They play basketball at the Peach Jam and BossGator serves a mean steak at his house so Peach for me!
Ray: Franz…you have thrown us some nuggets on the incoming freshman…what do you think the starting lineup will be to start the season
Franz: I think we’ll start the season like this … Speights, Werner, Mitchell, Calathes and Hodge. I think by midseason the lineup will be different.
Ray: Franz, great job on the articles in the magazine. Out of all of the incoming freshmen, who is the one guy that we will look back and say, wow we just had one of the most amazing kids ever?
Franz: Nick Calathes is remarkable. He’s got a presence about him. Kids just want to play ball with him. Last year at every camp, at every tournament, it was almost unanimous when they would ask who would you want as your teammate if you could pick just one guy. They almost all said Nick.
Ray: Speaking of Werner, how has he looked lately? Getting back to old form?
Franz: Werner and his shot have become reacquainted. The Werner we saw in the first Ohio State game is the one we’ll see this year, I believe. I saw him shooting and looking really good last week.
Ray: I know it’s early, but do you see any of the incoming freshmen redshirting?
Franz: We only have nine on scholarship, so nobody redshirts. Everybody plays and plays a lot.
Ray: Who’s the one current player you expect to have a breakout year next season?
Franz: I think Marreese Speights is going to be scary good. I can’t believe how much he has improved from what I’ve seen of him.
Ray: How do you feel about our overall team athleticism going into next season?
Franz: We have a lot of guys that can run and a lot that can shoot. I think we press the whole game and run the court. I think we’re back to Billy Ball, running the other guys in the ground. I see a team similar to the one we had in 2000.
Ray: Any surprise shot blockers or rebounders going into this season.
Franz: We only have two rejectors and that’s Speights and Alex Tyus. I’ll tell you the guy who is going to be shockingly good and he can play just about anywhere on the court…. that’s Adam Allen. I think he’s going to grow two more inches, too… when he’s done I think he’ll be 6-9, 230 and capable of playing three positions on the floor.
Ray: Are there any guys on the team who have made dramatic transformations in the weight room this summer?
Franz: Not dramatic weight gains Gallant, but good weight gains. Calathes is over 200 now. Parsons weight fluctuates … he’s been as high as 210 as low as 203 but you can see the body improvement. Allen has added some muscle too and Speights looks downright beastly!
Ray: Franz….I know we won’t be building a new arena….but what have you heard about upgrades to the ODome (box suites, getting rid of the track, etc;)
Franz: Waiting to hear about that jd. The ball’s in Jeremy’s court on that one. I think he is looking for ways to improve on what we have so I think he’s probably light years ahead of us on that one.
Ray: Franz, now that the schedule is out, what is your prediction on total wins and tournament round UF advances to?
Franz: I can’t predict the NCAA Tournament except that we’ll be in it and I think more than 20 wins next year.
Ray: It looks like Ut for the SEC. Do you think our youg team can win it?
Franz: We’ll have to have some help from other teams on the schedule. The SEC is going to be as tough or tougher top to bottom than any league in the country. I think Arkansas and Tennessee are going to be the two best teams.
Ray: I never hear anything about Mitchell. How suprised am I going to be next year?
Franz: JMitch is looking good. He plays NYC ball, which means he’s used to going against bigger guys and scoring. I think everyone will be pleasantly surprised by him. Last year the young guys were told just don’t screw up. This year they get cut loose.
Ray: Have you talked with Corey B since the Garnett trade?
Franz: I have not but I know he will be in town this weekend so I hope to get a few minutes with him. The T-Wolves have a lot of young exciting guys now. They will be fun to watch.
Ray: Franz, I know this is about past players, but any news on the plans of gusy like Lee Humphrey, Adrian Moss, Matt Walsh, or Anthony Roberson?
Franz: Hump to Europe I believe. Walsh will be back in Europe. Moss back to Denmark. A-Rob will be trying to play his way back to the NBA but I think he needs to go the Euro route as well.
Ray: Do you expect a lot of playing time for Joakim with another defensive big in Ben Wallace on the Bulls?
Franz: It’s a good situation for Jo. He’ll get to learn from the best defensive player in the league and that will make him better.
Ray: How badly did the Garnett trade hurt C-Rich’s chances of making the team
Franz: The T-Wolves are excited about C-Rich. I think he not only makes the team but becomes a contributor.
Ray: And for the final question… Franz- Can you go ahead and get JB’s give us status
Franz: JB as in John Brown? He will be practicing Sunday so I am told.
Ray: Thanks, Franz…
Franz: Thanks guys! Appreciate that you’re here
Ray: The next part of our moderated chat will be Hollywood Bob… Bob, want to open with something? BTW, folks, give Bob a bit of time to type as he is a little slower than Franz at the keyboard.
HollywoodBob: Got some new intel on the recruiting front. As it turns out, there are very very few receivers that have a commitable offer out there. The reason being, for the most part they are a slow bunch this year. Now AJ Jenkins, he can or could comit at any time, but big names and I am not really into mentioning them, are not going to be able to even if they wanted to, simply because the speed isn’t what they want. I will let you guys go look at their real speed and decide for yourselves who they are once they are out of reach for us then I will bring it up. One Miami commitment told a bunch of people at FNL that the Miami staff has been slacking on his recruiting, so the guys want to recruit with the big dogs, they have to be able to keep up with the big dogs.
Ray: Excellent. Thanks Bob… Folks go ahead and fire your questions in!
Bob. Have you heard from our coaches regarding our overall interest in recruiting LB Lynn Kato (Utah) and where he may stand against Beal, Brown, Sabino, Harris? As positioned ranked 3 and 4 by the others, it would be nice to get a Somoan athlete.
HollywoodBob: first of all the coaches are not allowed to talk to anyone about recruits except the recruits themselves, but I will admit, I have heard very little on Katoa, I really think the linebacker haul will come from within state and probably at least one kid already committed elsewhere will be a part of the class
Ray: How do we look with Jeff Demps?
HollywoodBob: I would be really shocked if Demps isn’t a Gator and probably soon. BTW he is not a red devil
Ray: You mentioned receivers with speed. What about Travis Benjamin and his recruitment? Are we recruiting him hard?
HollywoodBob: I think Benjamin looked ok at FNL, but I think he is still a wait and see kind of guy
Ray: Does that mean Beal and Harris most likely won’t be part of the class
HollywoodBob: My opinion is that the linebackers in the class come from in-state, that doesn’t mean they won’t come from out of state, just my opinion
Ray: Bob, do you think the reason for so many of the highly ranked WR’s being lacking in speed is because of the hype that is going to the taller WR’s. And gurus going for height rather than speed?
HollywoodBob: well what I was told is that a few of the kids are living frauds. They claim speeds that they jusy don’t have. Like I said, you have to research beyond what the kid tells a reporter how fast he runs
Ray: How’s life with no sleep???
HollywoodBob: Zook taught me to sleep fast, it doesn’t work
Ray: Bob, where does TJ Lawrence stand with UF? Do you see him in the Gator class since he can play both WR/CB?
HollywoodBob: great question, with the lack of speedy receivers this year, look for a play maker like lawrence to get the full court press. He is my top receiver in the state and recently made it into the GC Hot50 because I know the staff is after him hard…. another one to look for is Harmony (FL) receiver O’Neil Chambers
Ray: Do you expect Ramon Buchannon to end up a Gator? What position do you see him playing in college, linebacker or safety?
HollywoodBob: yes, I expect him to be a Gator and I expect him to be a linebacker in college
Ray: In a post on the message board today, you mentioned that Patchan will be on campus this week. You also added that Patchan was a big topic of conversation yesterday. Anything you can share on that front?
HollywoodBob: just hearing a lot of good stuff from my sources…not much more I can give…He is actually in town right now
Ray: bob – do you think we have a good shot a landing William Green?
HollywoodBob: the Bama kids are tough, but he is definitely one I think they can land…He does like Florida big time from my sources
Ray: Bob,,,is baby poop what you thought it would be?
HollywoodBob: reminds me of Doak Campbell for some reason
Ray: who do you expect us to get at CB.?
HollywoodBob: well a week ago I would have said BJ Scott and Jeremy Brown and a surprise…a week later I say the
latter two and maybe a Pat Nixon if the grades are good
Ray: Will we finally get that extraordinary blue chip RB this year?
HollywoodBob: i think we may get two or three….
Ray: what about Marcus Robinson Bob, Gator?
HollywoodBob: Robinson is a guy they will work hard for sure, not sure how far they will get…the people and media will be all over miami if / when they lose four to five games or more…so it will be worth it to stay on them
Ray: Speaking of CB, what about Janoris Jenkins?
HollywoodBob: a good one, could very well be in the class, I hear he moved way up the board, but as you see
in the GC Hot 50, the CB board is now probably deeper than the WR board
Ray: Speaking of blue chip RBs, what is the current status of Darrel Scott and the Gators?
HollywoodBob: I think Darrell Scott really likes the Gators, I just think he tells a lot of people what they want to hear also, so he is a hard read…I would look for Green and Harper first and then who knows after that
Ray: What are the chances that UF will land Spencer Adams?
HollywoodBob: If they like him enough and can sell him at corner, which I think are both the case, there is a real shot…He is another blazer…Look for Butch Davis and the second year push to play big in this one
Ray: Do the gators have any chance with Chris Toliver for WR, he definitely has the speed the staff is looking for!
HollywoodBob: Tolliver is a great one for sure…my guess is he will probably visit and still sign with LSU in the end.
Ray: How do we look for Zebrie Sanders and Vinson Painter?
HollywoodBob: Looks like Zebrie will land at Georgia where his mom went to school, I think there is a better shot at Painter in the end.
Ray: What’s the deal with Sabino? What are our chances?
HollywoodBob: I think there is a good shot with Sabino, although I might be the minority around here
Ray: Bob, what position is the most critical in recruiting this year?
HollywoodBob: boss, i think that stud RB is the critical one, getting jamie Harper and Franklin Green goes a long way in curing that
Ray: What is the word on Will Hill?
HollywoodBob: just wait for the official word in my opinion, everyone seems to know what that will be
Ray: Bob, What do you think of Logan Heastie and will he commit after the UT game for the ‘09 class?
HollywoodBob: Hopefully I will find out more on him soon, but I am not sure they will take a commitment that early to be honest especially without the current class of WRs filled
Ray: Any EE’s this year? Do we have room for EE’s?
HollywoodBob: we have room because we are still about 6 under the cap for the 2007 season
Ray: Is recruiting Down in South Fla. more difficult this year because of Coach Shannon at UM?
HollywoodBob: it is more difficult because it is his first year down there that is for sure. Have to wait and see how the natives react when they lose…remember he wasn’t their first choice; the non-recruitniks will be killing him if they lose a lot
Ray: Okay folks, let’s talk football…
What role do you see Chris Rainey playing this season? Will he return KOs?
HollywoodBob: There are a ton of kick returners on this team right now, good ones. I can see it with Brandon James suspended early, and we shall see what happens
Ray: Can we expect a report Sunday evening covering the day’s events?
HollywoodBob: yes we will be doing a lot of reports from practice, no worries there. We’ll provide the best coverage again like we do every year. Videos, photos, interviews, and in-depth reports.
Ray: Can any of the RB’s we’re looking at come in and be the every down back? Or will we always split carries
HollywoodBob: yes Harper and or Green and or Scott can do that
Ray: With the rumors about J. Fayson switching to running back, do you see him in Harvin’s role from last year (WR/HB) or a true HB?
HollywoodBob: he isn’t switching, he is just going to get some carries ala Harvin in that role, I have an interview with Stan Drayton coming out tonight that will shed a little light and one with Dan Mullen in a day or so that will shed more
Ray: Does Lorenzo Edwards start at LB this year?
HollywoodBob: Edwrads could start, but dont sweat AJ Jones there or Dustin Doe—there is some talent albeit not a lot of depth
Ray: What’s the latest on Walker? He looked good carrying the ball, but now he’s at 3 on the depth chart? What’s the inside scoop here?
HollywoodBob: Walker has to keep his head on straight and attitude straight, and he has to be able to pick up blitzing linebackers, he can run with the best and I like him a lot with the ball in his hands
Ray: what’s up with the switch in offensive line coach responsibilities?
HollywoodBob: you would have to ask the head coach on that one, I do think Addazio has a lot more experience to lean on
Ray: Haven’t heard much about Harvin role or anything in the off season, everything okay there?
HollywoodBob: I kind of get the feeling they want to keep him out of the backfield to keep him healthy, which is a good reason to move a bigger Fayson into that role..trust me they will get him the ball a ton
Ray: Experience aside, what’s our position of biggest concern?
HollywoodBob: I’d say defensive tackle right now, but I think this is a very talented ball club
Ray: Hey Bob just wanted to say congrats on the new kid!
HollywoodBob: thanks, I will send you her videos so you can make a highlight
Ray: How’s Cam Newton coming along, and will he see significant playing time as Tebow did last year?
HollywoodBob: Coach Mullen told me yesterday he will be slowed for the start of training camp, so we will have to see how far behind he will be. It is some back injury he had in high school
Ray: last year CI took the big leap is there anyone you predict a breakout season for? Is there any wow factor guys out of the true FR like Percy was last year?
HollywoodBob: Jarred Fayson on offense, Justin Trattou and Lorenzo Edwards on defense
Ray: Does Kyle Jackson become a player this year, or do you think Dorian Munroe will step in midway through?
HollywoodBob: Just got word today that Munroe is a beast out there at the voluntary practices…the talent at safety is going to be ridiculous
Ray: What’s Riley Cooper’s status? Is he fully recovered from his injury?
HollywoodBob: I heard that Cooper will be full go for the start of practice
Ray: Is Hornsby ready to contribute this year?
HollywoodBob: again another safety, hard to tell with so much quality at the position
Ray: Carl Johnson, when he signed last year , he was expected to help right away. Where is he now in the depth chart? What went wrong with him last year?
HollywoodBob: Johnson had to undergo a transformation of sorts with his body…he did that and then had a freak illness that set him back…Now I hear he is ready to go and will challenge at tackle for second team
Ray: Who do you consider the team leaders at this point?
HollywoodBob: Tebow, Miller, Moore, Caldwell on offense and Javier Estopinan, Spikes, and Joiner and Jackson on defense
Ray: So realistically how many red-shirt in order to get the class distribution where the coaches want it
HollywoodBob: they have been adamant, they wont red-shirt just to do it…If the kid is ready to play they will play
Ray: And for our final question… Do you see any complacency with the team…. coaches or players, after the national championship? Cody will join us in a bit to answer more recruiting questions in his area. So hang in there.
HollywoodBob: none really, what we have is a bnch of youngsters that may not understand how important it is to go to every class and such, but they are young and will learn This team will be focused with seasoned coaches at the helm
Ray: Bob has something to add…
HollywoodBob: OK, as I was in chat, I heard from a good source that John Brown was admitted to UF today. Now, the clearinghouse hasn’t seen everything, but I also heard they expect no complications at all for him being here….what that means is I think he can start practice as soon as summer B is over
Ray: Awesome news… Thanks Bob and keep us posted on your baby girl. :)
HollywoodBob: ok that was it for me, yall be easy on Cody he did outstanding covering FNL for us
Ray: Now we have Cody Jones joining us…Go ahead and fire some more recruiting questions in now – we’ll do this for a few more minutes. Cody, anything you want to open with?
GatorCody: I think this is a prime time for us right now. Coaches have changed the board post-FNL, and now they will go full court press on the guys that really helped themselves out at FNL.
Ray: Any word on how solid Love is to Bama?
GatorCody: I read a chat ESPN did with him today and he said that he will be taking no more visits except his official to Bama. Based on that and all his Bama connections, I think that’s where he ends up.
Ray: what did you think of Jon Bostic(09 prospect, played as a Safety during FNL) during Friday Night Lights?
GatorCody: I wasn’t able to see him at FNL. The WR/DB one on ones were ridiculous how many people were out there, so it was hard enough for me to pick out the 08 guys.
Ray: Cody, who stood out to you the most at FNL, each position if possible
GatorCody: RB- Harper hands down. WR- TJ Lawrence. OL- Byran Jones. DL- Forston. LB- Jerrell Harris DB- J Jenkins.
Ray: Cody, being a youngin’ amongst all the GC veterans, how does it feel to have achieved BALLER status?
GatorCody: That was actually my goal when I was hired here. It’s a dream come true to hear that from you, Rick.
Ray: Is there any chances of getting Patrick Johnson in this class?
GatorCody: I think there is. He’s shown that he is not 100 to Miami, and being that he visited Gainesville twice this summer, I like there’s definitely a chance. Could come down to how Miami does this year.
Ray: Cody, everything I’ve heard is that Harper was clearly outperformed by Green- I’m confused. Were you able to watch both of them and compare the two?
GatorCody: I know Swampie said that, but the group I was with was also extremely impressed with Harper. His size is unreal, plus his athleticism is outstanding. I know our coaches put a lot of stock in this camp, but his film speaks for itself.
GatorCody: Its obvious our coaches haven’t changed their mind about him as their 1 back either.
Ray: How do we look for Brice Butler heard he is going to announce over the weekend??
GatorCody: Its USCw or FSU. We all thought it was FSU for so long, but now it’s looking like USC may come in and steal him.
Ray: How hard are we going after Julio jones?
GatorCody: I think we’re obviously recruiting him, but our board is in the order it is not only because of talent, but also signability. I don’t think he’s leaving Bama, and if he does it’s LSU.
Ray: How badly is the lack of playing time available hurting recruiting?
GatorCody: i think it has something to do with it. but we want guys to come compete, as cliche as it is. look at safety for instance. with all our talent there, guys like Will Hill still want to be a part of what Coach Meyer is doing. those are the guys we want and will continue to pursue hard.
Ray: Who is the most impact prospect we can’t afford to lose and could persuade others to follow?
GatorCody: I’ll stick with Will Hill. Other recruits know for a fact how good this kid is. He’s a guy you build a class around. Look at him recruiting Harper at FNL for instance. He’s also outgoing enough to recruit guys with him.
Ray: What does the OT board look like and what are our chances with each one?
GatorCody: With Love to Bama, Patchan is 1 right now to me. Then you have guys like Barrett Jones and Vinston Painter who also have great potential. Even an Art Forst could continue to be recruited. This is a board to keep an eye on for new names to pop up.
Ray: Okay, gonna wrap it up with one more question since chat has gone 40 minutes over. ;) I heard rumors in the chat today that Jeff Demps is sitting down with his family Friday and making a decision…any truth to that rumor?
GatorCody: Jeff told me last week that he would have a talk with his family when he gets back from UT. It’s UF, then UT for him. Bob said it tonight and I’ll say it again, I’d be surprised if he wasn’t a Gator.
Ray: Great. Thanks a lot for your time, Cody! And thanks to everyone else for joining us tonight. Hope you enjoyed it! I’ll open the chat room up now.