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Florida Gators 2008 Recruiting Class


Aerospace Cubicle Engineer (ACE)
For historical purposes, here is the Gator recruiting class of 2008, ranked number 6 in the country, and possibly the last complete recruiting class of the Urban Meyer Era. The common theme in this class is frequent injury, sometimes career ending. The next most common theme is academic issues.

This class had 4 five-star, 11 four-star, 4 three-star, and a two-star athlete. 5 four-star and 2 three-star athletes transferred or retired from this class.
  1. Brendan Beal, LB (6-3, 223) 4*
    • Enrolled early, tore his ACL in fall 2008, redshirted 2009 due to neck injury, transferred to Minnesota in 2010
  2. Jeremy Brown, CB (5-10, 163) 4*
    • Consistently injured, but played on special teams and as backup CB
  3. Adrian Bushell, CB (5-10, 183) 4*
    • Had academic issues in 2008, transferred to Coffeyville in 2010 and Louisville in 2011
  4. Jeff Demps, RB (5-8, 176) 4*
    • Breakout year in 2011, made it to the Olympics in 2012, signed with New England Patriots in 2012
  5. Troy Epps, DT (6-0, 285) 3*
    • Transferred in from Coffeyville, but never broke into starting lineup
  6. Dee Finley, S (6-2, 200) 4*
    • Did not academically qualify in 2008. Wrong size for S or LB in 2009-2010. Transferred to North Alabama in 2011.
  7. William Green, DE (6-4, 215) 4*
    • Failed to make starting lineup
  8. Frankie Hammond Jr., WR (6-0, 170)
    • Redshirted 2008, played reserve in 2009, suspended in 2010 for DUI, given second chance by new coach Will Muschamp in 2011 but had limited impact on offense
  9. Will Hill, S (6-2, 203) 5*
    • Biggest bust of the class. Most talented, but laziest worker. Made mistake of entering NFL Draft and not being selected. Occasional impact player as UFA in NFL.
  10. Omarius Hines, WR (6-1, 200) 4*
    • Small success on track team, but never found right position on football field. Switched to RB in 2012 with limited success running jet sweeps and end arounds.
  11. Omar Hunter, DT (6-0, 322) 5*
    • Lynchpin of the hybrid 3-4 defense. Potential for good NFL Draft selection in 2013.
  12. Janoris Jenkins, CB (5-10, 177) 4*
    • Tragic waste of opportunity, but excellent playmaker as lockdown corner. Too many busts for drug abuse. Transferred to North Alabama and still had attitude issues at UNA. Still one of my favorite Gators in the NFL.
  13. Byran Jones, OL/DL (6-3, 305)
    • Redshirted 2008, transferred 2009.
  14. T.J. Lawrence, WR (6-0, 185) 4*
    • Minor success on ST in 2009, but transferred in 2010 to Florida A&M
  15. Lerentee McCray, LB (6-2, 205) 4*
    • Monster hitter in his senior year of 2012. Potential late catch in NFL Draft 2013.
  16. Carl Moore, WR (6-3, 220) 5*
    • Transferred in from California community college, but never made impact
  17. Earl Okine, DE (6-5, 250) 4*
    • Grew in size, but still failed to meet potential as impact player
  18. Matt Patchan, OT (6-6, 260) 5*
    • Consistently injured, but hard worker.
  19. T.J. Pridemore, FB/LB (6-0, 236) 3*
    • Frequently injured. Placed on medical hardship in 2011.
  20. Sam Robey, C (6-4, 275) 3*
    • Primarily backup at center and guard
  21. Caleb Sturgis, PK (5-10, 182) 2*
    • Rock star of the 2008 class. Consistently among top kickers in the country. Overcame setback from back injury in 2010 and became All-American in 2011 and 2012.
  22. David Young, OL (6-6, 290) 3*
    • Plagued with injuries since high school. Injuries limited impact throughout Gator career. Graduated from UF in 2011, but transferred with one year of eligibility.
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Maybe "it" WAS '08--sure enough "disappointment", low-motivation, underachievement and chronic injury for any THREE classes in this one alone...You know, one thing only tangentially-related to my effort to I.D. "the key failure-to-ignite"-class AMONG those three (again: 08-09-10) is the definite PATTERN of "LOOKING like a Big Winner" recruiting-hauls in Meyer's last three go-rounds that in truth ended up producing so much LESS-than-expected.
On paper (and that IS "the theme" here) these "SHOULD have" carried us through the intervening years with at least "solid success"--but looking through your class-by-class breakdown of what-happened-to-whom in each does go a long way towards explaining why they did NOT...The question is, to what extent did COACHING-change contribute to this as well, not to mention what's cause and what's effect in such instances?


Aerospace Cubicle Engineer (ACE)
At first glance, Florida did no worse than anyone else with recruiting. Bama just hides things better than everyone else. Some of those players have even spoken up years later and explained how Nick Saban would tell them to take a medical hardship or else be cut from the team entirely. Florida has used the medical hardship on about one athlete per class, and usually after they have already burned a medical redshirt and have not healed. The medical hardship is the only way some of these kids can afford medical treatment. Now, with Saban, some of those kids are still healthy enough to play football, but by being told to take the medical hardship they are not eligible to play anywhere else. Florida on the other hand, lets the kids take their football talents elsewhere.

I think the answer you are looking for lies not within Urban Meyer's recruiting prowess, but in his coaching assistants' coaching ability. Like it or not, Urban Meyer has proven to be a better recruiter than Will Muschamp--the two BCS championship and two SEC championship rings say so. Maybe in time Will Muschamp will prove to be a better coach, but for now, nobody but Nick Saban can claim to be a better recruiter.

On the topic of coaching, Urban Meyer not only lost some of his best coaches, but also replaced them with highly inferior coaches. Nick Saban on the other hand, replaced his best coaches with equally good or better coaches. So far, I think Will Muschamp has replaced his best coaches with better coaches as well, with the only questionable one being replacing Dan Quinn with DJ Durkin. In time, I think this will prove to be a wise decision, but for now we must wait and see.


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"Wait and see" appears to be the best advice on ALL of this--INCLUDING your pronouncement re Meyers-over-Muschamp as recruiters. Now, granted I have to take my anti-Urban sentiment into account here, but even so, I truly believe I am keeping that OUT of the equation when I insist that it is FAR too early to make that claim now, especially in such a final and deterministic manner, my friend.
The FIRST class shouldn't really count at ALL, given the circumstances, with Chomp coming in right up AGAINST NSD, stuck with trying to hold what he could of a class he wasn't himself familiar with, "assembled" (more like grabbed-by-the-handful from a list of "experts' picks" made from watching an ESPN-recruiting-show) under the auspices of a "vacant Coach" and his inept lapdog, and burdened by ALL that regime's coaches' likely and/or possible flight, many prospects already succumbing to the clustering parasites and circling scavengers by the time the NEW Coach could even get around to SEE 'em, and so on...Then there was the 2012 class, which we can already say is solid, but with so many redshirts and injury-set-backs, we still don't KNOW how many good ones were really there--but these were some of the most promising members of a class among whose freshman players-who-MADE-the-field generally began to make an impact, some dramatically, as the season moved along, experience and confidence beginning to build. All-in-all, the 2012 class ALREADY looks to equal Meter's first (as I say, the fairest to compare it too), and with those OTHERS still-to-prove-themselves COULD surpass it.
Now we are about to sign what no matter what will be "a VERY strong class"--but one that has the POTENTIAL to be "transformational", every BIT the "game-changer" that Meyer's second class-of-recruits was (again--THAT is its parallel), and possibly even MORE...How 'bout let's "Wait and SEE"?


Aerospace Cubicle Engineer (ACE)
I would say this class had good athletes, but that some of the best ones could not stay out of trouble. Based on a GPA system, I give these guys a 1.54 GPA (4 As, 1 B, 5 Cs, 5 Ds, and 7 Fs) for an overall grade of C.

The following recruits from 2008 get an A from me. They excelled at their positions, and exceeded or met high expectations.
  1. Caleb Sturgis
  2. Lerentee McCray
  3. Jeff Demps
  4. Omar Hunter
These guys get a B. They could have been better, but maybe they were just ill-fit for their positions.
  1. Omarius Hines
These guys get a C. Some got in trouble, some were injured, and some just could not improve in positions where we needed them.
  1. Frankie Hammond
  2. Matt Patchan
  3. Jeremy Brown
  4. Earl Okine
  5. Sam Robey
These guys get a D for wasting potential or downright throwing away careers.
  1. Will Hill
  2. Troy Epps
  3. William Green
  4. David Young
  5. Carl Moore
These guys get a big fat F. Janoris is the most tragic of the 2008 class. He was a playmaker that we could have used. Drugs are bad, mmkay?
  1. Janoris Jenkins
  2. T.J. Lawrence
  3. T.J. Pridemore
  4. Byran Jones
  5. Dee Finley
  6. Adrian Bushell
  7. Brendan Beal


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It takes maybe a "gestalt", a more intuitive "big-picture"/"gut-level" analysis to take all of this and make a KIND of overall sense of it, even if it IS an admittedly somewhat (necessarily) subjective and personal conclusion as to "what it all MEANS"--but that IS the idea here, ultimately, no? Otherwise all you have are a pile of statistics with accompanying "observations" and "impressions"--objective, perhaps, but still without value, at least until one or more interested parties (ie. in this case, all of US) bring memory and experience to bear.
Though there is always a danger of forgetting that there is a fundamental difference between those subjective "conclusions" and the OBjective "facts and evidence" upon which they are presumably based (and one I have admittedly blurred at times--inadvertently, maybe even inevitably, given the nature of "that dangerous ground"), which is something I sometimes forget--especially in my concurrent efforts in the role of "Devil's Advocate". Still, the effort itself I believe is necessary, valuable, and (when done right) keeps us moving forward. I have been and will continue TO try being more conscious of and effective in making this "leap of logic and (hopefully) insight"--and depend on (in fact WELCOME) reaction, input and/or (when appropriate) hooting derision from all of you, fellow GE "members"!


Aerospace Cubicle Engineer (ACE)
I offer up my opinion for counter opinions. Even the pros get these estimations of talent wrong. I think I have been harsh on Halapio. He might be a B, not a C.


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That makes more sense, some how...In FACT, it is a bit of a relief for me--I TRUST your "raw data" and how you boil it down statistically, E-, and my "gut level impression" frankly didn't quite square with that original "mediocre" "2.58"; At "1.54", though, now THAT better clicks with my harsher "feeling-based impression" of that class!

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