Florida Gators recruiting mailbag: November 2nd edition

The Florida Gators recruiting efforts took a back seat this week when Jim McElwain left as head coach of the Gators.

Prospects are now in a wait and see mode as the Gators look for their next head coach before the early signing period.

Gator Country’s members have a lot of questions about how the 2018 class will shake out and who are the top prospects that the Gators are still after.

We answer your questions in this week’s Florida Gators recruiting mailbag.

Well let’s dive right in to this week’s recruiting mailbag:


MrB-Gator: Andrew…..I’m so hyped for the next coach but at the same time I’m wanting this thing to be over quickly and keep our commits. Which ones do you think stick?

AS: It’s extremely tough to predict that right now because a new coach may not click with a commit or vice versa. I do expect most to stick around but to say which ones right now is tough.


Gsacco: How realistic do you think it is that some of the current staff stays on staff once the new coach is hired? Do you feel any are more likely than others? Thinking guys like JaJuan Seider, Brad Davis, Tim Skipper.

AS: I would think that at least one of those guys are retained because whoever the new coach is will want to have some kind of holdover to help with recruiting and such. I could see two of those guys staying though because all three are good coaches and good recruiters.


Jgrow: Can you ask the big recruits that we have committed for 2018 to look at our list of potential hires, and let us know which coaches they would NOT come play for? Or do you think they would come regardless of who’s on our wish list?

AS: Asking them that kind of stuff is something that I don’t want to do because it paints things in a bad picture. These guys are going to listen to whoever is hired because they’re at Florida. These guys also found something that they liked at Florida that made them commit in the first place so that’s something to build on. A coach’s message to the recruit is something that will want to hear.


Wrl344: What’s the most popular defensive formation to run for a team with no linebackers?

AS: I would’ve bet money on the Gators running more nickel this year but it’s tough against teams like Georgia and LSU who run a lot from under center. Against those teams, it’s tough to run anything without linebackers. This week against Missouri, you should see more nickel though.


DylanGator: Who are some of your preferred head coach candidates, and were you a fan of the Mac hire when it occurred?

AS: I’m one of the ones that want to see Scott Frost in the race and I’m also in favor of seeing Matt Campbell of Iowa State get a look. Both of those guys are young with confidence and can make things exciting.

As far as Mac goes, at first when he was hired I was questioning the hire because of his experience recruiting but after talking to people who knew, I quickly became in favor of it. Jim McElwain is a good football coach and a good person who loved his players but he simply didn’t fit at Florida with everything going on. McElwain will find success as a head coach and I have no issue whatsoever saying that I’ll pull for his team.


Matte984: Will Scott Stricklin be personally calling any of the commits (thinking Corral here)? It’s one thing for these guys to be committed to an unknown HBC, but it’s something much more powerful to be committed to a program that is 100% committed to football and putting a successful, “FUN” product on the field.

AS: Stricklin said on Sunday that he will make sure to do whatever he can to help in recruiting until the hire is made so I think coaches will absolutely let kids meet with Stricklin when they’re on campus for the last two games and will probably even put Stricklin on the phone with them. Stricklin gets recruiting and I have no doubts that he isn’t trying to help in some way.


Jonsantiago1: Does Mac leaving impact the decision to turn pro for some of his first recruiting class? Guys like CeCe Jefferson, Jabari Zuniga who may or may not be on the fence about leaving. (I’m assuming Martez Ivey is going pro regardless).

AS: I was always under the impression that Ivey and Jefferson were going to go pro but other guys like Zuniga and even Taven Bryan could decide to just go ahead and go early instead of having to face another coaching change. The good news is that Florida should have a coach in place by the time that decision is needed so they will be able to meet with all of the draft eligible guys.


Mikegator10: What would be a good timetable for the new coaching hire to be made?

AS: Early December is the best time for this to happen so the coach has a few weeks to recruit before the early signing period. Especially with so many of Florida’s commits looking to enroll early in school in January and sign in December. Many people have also told me that Stricklin is also looking to make an early December hire if at all possible.


Scotterp: Aside from Matt Corral & Randy Russell are there any other commits that have the same kind of influence with the current class?

AS: Jacob Copeland and Iverson Clement are also very vocal in this class but they all have a group message with each other so they’re all voicing their opinion in that chat I’m sure.


Johnagtor: Do you think SOS will be involved with trying to keep the present class intact?
Do you expect him to help coach the quarterbacks the rest of the season?

AS: I’m sure Steve Spurrier will meet with some of the recruits when they’re on campus because he has done so in the past but as far anything else? I doubt it. And as far as him coaching quarterbacks, Doug Nussmeier is doing that and I don’t see Spurrier stepping on anyone’s toes and stepping in.


NJAGator: In regards to the offenses run by Dan Mullen, Willie Taggart, and Scott Frost which all seem to involve mobile QBs, do you think this will have any influence on Matt Corral sticking, as it seems Matt was more drawn to a pro-style offense to prep for the NFL?

AS: Good football coaches adjust their offense around a quarterback and Corral has said that he just wants to play in an offense that can prepare him for the NFL. All three of those offenses let the quarterback throw a lot as well so Corral would fit into those offenses. Now Corral isn’t going to run the ball 10 times a game or anything like that but he can move pretty good for a quarterback.


Blake_usmc: With our coaching options out there, will those coaches try to bring in what they got from their class or set up a new board ? When you look at Oregon they have a lot of kids that could make that jump for instance

AS: A new coach will likely look at Florida’s board and keep a lot of names but he will also have some new names of his own. Most of the guys Florida has committed now are big time national recruits so the new coach would more than likely try to hold onto them. A new coach most of the time generates excitement, which means new names as well.


Irgator12: The classic cupboard is full or empty, what will the new coach be walking into with potentially early NFL, suspended players, transfers etc.

AS: Florida has talent, don’t let this season or the Georgia game fool you of that. Florida is a quarterback away from being able to do things on offense and they’re a few coaching moves away from improving the play from good to really good at other positions. Talent is only so good when the position coaches struggle to improve them. The suspensions should be resolved soon so most of them should be back next year.


Gatorteachuf: If Willie Taggert becomes the guy, how might that impact our chances for Warren Thompson and Malcolm Lamar, who he has committed to Oregon?

AS: They would improve a ton because both of those guys like Taggert a lot but it would then depend on if Taggert needs those guys at Florida. Florida has a really strong receiver class already.


StuckUpNorthGator: Michigan has offered Ja’Marr Chase and Taylor Upshaw. Is this just Michigan offering good players or is there real interest from the Gator commits?

AS: Michigan offering good players and Jim Harbaugh seeing Florida without a coach so he sees a potential opportunity. Harbaugh isn’t dumb, he’s smart and looks for opportunities. Michigan won’t be the only school offering Florida commits.


ASpeed: I heard on another site that “Bookie” was set to commit to Florida. Have you heard this? Who is Bookie?

AS: Defensive Brendan Radley-Hiles is his name and I don’t see him committing to Florida right now. Oklahoma looks to be the team to beat but a new coach could change that. Radley-Hiles is close to Matt Corral and he has always liked Florida.


Ajoseph: 1. Is there any talk by the current players as to what style of offensive and defensive schemes they’re hoping for?

AS: Players just want to win and be put in the best situation to succeed, if they were told they could win a championship running the wing T, most of them would probably be ok with it. I think a lot of people put to much emphasis on a style rather than winning.


Rrtrackman: If we took Bookie’s commitment, would we follow up with his cousin, Elijah Blades?

AS: Blades is someone that Florida was watching closely but he’s in the 2019 class so no need to rush with him. There are some bad feelings with the way he handled things but I know Florida would get over them if they felt he was worth it as a player.


Edwinvincent: With a new head coach (Frost, Campbell, Norvell, Taggert) do you think we are in line to land any five star or four stars at offensive line, defensive tackle, linebacker, cornerback?

AS: To early to tell because it depends on if the coach is able to get them on campus and make up for lost time. Also does that coach have a relationship with them? All of that plays into but a new coach should create excitement because it usually does.

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Andrew Spivey
Andrew always knew he wanted to be involved with sports in some capacity. He began by coaching high school football for six years before deciding to pursue a career in journalism. While coaching, he was a part of two state semifinal teams in the state of Alabama. Given his past coaching experience, he figured covering recruiting would be a perfect fit. He began his career as an intern for Rivals.com, covering University of Florida football recruiting. After interning with Rivals for six months, he joined the Gator Country family as a recruiting analyst. Andrew enjoys spending his free time on the golf course and watching his beloved Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewSpiveyGC.