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This class is actually really good for a couple of reasons:
1. Stars mean nothing look at Jeff Driskel and some of our other 5 stars in the muschamp era.
2. We have filled a lot of holes in positions of need. If you look at film on these guys most of them are solid.
3. We had 13 players from the State of Florida, the Gators are back in the best state for HS Football
4. We flipped the #2 WR in the nation. That was huge. Our WR class is amazing.
5. We flipped Felippe Franks #5 QB in the country for his position, and a great fit for us. Also this kid wanted to play at Florida and Muschump didn't even breate on him. So flipping him from LSU was huge.
6. Coach Mac Developed talent at CSU that was no where near this level, and he also developed Muschamps recruits into something outside of the gifted folks. I feel like, with his own class, we have a lot of future stars in the making.
In year 2 of the Coach Mac Era, this is a good class. The only things to be disappointed in are not locking in a replacement for 4* DT Shaver Manuel (flipped to FSU) who can meet UF's academic requirements. 3* CB Antonio Nelson also failed to meet academic requirements, so he decided to do better than Manuel by going to Gulf Coast Community College to get his grades up.
Another thing that bothers me are the reports that former Gator coach Brad Lawing is doing some dirty recruiting at FSU. The report I read stated that he knew that Manuel would not academically qualify for UF, but he ordered Manuel to just tell UF recruiters what they wanted to hear rather than decommit early for academics.
Coach Mac will get a B+ to A- on this class based on the star ratings and the fact that he left 3 slots open, but if he develops his two classes as well as he did at CSU and does not get any mid-year surprises (like the Will Grier fiasco), this class may prove to be a solid A.
Am still "evaluating" our overall results post-NSD, but obviously "Agree" with the various conments/conclusions of "the regs"--all of which are cogent and basically cover my own first impressions...It all adds up to pretty well the situation E- lays out above, where (bearing in mind the "constrictions" our coach operates under as compared to other SEC programs--their cultures, history and oversight or lack there-of) it probably means we won't likely have all the tools, parts and depth our Coach fully intends to ultimately have in place, until 2017. He has us on track, tho', and even so (along with a certain element of feeling like "the other shoe is still to drop" as far as THIS class is concerned--we may still pick up someone important to this process before the summer) I'm with those who discount these "recruiting-rankings according to so-called experts". Our Coaches, the Head Coach most of all, are the "experts" I (lets face it, ALL of us) rely on in evaluating what's happened and what it likely means down the road. A coupla apparent "misses" there--but overall most of what Mac and his people seemed fixed on coming in, with room for and (as I say, and you all have implied from different perspectives), though the possibilities are still out there for more THIS year, our own longterm "assembly line" for our climb back to the very top, and STAYING there once we make it.
More, LOTS more I could say about all this, but think better to wait'n'see, let it all finish playing out, settle down--and count on some eventual perspective...and who knows? One or two positive surprises
still to come?
Main pount for now though is, I don't think we NEED the ratification of "media-experts-rankings" OR some unforeseen secret last-minute late-commit to make this class ultimately "successful", and/or turn out to be "as good as we could hope for". It could tutn out to be pretty well exactly what was needed. Certainly our COACH seems to feel that way, "all of the above".
Anyway, for him, us and everyone else, "Time will tell". So...Whats our next "meaningful peek at the future"?
After NSD the class settled in at about #10 in the nation, #4 in the SEC, with some recruiting services ranking is at #14. Unlike most schools, Florida had 24 of 25 athletes firmly committed before NSD with half of them on campus already. Time will tell if Coach Mac's recruiting style works out.
UF grabbed fewer quality recruits from the state of Florida (12) than Miami (16), but barely more than FSU (11). FSU and Miami have a slight edge in grabbing 5* and 4* athletes. UCF, USF, FIU and FAU are grabbing a dozen 3* athletes each year. Auburn had a spike in Florida athletes with Muschamp, but even with the Flipper going to South Carolina I expect Auburn to grab 4-5 Florida kids each year. Ohio State and Notre Dame each grab 4-5 Florida kids per year, primarily linemen. Coach Mac needs to win back some offensive and defensive linemen from the state. He is already winning in-state quarterbacks, receivers, running backs, and defensive backs with only occasional "losses" to FSU and Auburn. Look for those positional recruiting battles to improve.
What I see in Coach Mac's recruiting style is that he is trying to recruit stable, talented players rather than purely going after often troublesome 4* and 5* athletes. There is some risk there, because 3* and 4* athletes need more consistent coaching from stable recruiting staffs, which UF has not provided since 2008. By comparison, Nick Saban and Jumbo Fisher have consistently recruited top five classes despite coaching turnover by grabbing more 5* athletes and by giving kids freedom to act like prima donnas. In short, I see Jim McElwain merging what he learned from Nick Saban with UF's Billy Donovan in order to separate the University of Florida from its competitors.
Mac had 24 of his 26 verbal commitments (as of January) sign with the Gators, with half of them already on campus before NSD! He only needed to flip one on NSD, and it was a more mature, JUCO player. The two key losses on NSD were a receiver and a defensive tackle, with the DT not able to meet UF academics any way.
On a side note, Muschamp gets some credit for purging some of the bad apples. Mac should have no problem filling in Muschamp's talent voids with better student athletes.