Florida Gators recruiting mailbag: November 3rd edition

The Florida Gators coaching staff is looking to get recruiting back on track after their 4-4 start to the season.

Dan Mullen and the coaching staff is fighting the negative recruiting that’s taken place against them as they have several holes to fill in this 2022 class.

GatorCountry brings you a recruiting mailbag to answer your questions on the 2022 class as well as the 2023 class.

Dhainer24: Outside of McLellan is there any good news at all?

AS: A few guys like Emory Floyd, Mason Taylor and Christian Harrison all say they will visit Florida soon and those are guys that Florida can land. Florida has lost some momentum on Chris McClellan as of late but several guys say they will be in Gainesville for the Gators game against Samford.


Comfy_g: Beyond coaching/positional coaching changes, what long-term administrative or systemic changes should be made to improve UF recruiting? (Whether marketing, facilities, support staff, etc.) What features could UF effectively copy from the power schools that are recruiting at a championship level?

AS: Organization is the biggest thing, it seems like the coaching staff is never on the same page with each other and that’s a big issue. They need someone to be in complete control of the recruiting department and to make sure the same message is going around. Right now, Florida doesn’t put out a message or direction on recruiting. I go back to Mullen’s comments on recruiting as of late, he had every opportunity to come out and send a strong message for recruiting but he didn’t.


Travlingator: Here is a softball for you. What’s the latest with Stewart and did visiting with Nolen move the needle with him at all.

AS: As of now most people in Texas believe Evan Stewart is leaning towards Texas A&M and Texas with Florida in third. I don’t think the visit moved the needle much with Walter Nolen as Texas A&M is in a good spot right now.


Jlh6121: Do we have people in off the field roles or analyst positions that could be better recruiters than our current coaches? I feel like we do.

AS: Guys like Corey Bell, Keiwan Ratliff and Kelvin Bolden are all really good recruiters have done a great job getting guys on campus and they have the connections to build the relationships needed.


Gatorconstructor: Any realistic chance we could land a top 10 class this year? Can we even land a 20 class at this point?

AS: Top 10 is going to be tough unless a lot of pieces fall their way but I would say top 15 is where they land this year.


Gatorboy08: Do you see us losing some offensive recruits in the near future? I really think Bond may go to Bama.

AS: I don’t think Florida loses anyone else, Isaiah Bond is a guy that’s still being recruited hard by several other SEC schools but right now I think he sticks with Florida. I would say most of the commits are very solid right now.


Gatorboy08: I know most people, including myself, were ok with losing Humphrey. However, it doesn’t seem like we have a good shot to replace him at this time. Who are some CBs you realistically think we can land outside of Burt?

AS: Florida is still working hard on Azaryeah Thomas and Christian Harrison who just picked up an offer from Florida last week. I expect the board to expand a little bit there if they miss on Thomas.


Kthead: What are recruits being told about possible coaching changes? What is their reaction?

AS: To my knowledge no recruits have been told about a coaching change at this time. Guys around the country are aware that a defensive staff change could happen but they haven’t been told anything.


RVG: Is there a recruit that UF could realistically have commit that would turn the negative tide in recruiting or inspire others to sign?

AS: Right now, I don’t see a top one committing to the staff that could do that. Over the summer it was Walter Nolen or Evan Stewart. Right now the key is just getting some good players to fill the class and getting the depth needed.


NYGator96: Out of the 32 initial counters for this season, how many slots do you think we fill with HS recruits vs. leave open for the portal? I have to think that we lose some players ourselves after such a disappointing year that will allow us to take close to the maximum amount.

AS: Mullen and his staff have always kept several spots open for transfers and I expect them to do that again this year. I would say at least five spots are kept for the transfers to fill some needed spots this year.


Juggernautz: Is there a chance for us to get any of our recent decommitments back in the fold?

AS: No, Shemar James and Julian Humphrey have eliminated Florida and CJ Hawkins is heading to Stanford.


Juggernautz: Which would you consider the most important factor as far as recruiting is concerned: Our product on the field, our coaching staff or our Gator brand?

AS: Relationships, that’s the number one key in recruiting. You must build relationships with the kids and the people around them. That all falls back on the coaching staff as they must be the ones to build those relationships. Too many times I’ve heard that the players simply didn’t like their position coach or that the coaching staff didn’t recruit the key person in the prospect’s circle.


Gatorteachuf: Who do you think will be an obtainable difference maker at DC, in both recruiting and coaching, if Grantham is not retained?

AS: I’m honestly not sure yet, Mullen is known in the coaching circles as a tough guy to work for and that hurt him last year when he tried to hire defensive back coaches so it will be interesting to see who will want the job. Also whether it’s fair or not, a good defensive coordinator is going to have second thoughts on taking this job for the simple reason that he could be worried about Mullen being on the hot seat.


Devildog820: Mullen just isn’t a recruiter. Hypothetically, to keep him, what kind of organization would have to be set up around him? Pantoni (would he even come back?), at least one recruiting assistant for each coach, tracking software, extra back-room staff to maintain social media awareness, and what else? And would that even matter because we can’t hold him down and force him to talk on the phone?

AS: Mark Pantoni isn’t coming back, he’s set at Ohio State, and he has the freedom to do what he needs to go. Dan Mullen isn’t going to let anyone in that spot because he’s the head man in charge of everything in his book.

Right now, Florida has one assistant to each coach, but the issue is that the assistant recruiting staffers can only do so much, it’s up to the assistant coaches and head coach to land the recruit. Staffers can only get guys on campus; they aren’t going to land those guys most of the time because they aren’t coaching them.





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.