The Mark Miller Report: Whew! It’s finally over

National Signing Day signaled the end of what has become nearly as big an attraction as the actual football games themselves. Recruiting season is officially over. Well, it is kind of over, since coaches are already working on next year’s class and recruitniks will soon begin obsessing over kids that are currently juniors in high school.

Recruiting, and the coverage of the process, has become nearly absurd. Multiple networks had virtual non-stop coverage of signing day all day yesterday. Millions of Americans spent millions of dollars following the process and tracking their favorite prospects. Grown men, myself included, found themselves hanging on the whims of teenagers. If you stop long enough to really think about it, it is kind of silly really. However, I will do it again next year.

I truly feel for those who make a living trying to report on the process and predict which recruits will sign with which schools. These are teenagers. Even if they were completely truthful all of the time, they change their minds more often than they change their underwear. And they are not truthful all of the time. It is not even slightly uncommon for one of these players to tell the coaches from multiple schools that they are absolutely going to sign with their school. If the coaches can’t even figure out what these kids are going to do, how is a recruiting specialist for a website supposed to know?

These specialists talk to as many recruits as they can. They talk to family, friends and high school coaches. They sort through all of the contradicting information they receive and try to make an educated guess. That is all they can do. To say it is an imperfect science is an incredible understatement. So if you based your expectations on which recruits your favorite school was going to sign on what you read and are now upset with somebody else giving you bad information, you are not really thinking this through.

As a member of Gator Country, I was very impressed with the job that Nick and Andrew did for this site. Yes, they were a little optimistic going into signing day, but they were told things that lead them to those opinions. They both accumulated all of the information they could obtain and based their predictions on that information. I don’t see where anyone can ask for more than that.

I truly believe that the Adoree’ Jackson thing went down to the final day. I believe his mother wanted one school, his father wanted another school and Adoree’ himself wanted a third school. As is often the case, his mother seems to have won out.

I don’t think there was ever really a chance that Lorenzo Carter was coming to Florida. I think it was UGA all the way for Carter, but he wanted to play the game and garner some attention. I don’t blame him, it’s his moment in spotlight. Next year he is just another talented player trying to win playing time on a team full of talented players.

I think Damian Prince truly considered coming to Gainesville but I don’t think it was ever as close as some would have you believe. When a kid with that kind of talent chooses a school like Maryland, it is about proximity and it was going that direction all along.

The Isaiah McKenzie story is a little more baffling. I really like the film I saw on him. I think he would be a great asset in the return game if nowhere else. With as big a need as Florida has for playmakers I hate to think that the staff may have sent one down the road simply because they were buying into the Prince or Adoree’ scenarios.

Of course, the Dalvin Cook thing was just pathetic. It is one thing to have a hard time making up your mind but it something else entirely intentionally insulting a school and its coaches. Cook behaved like a punk. If I hurt anyone’s feelings by stating my opinion, that is just too bad. It is just how I feel about that situation.

But that is all in the past now. The University of Florida signed a very good class. It is a consensus top ten class which is truly amazing coming off of a 4-8 season and recruiting amid talk that the coaching staff could all be fired in a year. Will Muschamp and his staff worked extremely hard to put together this class and it fills the most glaring holes. The team will have the pieces to be successful for the next few years as long as these players are properly developed. If the offense improves dramatically under Kurt Roper, the Gators should find it much easier landing offensive playmakers in next year’s class. Now, it comes down to making things happen on the field of play. There was a chance that Muschamp was going to find it difficult to restock the cupboards this year which would have put his tenure at Florida in jeopardy. That did not happen. The pieces are in place for the Gators to rebound and rebound strong. It is put up or shut time in Gainesville Florida.


  1. Couple of thoughts.

    I certainly agree that the recruiting circus is over the top. For ESPN and the like, it is once again a case of too much air time and desperation to fill it. Televising high school sports on national TV is another symptom.

    Interesting that you mentioned that UF’s recruiting class is exceptional considering wide spread speculation that the coaching staff was vulnerable. I read on Swamp Gas and Bull Gator Den repeated assertions that “recruits don’t pay attention to message boards when they make decisions”. Sure they do–and when vocal segments of the fan base are incessantly criticizing the coaches and howling for the Head Coach’s job, it resonates.

    Kudos to Coach Muschamp and the staff for their hard work.

  2. I coached for 40 years, HFC for 30 and times have changed so much. Will While, Buc Gurley and Jamie Richardson, three of my Gators, never faced the Rivals, Scout etc.

    The word commitment is a poor choice, somewhat like a coach’s contract.

    We create the problem, with every refresh.