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Florida Gators 2013 Recruiting Class

Escambia94

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The Florida Gators have reported that their seven early enrollees are good to go. They are registered for spring classes. This summer they will gain one more early enrollee. With 27 commitments and three more scholarships available, the Gators class of 2013 is almost full. Reminder: other than the early enrollees, no commitments are final until National Signing Day, February 6.
 

DRU2012

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There WILL be some "shuffling" at "the edges" here before this is over...How THAT goes will comprise the details that will determine how "the experts and outsiders" rate this class, "outstanding" or "just very good". We'll be more-than-fine either way, not a bad situation to be in--but in fact, given what we need, who and where the question marks are down the stretch mean that though that last is true, we have a very real chance to be SET heading into 2013 and beyond as a result of one potentially AMAZING class (and with a head start on great qualirty at LEAST in 2014, too, BTW)--an opportunity that does not present itself very often, perhaps once in a generation. We've got the coaching staff in place to work wonders, I think, but given recruiting as the ultimate source of all future potential, we are talking about that kind of immediately "transformational" class.
 

Escambia94

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Just like last year, I will keep my expectations low and hope for the best. I will avoid using terms like "transformational", "#1 in country", or anything like that. An amazing class is one that fills all our needs, irrespective of the class ranking or star ratings of the athletes in the class. This one is looking good, but it will be hard to predict how the old receiving corps and new incoming receivers will get along. If we land all the WRs that are committed now, there is little place for any of the current receivers, except at perimeter blocking. Until we have depth and experience at WR, the offense is still short of talent that cannot be fixed in one class. I can foresee the offensive packages becoming rather predictable--mostly young receivers means throwing deep and mostly older receivers means screen pass or run. What these incoming recruits need to do is push the older guys into becoming better. If Debose, Patton, and Dunbar do not like the thought of being replaced by Robinson, Fulwood, and Bailey they had better step up their game. Get open. Do not give up on routes. Find a way to get into the green spaces. To me a successful class has a balance of immediate talent that can start on opening day, and team-committed players that force the veterans into playing harder.
 

DRU2012

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Well, I said we had a SHOT at that kind of class--There were reasons I used that term, and now we can at least add two of them publicly, now that they're "out of the bag": #1 recruit-overall nationally Nkemdiche has announced that UF is the THIRD of "now-THREE possible schools" he is considering (in addition to Ole Miss and LSU), and he will take an unexpected-to-EVERYONE (the other 2 schools, anyway, along with all the "pundits" and "recruitniks"--NOT to certain UF Coaches whom he and his family have been talking to for some days now) Official Visit to us in Gainesville this coming weekend...We already look to have an "elite defensive class", but if this kid alone were to come it would then be off-the-chart, in terms of (immediate) potential. I say "alone" because, in addition, another rare 5-star, #1-rated DT Montravius Adams, has now announced his late-revealed-consideration of UF as well (courtesy of an ongoing "friendly relationship" with our now-Recruiting Coordinator, Joker Phillips, I am told--who in turn introduced he and his family to our Head Coach, whom they were/are greatly impressed with). It is clear that we are going to have at least ONE-of-the-best defenses in the nation for seasons to come, and these kids, more and more aware of it, want to be a part of that success.
There are two other "biggies" out there, these both on offense, that our Coaches, through some pretty cagey, quiet and patient "encouragement", have managed to maneuver us into a close relationship with, and if we were to snag one of these might well make as big an actual impact on that side of the ball as Nkemdiche would for the "D".
We (several of us) have noted this before, but I want to reiterate that one of the most encouraging points about the standards this staff has held to, and the manner in which they continue to go about their business--in what is much of the time, in many ways, a wild and cut-throat-in-its-competitiveness recruiting process--has been the continued searching for signs of a certain "character" in these young men, the way they have endeavored to learn as much as possible about them along the way, have generally treated all of them (AND those close to them) with a certain amount of low-key respect--and even dropped pursuit in certain cases and/or allowed competitors to take the lead as they quietly pressed their interests elsewhere BASED on such standards, upon getting the impression that one is likely NOT a good fit to "the Florida Way", while another may well BE. In addition to this paying off in the future potential of the team they are building, it turns out ALSO to have impressed not just the best of these kids themselves, but their parents and family-members. In more than one case, it appears to have made, and/or is at least playing a PART in making the difference, in terms of their final decisions.
It's NOT just that we will have a TALENTED team, but that so much consideration is being given to the idea that they will be a TEAM, first and foremost. THAT, along with the talent accruing both on the field in our players and on the sidelines in our staff, is what gives me a growing sense of confidence in where we're headed, and how soon we'll get there.
 

Escambia94

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One way to encourage the team mentality is to eliminate jersey #1, at least on opening day. That number seems to be a curse lately. Make the top offensive and defensive team member earn the right to wear #1 each week. Lately #1 means "over rated" or "look at me as I underperform".
 

Escambia94

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Former Gators commitment, WR Rodney Adams, is now visiting West Virginia. He originally committed to Florida last February, but de-committed in August when Aubrey Hill resigned. It turns out that not only was he in danger of not making Florida's more stringent academic requirements, but he also has a health condition that may limit his playing ability regardless of where he goes next.

Moral of the story: do not be instantly alarmed when a player de-commits.
 

Escambia94

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This weekend the Gators will entertain current verbal commitments S Keanu Neal SDE Antonio Riles and WR Marqui Hawkins, as well as uncommitted athletes DE Tashawn Bower (Auburn lean), FB Kennard Swanson, and SDE Robert Ndemiche (Ole Miss lean).

WR Alvin Bailey is expected to visit next weekend.
 

DRU2012

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With Quinn suddenly leaving for the pros we may be in big trouble--beginning with this recruiting class, a significant portion of which may now be back-in-play with questions suddenly arising among a number of prospects (fair or not, right or wrong) as to our future success, and (probably JUST as important) THEIR access to the pros, that Quinn's presence not-so-subtly suggested--and his exit now (which I understand to be somewhat unexpected, at least THIS year) is a move that could not have been more poorly timed as far as its potential to torpedo what WAS shaping up as a historically superb class.
(If interested, see my more-detailed comment/reaction to this news on Escambia94's latest news article regarding Quinn's leaving--that column worth checking out in ANY event--along with Leakfan12's thread, "Damn it Seattle", as well, for further insight and discussion here...)
 

DRU2012

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(Btw--With news that DJ Durkin is stepping up from coaching the linebackers to DC, we'll just have to hope that he is not only up to the job itself--which, with Muschamp himself so involved in the defense ANYWAY, will probably be fine, from a practical POV--but that his work doing much of the actual legwork and on-the-scene hand-holding of relations with recruits and their families now translates smoothly into reassuring everyone, and holding the class in place as we enter the homestretch towards NSD...It's a big loss, though--and more important, everyone is going to SEE it that way--and, as I say, at the very worst time for such a down-beat note and sign-of-weakness to be the image we are presenting--DJ may do a fine job, but just losing a few top-prospects could make the difference for our future-potential as to what he and EVERYONE have to work with in the seasons ahead...Had this happened in the way it should have, with plenty of lead-time--Quinn, even in the last couple of weeks, had more-than-once assured Muschamp and Foley, as he had the public, that he "had much to gain" here, was "really happy", and "wasn't planning on leaving for a couple of seasons, at least", so they let some possible big-hire replacements go by, and were totally blind-sided by this happening this relatively late-in-the-game--the Gator-"Braintrust" WOULD have otherwise worked for and had a chance to have a splashy big-time hire, one that might have better reassured the recruits and their families...Now they just have to hope that "competence", "continuity", and a whole lot of scrambling are enough to hold things together--though, again, right or wrong, they often are NOT.)
 

Escambia94

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Updates from this past weekend (current Gator commitments are in bold, with blue indicating projections sticking with Florida and orange indicating projected de-commitments):
  • SDE Robert Ndemiche of Loganville, GA has named Florida to his top three or so, along with Ole Miss and LSU. Florida came out of nowhere to land atop his list, but this does not guarantee he will become a Gator. Reports indicate that his mom prefers Ole Miss. I project a 50/50 flip between Florida and Ole Miss. Florida is the only school he has visited other than Ole Miss. His Twitter page indicates he really connected with RB Kelvin Taylor.
  • FB Kennard Swanson of Lakeland, FL has named Florida his favorite. If anyone flips to Florida, I think it will be this one.
  • DE Tashawn Bower of Somerville, NJ thoroughly enjoyed his official visit to Florida this weekend, but will still max out the number of official visits he is allowed to take so that he can make an informed decision. He will visit LSU and Auburn and make his official decision on NSD. No word on what his preference is, but he is still listed as an Auburn commit. I project him to stick with Auburn, but with a possibility of choosing Florida.
  • ILB James Hearns of Tallahassee, FL took an official visit to Auburn this weekend despite being a longstanding Gator commit. There has been some rumbling about Hearns' grades. If his grades get him into Florida, he will probably stick with Florida. I project Hearns' grades to not measure up and he will flip to Auburn along with high school teammate WR Taj Williams.
  • CB Jalen Ramsey of Nashville, TN is still a USC commit, but I project him to flip to Louisville, Florida State or Florida. The word on the street is that USC is having problems fitting all its commitments into their incoming class. Current Brentwood Academy teammate and Gator commit, QB Max Staver, is working on Ramsey now. Twitter traffic indicates that Ramsey is probably going to flip, but has not announced where he will flip.
  • OLB/S Keanu Neal of Bushnell, FL appears to still be committed to Florida after his OV.
  • SDE Antonio Riles of Lawrenceville, GA liked his OV to Florida so much that he called off future OVs to other schools.
  • WR Marqui Hawkins of Columbus, GA enjoyed his OV, but will consider OVs to other schools. My guess is that he is worried about competition from higher rated receivers.
  • WR Alvin Bailey of Seffner, FL still appears to be committed to FL and will take that OV this coming weekend.
  • WR Ryan Timmons of Frankfort, KY was just handed an offer by Joker Phillips. He will take an OV in early February.
Based on this weekend's visits, I anticipate one to flip from Florida to Auburn, one to possibly pick Florida out of the blue, and two or three to commit to Florida on NSD after some final push right before NSD. I do not anticipate too many defections other than possibly Hearns and one other, with a possible loss of commitment due to academic qualifications.
 

Escambia94

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  • The Gators are visiting with Gator commit ILB James Hearns today. I would like to think that if he makes the academic requirement, he will stick with Florida, but he torn between Auburn and Florida according to Twitter.
  • Uncommitted CB Jalen Ramsey has announced that he has narrowed down the field to USC, Florida, and FSU.
 

Escambia94

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FB Kennard Swanson enjoyed his OV, but the Gators could not tender a commitable offer due to low SAT score and GPA. If Swanson picks up his grades and SAT score, he can have a commitable offer. Muschamp says he will reserve a scholarship slot and leave it up to Swanson to keep up his end of the deal.
 

Escambia94

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As expected, ILB James Hearns decommitted from Florida citing issues with academic qualification. More than likely he will commit to Auburn, where the academic standards are lower and he can be with high school classmates committing to Auburn.
 

DRU2012

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Shame about Hearns--but hey, good an academic school as we are (and despite our long-standing efforts to be known as "The Harvard of the South"), this ISN'T the Ivy League, and if a kid, with all the help he gets, and time he has to shore UP those grades once apprised of the danger he won't cut it here if he DOESN'T get with the tutors, etc., and, failing to put some time and EFFORT into it, instead figures it should be HANDED to him like everything ELSE has the last few years of high school, then MAYBE this is a young man with OTHER problems--SOME combination of motivational, attitudinal AND priority-appraisal-related ones that likely make him unsuitable for the kind of TEAM this staff is building here. Ya gotta WANNA be a Gator--even if that means finally opening up one of those "BOOK-thingies", and getting used to CONTINUING in that vein all the way through your college career. I mean, how BAD are things STILL at Auburn when their "edge" is that they accept and can promise to "get ya thru" an "educational program" (it's a JOKE even CALLING it that, really) that amounts to a transparent EXCUSE to finesse the supposed "student athlete" rules and image--making it the mockery the phonies at the NCAA make such a big (though in truth, selective) deal as how things "have to be".
Anyway, we really NEED this to be the great recruiting class it is still well-shaping up to be--all the MORE with what has amounted to a "worst case scenario", or something close to it, with the juniors we ended up losing here. Indeed, in an extensive analysis, Feldman at CBSsports.com notes that "the Gators have taken a particularly heavy hit in the number and QUALITY of key non-seniors that they are losing to the NFL Draft this time around"...He rates us as the #3 "Hardest Hit" in a "Top 10" of such programs, one (not surprisingly) as dominated by the SEC as any fair end-of-season ranking of the programs' performance in the season just past (I'll get to that at the end here).
We got on that list, and "rated" on it so highly, courtesy of "just" FOUR PLAYERS' leaving:
Floyd (DT), Elam (S), Reed (TE), Jenkins (LB)

Here is the full list itself:
(1) LSU
(2) Tennessee
(3)**UF**
(4)TAMU
(5)FSU
(6)UGA
(7)'Bama
(8)Okla.
(9)Mich. St.
(10) Stanford

As you can see, with so MANY SEC-teams, plus FSU, on the list, many of our "toughest future opponents" have been arguably as significantly "hard-hit" (or nearly so, anyway) as WE have been--so perhaps this will not affect actual competition as much as it might seem on first glance...It comes down, as I implied above, to how well each team "RELOADS" in the next couple of recruiting cycles, ESPECIALLY THIS ONE, which of course culminates in a couple of weeks.
This would thus be all-the-more an opportune time to "hit the jackpot" with a really outstanding class--and we are still well on track to DO that. I believe we'll be in "good shape" even if we only get the ones we're "solid with" already--but if we COULD grab a handful more of the "BEST OF THE BEST" who have us on their "short list or BETTER", this COULD be "one for the ages", one of those "transforming" classes that (like for eg. Meyer's 2nd year, I think) is so well-timed that it sets-us-up for a multi-year run that feeds on ITSELF, drawing in NEW "good-to-GREAT classes" to KEEP fueling that success. I still say that had we--and HE--not lost all those great assistants, men who carried our recruiting, those prospects' preparation for ON-field success once they GOT here, and, as it tuned out, to a great extent Meyer HIMSELF--and then Meyer somehow losing focus, unloading too much onto an ill-prepared and unworthy Dive Master to both make those choices AND oversee getting 'em ready once they got here...had we instead KEPT that staff together just a couple more years, the intervening years since our last Championship would have been VERY different indeed--no great insight, I grant you, but worth noting/remembering--and it all began with (what I-think-was) the '09-Class, that all the "experts" (and that was part of the problem: that remaining "Not-Much-Brain-Trust" relied completely UPON that "accepted common wisdom", rather than "their own"--really The Dazed One's--LACK of research, evaluation and/or insight in choosing the prospects in that class) called "amazingly full and talented", but one that turned out to be loaded with prima donnas, trouble-making sideline-sulkers and locker-room whiners etc. who thought it all should be handed to them, tore the team apart when it wasn't, and for the most part ultimately didn't live up to their promise in ANY event--no big surprise. It's a mark of how good a team we HAD that, though it STILL "underachieved" that last "year-in-the-string", with Tebow and a number of others coming back for their senior years to WIN another one (DESPITE being MORE "ready for primetime" and "higher-rated" than most of the guys leaving early THIS year) only finally getting beat in the SEC-Championship game (a topic of "Warning to Future Gator TEAMS" in-and-of-itSELF, worth remembering and examining in detail ELSEWHERE), we went otherwise undefeated DESPITE the resulting cracks that began to show and multiply. It wasn't until 2010, though, after Meyer's "drama-queen flip-flop" to start things heading that way at the end of '09 (another HUGE "warning", that we swept-under-the-rug, then ignored and did our best not to think about--mostly in RELIEF, as I recall), that it all REALLY "showed"--when it turned out we DIDN'T have the "replacement parts" after ALL.
THAT, ie. "having the REPLACEMENT parts", is exactly what is on-the-line THIS time TOO, btw.
 

DRU2012

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(Additional note in relation to above: It is worth reviewing Escambia94's comment in the "Damn it Seattle"-thread, near the end, that begins "Something to consider...", and goes on to note and document, using Saban's run at 'Bama as an example, how CONSISTENCY on the Coaching Staff as-a-whole can well make as big a difference, in terms of long-term, consistent success of the whole program, once the right "team" OFF-the-field--ie. coaching--is in place, as who you have and how well they are prepared ON-the-field does. Though I refer to an instance or two of this in OUR recent history that both reinforce and contrast, I recommend all following this discussion take another glance at that entry...)
 

Escambia94

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  • Over the past few days I have collected data on each recruiting class since 2009. Look for a new thread soon.
  • I have also looked at the coaching turmoil, and you can see that thread already.
  • My conclusion is that coaching consistency has little effect on arrests and recruiting, but has a great effect on wins and losses. Coaching skill at each position cannot be measured here, but I would draw the conclusion that it is not just consistency, but skill of the coaches at each position. It is okay to have coaching turnover as long as the team is netting better coaches.
  • As it pertains to the 2013 class and this thread, I see business as usual. Nothing is different since 2009 other than wins and losses. This class looks to be a good one. Check out the first post in the thread for the current snapshot.
 

DRU2012

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I have GOT to take another look at those numbers--'cause MY impression, on first scan, was a different one from yours, E-...but that difference MAY have more to do with a "leap-to-conclusion" based more on my own preconceptions. I'll take another look before commenting further, except to say that I guess I assume certain connections between "consistency", "recruiting" and "wins and losses", as well as SOME involvement between getting and KEEPING a "good coaching-team", and your on-field-team's consistency-of-success.
Ultimately, though, clearly your point about "net-improvement in coaching skill" is the over-riding consideration as to "coaching consistency" 's effect on that success. Indeed, it is exactly THAT which has "saved us from trouble" in Muschamp's two off-seasons since arriving as our Coach, and allowed us to "land on our feet", ending up in overall BETTER shape as a result of such changes, instead of in turmoil and set-back. For myself, it has meant worry at first news, then relief and approval at its quick resolution with acceptable, in some cases even superior, replacements.
 

Escambia94

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With NSD only a week away, the heat is on to close on the uncommitted and flip-able recruits. Here are the big names that Florida may or may not get (5-star recruits in bold):
  • Montravious Adams DT- Georgia lean
    • Gifted athlete, but as a DT he is more suited to a 4-3 defense. Could land at Georgia or Clemson. 5% chance
  • Rodney Adams - RB - decommitted due to competition at position
  • MacKenzie Alexander CB- Tennessee
    • Some say this is the best CB in the class, not Vernon Hargreaves III. The Gator No Fly Zone would be nearly impenetrable if the Gators could land this kid, but I do not see it happening. Maybe 5% chance.
  • Tre Bell DB - decommitted
  • Von Bell - Alabama lean
  • Richard Benjamin WR - Louisville
  • Jay-Nard Bostwick DT - uncommitted, Florida, Miami, or Bama choice
  • Tashan Bower DE - Auburn
  • Ryan Buchanan QB - Ole Miss
  • Stacy Coley WR - indecisive and uncommitted
  • Alex Collins RB- uncommitted, Arkansas or Miami
    • Best RB in country, but probably not well suited for the Gators (although he would be a nice addition). More than likely he will go to Arkansas. 1% chance.
  • Tyrone Crowder OG/OL
  • Elijah Daniel DE - Ole Miss
  • Greg Gilmore DT - LSU
  • Jason Hatcher DE - USC
  • James Hearns ILB - decommitted due to academic issues
  • Roderick Johnson OL 6-6/300 32 3* (committed 3/25/12 as #10, then de-committed 8/11/12)
    • This kid was seen taking pictures in the Gator locker room not too long ago. Look for him to solidly commit to Florida and sign. I give Florida a 99.9999% chance.
  • Dillan Lawson LB 6-4/215 30 3* (committed after Junior Day 2/16/12, then de-committed due to academics)
  • Leon McQuay III DB - USC
  • Robert Nkemdiche SDE- Ole Miss lean
    • Nkemdiche is choosing amongst Ole Miss, Bama, and Florida. His older brother played at Ole Miss. He decommitted from Clemson around the time of his OV to Ole Miss. I say that he is a 90% lock to Ole Miss, but a 10% chance he could still land at Florida.
  • Ebenezer Ogundeko DE/OLB - Clemson
  • Joshua Outlaw OL 6-4/290 27 3* (committed 4/7/12 as #11, then de-committed 8/20/12. Utah lean)
  • Quentin Powell LB (de-committed from UF, but still interested)
    • If Quentin can bring up his grades, he will likely land in Gainesville. I give him an 80% chance.
  • Jalen Ramsey CB- USC
    • I am 90% certain this kid will decommit from USC. The question is whether he lands at Florida or with an SEC or in-state rival. I give Florida a 55% chance.
  • Jarran Reed DT - Ole Miss
    • I give Florida a 5% on this one.
  • FB Kennard Swanson (uncommitted, Florida lean, but having problems with academic qualification)
    • If Kennard can bring up his grades, I see him coming to Gainesville. 50%. If he fails to make the grade, he will go with option B, LSU.
  • Matthew Thomas OLB - uncommitted and indecisive
  • Ryan Timmons WR - Kentucky lean
    • Joker Phillips is working on his former target from Kentucky, but the new UK coaches are working hard to protect him from Urban Meyer. 25%.
  • WR Laquon Treadwell - Ole Miss
  • Laremy Tunsil OL- FSU lean, but highly indecisive and uncommitted
    • This kid grew up a Gator fan, so there is a chance. Rumor has it that the Gators asked him to switch positions due to fluctuating weight (from 295 to 330, and back down). Georgia might actually land the kid...and then force him to change position. 5%.
  • Demarcus Walker DE - Alabama
  • Levante Whitfield - FSU
 

DRU2012

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ARGH!!! The kinds of "elusive" (read "slippery", or "vague", or "indecisive", or "questionable forces at work" etc. etc. etc.) so-called "reasons" for the long list of "interested but...(take your pick of qualifying rationales)" "highly-rated" and still-in-flux potential recruits will have your heart squeezed, head spinning and guts in knots if you let yourself worry about it all and/or take it too seriously...I promised I'd lay off the "what I heard from "unnamed-but-connected-sources", in fact I SWORE such pronouncements OFF entirely, so I'm sticking to it--they'd just further muddy the waters and contribute to the overall angst in ANY event, so no big loss here...I'm just gonna trust our Coaches (their judgment as much as their recruiting prowess--I WILL tell y'all that a certain number of the above are no longer being PURSUED, for reasons hinted-at and/or fairly easy-to-deduce from E-'s own comments/descriptions above) and try to be as content and patient as possible with that "Wait and SEE"-approach we've been talking about here the last few days, as all of this hits a crescendo of behind-the-scenes promises, innuendo and outright lies.
 

Escambia94

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Without knowing your sources, I pretty much knew that not everyone on this list is being pursued right now. The ones that I know of in active pursuit are the only ones with percentages listed. I see 11 of these kids still getting phone calls and home visits until cool-off time, with only 1 or 2 flipping. That is good, because we only have room for 2 or 3 more.
 
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