Podcast: Talking COVID-19 cases for the Florida Gators, plus recruiting

GatorCountry brings you a new podcast as we talk about the latest news around the Florida Gators as 11 student-athletes have tested positive for COVID-19.

Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre talk about what those mean for the Gators and for sports in college this fall.

Andrew and Nick also talk about the Gators latest run of landing commits as they landed three commits last week.


Andrew:                 What’s up, Gator Country? Your man, Andrew Spivey, here with Nicholas de la Torre. Nicholas, we’re back, and we’re another day closer to what we think is football season. Guess what? We’re going to have baseball.

Nick:                         Yeah. You’ve been begging for it. This whole thing, Andrew, the tell me when and where. Tell me when and where, and then they kept getting offers, and it was like, no, not there. No, not then. No, not there. The Commissioner said, guess what, you’re playing.

Andrew:                 You know when you’re a little kid, and you go to the toy department, and you want a toy so bad, and your mom wouldn’t let you get one? That’s how I felt every day for like the past three weeks when it was like, we’re going to have baseball. Nope, not having baseball. Nope, we’re not going to have baseball. Every time it was just like somebody taking a knife to my poor heart. I don’t even know if I have a full heart left anymore, Nick.

Nick:                         You’ll find out if you have a heart. Is it the first?

Andrew:                 July 1st. We’re taping this on Wednesday. Some guys are starting to report today and tomorrow. From what I understand, pitchers have to go take their Covid-19 test first, and then they have to bring in the position players and everything else. So, the way I understand it is guys are going to start reporting here soon. Like you said, we’re going to have baseball.

This is my thing, Nick. I say this, and I’ve seen a lot of people say they don’t care how many games it is, but you and I are baseball traditionalists. I say that any baseball season is good from the standpoint of not having baseball at all would be detrimental to the sport. I know some people have said baseball’s dead already, it takes too long, yada, yada. I’m not one of those that are in that category, but I do think had they not had a baseball season it would have been bad news going forward. It’d have been very hard to bring some young people back into the game.

Nick:                         I think so. It’s going to be interesting to find out what kind of damage, if any, this does long-term.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         I think you and I agree, we’re both happy to have baseball back, but like 60 games is not a baseball season.

Andrew:                 No, it’s not. I was watching Harold Reynolds and Dan Plesac and those guys that are on there who are on MLB Network, and it said every game from July 24th or July 23rd, whichever day your team starts, to the end of the season is a playoff game. It’s a playoff game. 60 games is a playoff game. It doesn’t matter if it’s the 9th inning, and you’re down 7-6, and you got to bring your closer for the fourth straight day. You got to do it.

Nick:                         Yeah. It’s going to be interesting. You and I were talking, just having five extra players, are those all going to be pitchers? You’re going to be having double-headers, and you’re going to be playing all kinds of games.

Andrew:                 I don’t know. Part of me, Nick, and I’ll say this. You and I have talked about this. Listen, if the Braves win the World Series, I’m celebrating the hell out of it. Period.

Nick:                         I’m putting as asterisk next to it. That’s what I’m doing.

Andrew:                 I don’t care.

Nick:                         Big old asterisk.

Andrew:                 If they have a parade on Peachtree St. in downtown Atlanta, Covid-19 or not, your boy is going to party and celebrate his Braves winning a World Series.

Nick:                         We don’t have to worry about that, because they love choking in the playoffs.

Andrew:                 We’ll see. But like you said, it does give a little bit of an asterisk to it. I am interested to see, Nick, because, and hear me out when I say this, could this draw some fans in? Because it’s going to be playoff intensity. You know as well as I do, playoff baseball and regular season baseball are two different things. If it’s 60 games of playoff baseball, maybe it draws some fans in.

Nick:                         Yeah. It’s going to be interesting. They’re playing mostly just 40 games against the division, and then the AL East and NL East will play. So that means our Braves and Marlins get Tampa, Boston, the Orioles. Talk about some great series between the Marlins and the Orioles. Great baseball. Get excited. Then Boston.

Andrew:                 I’m going to say this. There’s going to be a team who had it been a whole 162 would have never made the playoffs. Some team is going to sneak in. Some team that was supposed to be dog right trash is going to sneak into the postseason.

Nick:                         I’m excited to get just that many games. I remember when the NBA had the strike shortened season, and it was like they were playing five games a week. I’m excited just for the amount of baseball and how quickly it’s going to happen.

Andrew:                 It’s 66 days, 60 games. Six off days. Let’s go.

Nick:                         Going to be some sore arms and some tired bodies in 60 days.

Andrew:                 I hate the new DH rule. I cannot stand it. I hate it. I hate the new rule about putting a runner on second base to start extra innings. I hate it. Can’t stand it. I hate it. Give me my traditional baseball. But if that’s what it took to get my boys back on the team, I’m good.

Nick:                         Let’s get it started. When’s the first game?

Andrew:                 July 23rd or 24th. There’s always staggered opening days, because of weather and that kind of thing. We’re taping this on Wednesday. I believe either tonight, Wednesday night, or Thursday they’re supposed to release the schedule, so you’ll find out when it is and everything. I’m just pumped. Honest to God, I’m pumped. I spent all Tuesday night watching some Braves highlights. I am ready to go. It is Christmas morning for me.

Nick:                         Let’s get it. Let’s get excited. Maybe the Marlins are that team that sneaks into the playoffs that you were just talking about.

Andrew:                 It’s whatever. I am very upset there’s no Minor League baseball, but this new taxi squad, I hope our guys that were on the podcast, Faedo, Singer, Shore, Cowart, I hope those guys make that taxi squad, are able to get in there. I think Brady Singer’s a guy. I think he would probably be my guy that I would say is mostly likely to do it. We’ll see.

Nick:                         That’d be really cool to see him pitching in the Majors right now.

Andrew:                 Yeah. Let’s move onto some football and why you guys are listening to this. I guess some not so great news for Florida. 11 student athletes have now tested positive for Covid-19, so some not so great news. Nick, I say this not trying to make this better than it is, but I guess it’s better now than in the middle of football season.

Nick:                         Yeah. There’s 11 student athletes, so it’s not 11 football players. We were told there’s five football players. The 11 players, there’s two that happened back in April. One student was on campus, and one student was already at home. Neither of those two that were back in April were football players. If you start doing the math, that means 9. Five of the 9 are football, so four from other sports. There’s men’s, women’s basketball were allowed to bring players back. Not everyone is back. Soccer and volleyball are also back on campus. It’s, again, up to the player and their families to decide if they wanted to come back right now. Everything right now is voluntary.

But yeah, would you rather have your starting left tackle get Coronavirus is June or the week of the LSU game or the Georgia game? It’s not like the chicken pox, where you can only get Coronavirus once, but I think it is, of course, you’re not coming here to hear two doctors talk.

Andrew:                 Hey, speak what you want. I stayed at a Holiday Inn last night.

Nick:                         It’s a virus, so it can come back, but like when you get a flu vaccine, when you get the flu shot, they’re putting a little bit of that into you. Your body creates antibodies that will help you fight it if you get it again. So, I think certainly you don’t want anyone to get sick, but probably better in terms of sports, better if you get guys that get it now rather than getting it the week of a game. Certainly 11 student athletes from across different sports, different sports teams, is certainly better than LSU’s got, what, what did Sports Illustrated say? 40.

Andrew:                 Something like that.

Nick:                         40 football players in quarantine right now. That’s a heap.

Andrew:                 Yeah. The good news is, from everything we’ve been told, and you would know more about this with the other sports than I did, because I haven’t checked into it as much, but from everything I’ve been told, the football guys are just asymptomatic. They’re not really sick. They just tested positive for having it in their blood or in their body, but from what I’ve heard none of the guys are really sick or none of the guys have had to go to the hospital or anything like that. If you got to get it, that’s the way to get it, if that makes sense.

Nick:                         Yeah. It’s been interesting to see how this virus kind of affects people. I’ve had several friends that have gotten it and been asymptomatic and been fine.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         I’ve had a friend who had to spend 10 days in the ICU. So, it’s interesting to see how differently it can affect people. To me, that’s one thing. Hey, if I’m sick, and you’re going to say you can get this virus, and it’ll put you in the ICU, or you can the virus and …

Andrew:                 You’ll just have to be quarantined for 14 days.

Nick:                         Fine. I’ll take that. I’ll be fine.

Andrew:                 What have you heard, Nick, if anything, I’ll start by saying that I’m hearing some guys that are very nervous about this. I don’t want to name some names, but I know a couple guys who were on campus doing volunteer workouts and went back home, because they’re nervous about it. They’re concerned and don’t want to get it. Are you starting to hear some of that?

Nick:                         Yeah. I get that. I get it. I get people being scared or afraid of it, and that’s fair. I just think that you’re probably better off with the resources that Florida has, even if you’re going to be around a bunch of other student athletes, and you have no idea, if you have a group of friends that aren’t student athletes that aren’t going through the same thing, I don’t know what my friends are doing. If one of my friends gets sick, then I get sick, and I can get a bunch of other people sick. I just think you’re probably safer and better with the resources that Florida has and having UF Health and Shands right there. The number of tests and the precautions that they’re taking, I think you’re probably better off being in Gainesville on campus and in that program.

Andrew:                 Right. Are you starting to hear guys being afraid of it more so now than they were maybe a month ago?

Nick:                         In instances. I don’t think widespread.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         But yeah. I think you’re probably going to have that too, you know what I mean? Hey, when we got five people sick, you might get mom calling. Mom says, come home.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         When mom says that, you come home.

Andrew:                 Yeah. Like you say, it raises a huge question mark for me, Nick, and that is I just feel like when you look at this in general and this second round coming around, like you said, and like I just said, there’s a lot of guys starting to worry about it. I’m starting to question where we’re going in the fall, if that makes sense.

Nick:                         I mean …

Andrew:                 You know what I’m saying? Am I overreacting?

Nick:                         No, no. You look at this, even if you had this on a bye week, if Florida had five guys get sick, five football players get sick, on a bye week, that means you’re out the bye week, and then you’re out Georgia.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         Then how do you handle that?

Andrew:                 That’s what I’m saying. You can’t force guys to play if they don’t feel comfortable right now. So, is it a situation where some guys are going to say, I don’t feel comfortable playing this fall? I don’t know. I think there’s still a lot of question marks. I know, was it Greg Sankey, Nick, that did a radio spot with Rich Eisen and was talking about the middle of July is when they’re going to have to make a decision on it. I’m kind of thinking that he’s going to say guys may opt not to play, and you got to keep them on scholarship, that kind of stuff. Then that becomes a question mark of what do you do? Who are going to play? That kind of stuff.

Nick:                         Yeah. That is Sankey was talking with Rich Eisen on his show. I think he and Scott Strickland have probably been so similar in the way that they’re handling this, and it’s we wake up on Wednesday, and we figure out what does today bring? I guess they’re hoping to get the data back from having guys on campus and how often are they getting sick, what’s happening? How is everyone handling everything? So, it’ll be interesting to see. I still think, I was on a radio show last night, and they asked do I think football starts, and does it start on time? I think right now I would say yes, but like Sankey says, you give it a month, and we might be in a totally different place in a month than we are sitting here talking today.

Andrew:                 Right. Yeah. You’re in a situation where it’s becoming more question marks than there is answers. It’s like Scott Strickland said before, and that is saying I don’t know and we’ll see is real. It just is. That’s what it is. We’ll just see. I don’t know. I’m becoming less optimistic that we’re going to have a regular football season. Maybe that’s just me. I don’t know. I’m just becoming a little less optimistic that things are going to be there. Especially a full year.

Nick:                         What was it? The Patriot League. The Patriot League has already come out and said, we’re not going to fly to any games. I don’t know what conference Eastern Washington is, but that’s Florida’s first game. Eastern Washington. Thanks, Jim McElwain.

Andrew:                 Oh my God. Think about that drive.

Nick:                         Thanks, Jim McElwain. If their conference comes out and says, we’re not going to fly, does that game get cancelled? Later on in the year, New Mexico State, does that game get cancelled? Does their conference say, we’re not going to put 80 football players and 20 coaches and staff, we’re not going to put 120 people up on planes and fly them across the country to go play a football game. We don’t think that’s safe or that’s smart. Do those games get cancelled? Shoot, I’ll watch the SEC. If Greg Sankey and the SEC wants to figure out, we got 14 teams, we’ll play a 13-game season and everyone in the SEC plays each other, and then we’ll do an SEC Championship, sign me up for that.

Andrew:                 Yeah. I’m cool with that. There’s a lot of question marks with it. You start to see more and more schools saying they’re not going to have classes after the Thanksgiving break. Then that puts in some question marks for SEC Championship game, rivalry weekend, bowl games, that kind of stuff. Do you have a situation, and I think it’s kind of too early to say this, but do you have a situation where it’s like basketball, where you play a full season and don’t have a champion?

Nick:                         Hope not.

Andrew:                 Me too, but I don’t know. There’s so much. Then that kind of leads us into our next topic here a little bit, Nick, and that’s recruiting. That becomes are you able to host recruits on campus this fall? I’m in the opinion you don’t, or they’re not going to allow it, because of bringing more and more. That’s a question mark. You better be killing your virtual visits. What do you think?

Nick:                         You’ve had time to figure out the virtual visits, right?

Andrew:                 Right. But do you think they host kids on campus?

Nick:                         I don’t think so. I don’t know if it’ll be allowed, if it’ll even be allowed, but then you’re getting into situations of who feels comfortable doing it?

Andrew:                 Right. Yeah.

Nick:                         Start killing those virtual visits.

Andrew:                 That’s what I’m saying. There’s a lot of, so many question marks. I say this laughingly, jokingly, but it’s not a joke. I’m so damn glad I’m not Greg Sankey. I’m so glad I’m not Greg Sankey or what’s his name up there at the NCAA that are going to have to make these decisions. I guess, there’s still plenty of time. You’re thinking Florida’s first game is, what, September 1st?

Nick:                         September 5th.

Andrew:                 5th. Yes. So, you still got plenty of time. I think you have to start to get to the point where you’re figuring out what it’s going to be like, because you got to start preparing. I was talking to some buddies of mine at Alabama and stuff, and they’re saying basically they’re being told media wise, be prepared. You’re not going to get in there and get interviews with players. It’s going to be Zoom calls. The media access is going to be limited. The amount of players that are going to be allowed to dress out for home games is going to be greatly decreased, because they’re not going to allow the whole 105 to dress out like you normally would for a home game. Where’s all this going? There’s just a lot of questions that I think have to be answered.

Nick:                         Yeah. Give us till to July to kind of figure that out. I’m confident in football coming back, but if you ask me about recruits, I think then you’re getting into a whole different ballgame. When you’re talking about safety, you’ve had these guys on campus for, some of them, since June, and you’re able to kind of monitor and track and see what everyone’s doing. How are our precautions working? Then you start talking about bringing guys in from Tampa and Orlando, South Florida, Georgia, Maryland, getting guys in from all across the country. I think you’re starting to open up a box of worms.

You’ve created a glass bubble around your program, and you’re trusting that, we’re playing LSU this week, they’ve created a glass bubble around their program, and we’re going to have two healthy teams come play each other. Everyone’s going to be healthy. But we’ve got 40 kids on campus from all over the place, and we have no idea what they’ve been doing.

Andrew:                 Right. Like I said, I think there will be football season. I just don’t know how long we’re going to have football season, and I don’t know that everyone is going to compete. I don’t know that. I just don’t. I think some players are going to opt out and say they don’t want to play because they’re worried about the virus and that kind of stuff. You can’t fault them if they do. I mean, you have to respect their opinion on it. At the end of the day, there is a risk, like you just said. You may get the Coronavirus and be okay, or you may get the Coronavirus and be in ICU. We don’t know.

Nick:                         Let’s not think about that.

Andrew:                 You know what I’m saying though. There’s risk.

Nick:                         Yeah.

Andrew:                 Let’s talk recruiting. Gators picked up a couple commits last week, Nick. Three in total. I guess let’s start with the headline. Kamar Wilcoxson. Back for the third time.

Nick:                         I’m going to be nice. Yeah. Third commitment to Florida, right?

Andrew:                 Yeah. Third commitment. It’s a record.

Nick:                         Maybe third times the charm.

Andrew:                 Yeah. Here’s what I’m going to say. I’m very hard usually on these subjects, but I think I’m a little bit different on the Kamar situation a little bit than I am usually. There was some disagreements between him and Dan Mullen about where he was going to play. That was the second time. The first time he decommitted was just he was too young. Cool. Understand. Second time he committed, that was the plan to stick and be good. Had some disagreements with Dan Mullen, left. Went to Tennessee. Figured when he committed to Tennessee, I think he did that out of spite. Went to Tennessee and was like, damn, is this really where I want to be? No, it’s not. Decided I really want to go back to Florida.

Florida had a long conversation with Kamar, really long conversation with Kamar, explaining this is it. No more BSing. If you’re going to be in the class, you’re going to be in the class. We’re not going to worry about you taking any more visits. We’re not going to worry about you talking to no more coaches. Not going to worry about you flipping. He had to agree to a lot of things before Florida was going to let him back in the class. Personally, you know, that old saying, fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. It should apply here, but I’m going to take Kamar at his word this time.

Nick:                         All right.

Andrew:                 I’m going to take him at his word this time.

Nick:                         That’s fine. I don’t know. Sure. Go ahead. He’s a good player.

Andrew:                 Yeah.

Nick:                         I get everything that you just said, but, shoot, after everything we just talked about, it might be the easiest time to tell a kid, don’t take anymore visits.

Andrew:                 The power’s in Dan Mullen’s hands right now. Kamar, he has to kind of do what Dan says if he wants to be a Gator. Dan’s probably sitting there saying, listen, I let you play the game long enough. Enough is enough.

Nick:                         Got you. Yeah. Certainly the kid is outspoken, and good for him. He still holds some power, because he hasn’t signed anywhere. If you want him, you want him, but you run the risk of saying I actually do really want to be at Florida, and you get to a point where they just say, enough’s enough.

Andrew:                 Right. Like I said, I feel like this is going to be the last one here. He may crap on my face, and I have to take it back and everything else. If I do, I do. I do. For some reason, I do. Some people got upset because he deleted his commitment tweet to Florida. A lot of that he said was because people were just ragging him. I’m not going to say that that’s fair or not fair that they ragged him. He kind of brought it on himself, in a way, but at the same time, if the kid’s legit about being done with it, and he deleted his post not to hear people talk trash, more power to him.

Nick:                         It’s your social media. Do with it what you want to do with it.

Andrew:                 Yeah. Nobody’s here to tell you what to do. Nobody’s here to tell you how to do it. If want to delete your social media, delete it. Sometimes that’s the best thing that can happen.

Nick:                         Yeah. Never tweet.

Andrew:                 Yeah. We’ll see. Here’s the thing. I’ll say this. Kamar’s got power with kids. He’s got their ear. Kids like him. Kids seem to navigate towards him. Him and Diwun together, good things. Like you said, he’s a good player. Here’s the thing that I’ll say. He could break the IMG curse, Nick.

Nick:                         That’s what I was about to ask you. Is Florida actually going to get a recruit from IMG?

Andrew:                 Knowing Florida’s luck, he will transfer to another school for high school the week before he’s supposed to sign, just so that it doesn’t go down in the book as an IMG Bradenton, Florida high school kid or whatever.

Nick:                         Just to keep the IMG curse in effect.

Andrew:                 Yeah. We’ll see. Corner, safety, star kind of guy, as far as his ability on the field. Like you said, good player. Kind of like a Trey Dean in my opinion, is kind of who I refer him to.

Nick:                         Long, rangy. Over 6 foot. 183, but then you look at how long he is already at 180 pounds at 6’1”.

Andrew:                 He can be 200 in a heartbeat with Nick Savage.

Nick:                         Then do you think maybe star or safety, but, shoot, you look at guys, like Florida had Jalen and Quincy at 6’2” and 6’1”, 195 pounds, 200 pounds, playing corner as well.

Andrew:                 I think he’s more of a safety, nickel guy, star guy, whatever you want to call it in Grantham’s defense. We’ll see where that goes.

Another good pickup though, well all three pickups were DBs, but another good pickup was safety Dakota Mitchell. Decommitted from LSU early last week, and then committed to Florida. It took a lot of people by surprise when he committed to LSU the first time. I think that was kind of a quick draw decision that he made to go to LSU. Florida continued to work him and flipped him. He always called Florida his dream school. I’ll be honest, I was very skeptical that he was ever going to end up at LSU in the first place, but however it did, he still ended up landing in Florida’s class. I think he’ll sign with that.

Like you said, another long, rangy safety. That’s a position that I think people forget about how bad the depth is. They need depth there.

Nick:                         Yeah.

Andrew:                 You’re losing three guys this year. Stiner, Davis, and Brad.

Nick:                         Yeah. So, you’re going to need to refill there, for sure.

Andrew:                 Good player then. Then move to cornerback. A guy that everybody I’ve talked to and have heard from says Torrian Gray absolutely love this kid, and that’s Jordan Young from down in Tampa. Corner. Very covered guy. Can play man. Can play that off-coverage zone Torrian likes. The biggest thing that I’ve heard about him is that Torrian likes his aggressiveness at the line of scrimmage. I’ll say this, and maybe I’m wrong, but never can you have too many corners that are willing to get in somebody’s face and shut you down.

Nick:                         No. You can give me 10 of those guys.

Andrew:                 You’re just never going to have enough of those guys. We joke all the time about next man up, but Florida’s needed that next man up a lot at corner in recent years. So, not never enough. From down in Tampa. We continue to keep that pipeline going. You get Dakota from Orlando, that I-4 corridor continuing to pick up guys there. We’ll see. I think those were three really solid pickups.

The harm, per se, or I don’t want to say harm, because it’s not Jordan. This is not an effect because of Jordan Young, but it does look like Clinton Burton, the DB from Virginia, will probably end up elsewhere. So, Young kind of replaces him for that, but good to be already ahead of that and have that guy that’s ready to kind of be that replacement.

Nick:                         So, three guys. You imagine one for sure at safety, and then Jordan at corner, and then Kamar kind of a swing guy.

Andrew:                 Right. That’s where I’m at. I know Kamar tells people he’s nothing but a corner. Well, sorry, but Chauncey also told everybody he was nothing but a corner. Sorry, bud, but when you get to the big boys they kind of put you where you’re going to play. Ask Trey Dean.

Nick:                         Chauncey probably didn’t want to play safety, probably didn’t want to play nickel. He’s getting paid to play nickel right now. If the check comes in, whatever the check comes in for, I’ll play that position. I’ll play for that check.

Andrew:                 Think about it. Just go play. If somebody’s going to write you a couple million dollar check to play corner in the NFL, I mean, safety in the NFL, and they say I’m going to write you a zero dollar check to play corner, most people are going to take that check to play safety.

Nick:                         Shoot. You want to write me a check, I’ll try to play left tackle right now. Go ahead.

Andrew:                 If you’ll write me a check, I’ll play water boy.

Nick:                         That check goes to the bank the same way the starting quarterback’s does. Might not be the same dollar amount, but it goes to the bank the same way.

Andrew:                 I had a guy I knew, and he’s a high school coach now. He was a practice squad quarterback. On game days he was just clipboard holder. He said, that $1.1 million still goes in the bank the same way that $12 million check went in the bank for Russell Wilson.

Nick:                         Yup. Same money.

Andrew:                 He just said, you think about it, it does. Anyway, we’ll see. Some guys to look out for. A guy like Donovan Mitchell, safety who Florida and Virginia Tech are the two schools kind of battling there. Could very easily be the next guy in the class. No set decision date there. Some kind of background on him, his dad’s family is all from Florida. Him living in Pennsylvania, he doesn’t really know his dad’s family a lot, and one of the biggest draws to Florida is he wants to get to know his dad’s family and get to know his grandpa and aunts and uncles and cousins and that kind of stuff that are in the state of Florida. That’s really drawing him to Florida. I like Florida’s chances with Donovan going forward.

Then you kind of turn your attention to those Palmetto guys. You got Savion Collins, DT committed to Miami. That’s shaky. Then you got another defensive lineman in Leonard Taylor. You got the two defensive backs in Jason Marshall and Corey Collier. You got Brashard Smith still out there a little bit there. You kind of turn your attention there.

You look at, got to have another receiver. They would love for it to be Marcus Burke from Jacksonville. Looks like he’s kind of trending away though. Got to have another offensive lineman. They love Florida State commit Jake Slaughter from Ocala. Try to flip him. Then you kind of go to you need a couple defensive linemen and need to fill some more DB spots. Then you’re okay.

Doesn’t look like it right now, from everything we’re hearing, that they’ll take a running back. Is that great? Probably not, but you think about it, Lingard’s got more eligibility after this year. Damien’s got more eligibility after this year. Malik’s got more eligibility after this year. Clement and Nay’Quan have eligibility after this year, so you really don’t lose anyone. If you’re not in love with a guy, don’t take one.

Nick:                         I don’t think people are happy with that, but I agree with that.

Andrew:                 I’m not saying it’s right. I think you need a high school running back. Here’s my view, Nick. Listen, not having a spring hurts Lorenzo Lingard for several reasons. Let’s just say Lorenzo Lingard runs out and runs for 1,000. He could very well jump to the League. Let’s say Damien Pierce goes out and has a big year. He could very jump, because the clocks tick different for running backs.

Nick:                         Yeah. It ticks a little faster.

Andrew:                 And what if one of those other guys don’t play at all? That transfer portal’s still out there. I don’t want to say that I agree with not taking a running back. Do I understand not taking a running back? Yes. I don’t think you reach for one, but I don’t think that you want to fall in love with that plan. Florida has signed one running back since Dan Mullen’s been there, Nay’Quan Wright.

Nick:                         That’s true.

Andrew:                 I don’t know. We’ll see. Another big piece of news is Carlos Del Rio, the quarterback commit, got invited to the Elite 11 finals.

Nick:                         That’s the thing. If you’re a quarterback, that’s where you want to be. That’s what you want to get invited to.

Andrew:                 Tell me about the baseball player that got invited.

Nick:                         I don’t know the baseball, who was that?

Andrew:                 You would ask me his name. He’s a baseball commit to Sully and got invited. Give me a second here.

Nick:                         There’s like 50 baseball commits. We’ve talked about that. Baseball players are nice. They commit when they’re freshmen, and then they just hang out.

Andrew:                 Yeah. Give me a second here. The name slipped my mind, because it’s been over a week since we had that happen. Sam, no, no. Jay Allen.

Nick:                         Jay Allen. Okay.

Andrew:                 He’s a commit to baseball, to Sully, and also a quarterback. Kind of interesting to see what that does. Maybe he pulls a Carson Beck and says, I’m not going to Florida baseball no more, I’m playing football.

Nick:                         Maybe. Does he have a football offer?

Andrew:                 No. He says he wants to be a baseball player.

Nick:                         Smart.

Andrew:                 Shoot, I’d take that baseball money too. Why am I going to go out there and get hit when I can be the one throwing 90-mile-an-hour fastballs at people?

Nick:                         I always say that, and people are like, let the kids do what they want to do. I’m like, I’m not the kid. I’m not telling them what to do. I’m just saying I’d rather hit baseballs than get hit in the head.

Andrew:                 Shoot. Let’s just be honest. The career on the diamond is a lot longer than the career in football.

Nick:                         That’s all I’m saying.

Andrew:                 He’s 6’3” 190-pound outfielder out of Fort Pierce. Perfect Game has him the 11th ranked prospect in the country, 4th ranked outfielder. I shouldn’t even have called him a Florida commit. He’s an MLB signee next year probably.

Nick:                         Yeah. That’s the other thing.

Andrew:                 Few more minutes here, and I wanted to ask you this. We’ve seen a lot of movement with the baseball signees for this year, because of the scholarship crunch. You and I have talked about this a lot. I just want to put it on the podcast so other people can hear this. I’m wondering how this is going to affect the long-term longevity of programs around the country in general. Not just Florida, but everywhere. Any given year, you can lose 50% of your roster to the Draft, you know what I’m saying? To the Draft or transfers or whatever. Some of these guys that are transferring away were going to be depth pieces for the future.

Nick:                         Right.

Andrew:                 You’ve had an interesting point on it, so share it. How do you think this affects longevity? I think it hurts longevity of the program. Your thoughts are?

Nick:                         It does. We still kind of need to see it play out, but the initial thought was does this affect, like when they first said any seniors were going to be able to come back for another year, you think that eats into your 35-man roster. It eats into your scholarships. They fixed that, and they gave that no seniors that decide to come back for a second senior year will count against the roster, and their scholarship money won’t count against the scholarships.

Then you allow, Tommy Mace and Jack Leftwich get to come back for Florida. Not going to hear Sully complain about that. You love to have them back, but now they’re juniors. You already didn’t think that you were going to have those guys back. I’m just using those two as an example for Florida. You already didn’t think you were going to have them back this year. Now if something happens, and they’re back next year, now I didn’t think I was going to have them last year, and now I’ve got them on the 2022 roster.

Like I said with baseball earlier, you’ve got kids that were committed to you since they were freshmen in high school. I think it could possibly, it might not necessarily with every team, but it could create a three to four-year logjam where Florida I think has gotten rid of, I don’t want to say gotten rid of, that sounds bad to those guys. I don’t want to be disrespectful to them. There’s seven guys from the recruiting class that have already been processed and have decided to go, whether they’ve decided or been told it’s going to be best for you to go somewhere else, that’s already happened.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         We might be in a situation, depending on how things shake out, where that’s a three to four-year reality now.

Andrew:                 Like I said, you’re starting to look at cases where not only next year are you losing the guys that are juniors for this class, the Leftwiches and Maces of the world, but you’re losing guys that are in next year’s class that would have been gone next year. You’re going to lose double the amount of players possibly next year, as well as lose guys that were in your recruiting class. Like I said, I think instead of talking about the numbers being maybe too high, are they going to be too low in a year or two because of that? I don’t know. Like I said, there’s a lot of questions. I feel bad for Sully. I’ll be honest, I don’t even know if Sully knows the answer to these questions right now, because no coach or program’s ever been in the middle of this. Would you agree with that?

Nick:                         It’s all uncharted territory, and it’s going to be a learning process. Unfortunately, for the programs, most unfortunately for the players that are on the wrong end of it, it’s definitely going to be a learning process for all of college baseball. We talked about it at the time. I was like, listen, it’s not fair that Kirby McMullen, who probably isn’t going to play professional baseball, not fair to him that his season was cut short because of Coronavirus.

Andrew:                 No.

Nick:                         They did the right thing by them, but this is the consequence. Every action has a consequence, and this is that consequence of doing right by the seniors and even some of the juniors.

Andrew:                 Some people are saying, Kirby, and I’m not saying they’re saying Kirby McMullen, but I’m saying guys like Kirby McMullen that are in their sixth years should be cut. No, that’s not fair. It’s not fair to those guys. Guess what? Kirby McMullen would have signed with an MLB team. He might have been a $5,000 pick as an undrafted free agent. He might have been a 30th round pick. He would have been picked. If you’re halfway decent, you get picked to fill depth in the Minor League rosters. So, no, I don’t. I think that that’s only fair that he gets to stay. That’s only fair that he gets to play another year. Nobody asked for none of this. Just like in basketball, I don’t think it’s fair some of these seniors didn’t get to play in March Madness. March Madness is what you play the game of college basketball for.

Nick:                         Absolutely. I love March Madness and was looking forward to it. Shoot, we were just a couple weeks away from it when this all started.

Andrew:                 We were heading into the SEC Tournament. We were getting into good stuff. It’s all right. Baseball’s back.

Nick:                         That’s all that matters.

Andrew:                 That is all that matters.

Nick:                         In Andrew Spivey’s world.

Andrew:                 It does. That’s it. Get ready for plenty of Acuna bombs, Braves’ wins, chop ons. Anything else that goes along with the Braves, get ready, because my Twitter account is going to be fly come the end of July.

Nick:                         Every day.

Andrew:                 Every day.

Nick:                         Every day. Sometimes twice a day.

Andrew:                 We’re going 60-0.

Nick:                         Now you’re being ridiculous.

Andrew:                 55-5. We’ll see. We got one minute left. What’s the homerun leader hit this year, Nick? 60 games.

Nick:                         I think 20.

Andrew:                 20. 20 and 60. Okay.

Nick:                         I mean, you play a lot of baseball games even in a regular season, and then you can get hot, but 20 might be a lot, because 20 is one every three games.

Andrew:                 25 is what I’m going to go.

Nick:                         See, I was thinking 20 might be a lot.

Andrew:                 Here’s the reason I say that.

Nick:                         If you get hot, you’re going to be playing. You might be playing two games in a day. You might hit three homeruns in a day.

Andrew:                 Here’s the reason I say that. Some teams, the Braves are one of them, that are coming out and saying for the first few weeks their starters are only going to throw three or four innings.

Nick:                         Trying to build arms back up. Yeah.

Andrew:                 I mean, for instance, with the Braves, a guy like Mike Soroka’s a young kid, 21 years old. Do you really want to blow his arm out because you tried to pitch him 9 innings?

Nick:                         Right.

Andrew:                 It’s 60 games, but like you just said, no matter what happens at the end of the year, you’re getting an asterisk by it.

Nick:                         Yup. Big old Braves asterisk.

Andrew:                 It’s okay. Tell everybody where they can find us, Nick. We’ll get out of here. We’ll see everyone next week.

Nick:                         www.GatorCountry.com for all your Florida Gator news. The podcast is there in audio and transcript form. You can find your podcast wherever you listen to or consume podcasts. Just search Gator Country. Never miss an episode. Do your social media thing. @GatorCountry on Facebook and Twitter. @TheGatorCountry on Instagram. I’m @NickdelaTorreGC. He’s @AndrewSpiveyGC.

Andrew:                 There you go. Guys, we appreciate it. We’ll see everyone next week. Let us know if there’s anything you want us to talk about. As always, chomp, chomp and go Braves.

Nick:                         You stay classy, Gator Country.

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.