Boring. That’s how signing day 2014 played out for the most part in Gainesville. Besides the eleventh hour flips of both offensive lineman Andrew Mike (6-7, 280, Tucson, AZ Sabino) and quarterback Treon Harris (5-11, 185, Miami, FL Booker T Washington) There weren’t any of the nightmare stories that involve parents running away with their kids’ National Letters of Intent attached to UF’s class. As far as we know, no fax machine paper jams or loss of toner impeded the efforts of the recruiting office to secure its haul.
Mike’s commitment took the drama out of fellow offensive tackle and Maryland signee Damian Prince’s commitment on Wednesday. Defensive end Lorenzo Carter was assumed to be Georgia Bulldog red and black and by the end of the day, indeed he was. Wide receiver Isaiah Mckenzie also signed to Georgia, spurning both Florida and Auburn. The decision left most up in the air was that of 5-star ATH Adoree’ Jackson, a mystery until the end when he pledged to USC. Despite a lack of fireworks head coach Will Muschamp said in his signing day press conference that he was still on pins and needles Wednesday morning.
“It’s the same every year to me,” Muschamp said. “Until you get all the faxes in and all… You know if you’re getting them and you know if you’re not. If you haven’t talked to them in 48 hours, you’re not getting them.”
These are how signing days with Will Muschamp usually play out. Because of an aversion to the over-signing tactic, most of Muschamp’s recruiting classes are committed early and in place to take much of the soap opera out of the first Wednesday in February. Even if he’s on the phone with the whole family on signing day he admits he can still be a little anxious until the fax comes through to make things truly official.
“You’ve gotta have some hard conversations,” Muschamp said. “And you don’t get into much of the fanfare of signing day and all that. You need to know, to be fair for the University of Florida, I need to know where we are with a young man.”
24 (officially) signed to join Florida’s football team. Nine are already on campus, 15 more will arrive in the summer. The class is more brick and mortar than it is frills. 11 of the 24 play on either the offensive or defensive line, building blocks for depth in the trenches.
“We’re getting our numbers back on the offensive line,” Muschamp said. “We’re right at 15. You’d like to have 15 to 17 offensive linemen on scholarship.”
Lack of depth on the offensive line especially is a problem all too familiar with Florida fans. It’s what led to the reconfiguration of the 2013 Orange and Blue Debut as well as the reshuffling of some players away from their natural positions this season as injuries ravaged the unit.
The 2014 cycle may be over which the head coach acknowledges. But don’t think Muschamp and his staff are ever truly off the recruiting trail.
As he grabbed some papers off of the podium and turned to leave his signing day press conference, Muschamp was asked if the recruit class was completely done. He stopped, looked up and affirmed that it was before adding with a chuckle, “We’re always recruiting though.”