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How bad IS our recruiting?

DRU2012

Super Moderator
Staff member
Super Moderator
There’s a lotta talk “out there” about how “poorly” the Gators have generally recruited under Dan Mullens, at least relative to the so-called “elite” programs who’ve been noticeably grabbing the lion’s share of elite “5-Stars” out of highshools the last few years (even, noteably and disappointingly so, out of the state of Florida!).
Certainly relative to that “elite” (‘Bama, Clemson, Ohio State), even more like “near elite” teams in our own Conference (like UGA) that we SEEMED to have finally caught up with this past season (but subsequent events and surrounding stories coming out around our program currently have seemingly begun to call into question) have lately begun to eat away at my own shaky confidence: I’m not sure if it is all that “external background crap”, disappointments and letdowns here in the post- and OFF-season that have worn away at my outlook, after the disappointingly uneven way our season unwound down the stretch, that has me worried—but we all are having to hold rather tightly to the narrow hope engendered in the one potential bright spot there, the fact that we gave Nat Champ Alabama their toughest challenge this year there at the end, in the SEC Championship Game—tougher than they got from anyone else in 2020, INCLUDING the ensuing playoffs.
And that is encouraging, meaningful—though perhaps less so as various events and processes have played out since...least of all the Gilbert-fiasco, our continued “misses” at 5-star prospects in general AND QB in particular: As difficult to fathom as ever with Mullens’ well-founded rep and history (recent as much as EVER!) with quarterbacks as this is, it is happening AGAIN, notably so for the 2022 class thus far!
There is a certain “trend” here in Mullen & Co.’s recruiting, and with his “different approach”, especially their so far impressive “fill ins” using the Transfer Portal, but the growing concern here is the question as to whether Mullen and his staff CAN “turn that corner” in recruiting, begin to grab enough of the very top-tier talent ACROSS-THE-BOARD that will allow them to finally move into that annual “Elite Group” that is at the very least “considered in the running” on an annual basis.
Because that is where we expect them to be—where our Head Coach expects them to be, and where he came here to TAKE them to!
I haven’t given up hope—but I am less and less confident in our getting there with stopgap measures that depend on things like “new transfer rules” and/or solely our Coach’s admitted talent for “developing talent” and fitting inventive “schemes” TO that talent. WE NEED SOME OF THE VERY BEST PLAYERS TOO!!!
 

Escambia94

Aerospace Cubicle Engineer (ACE)
Moderator
The best measuring stick for Power-5, Sunshine State recruiting is Miami and FSU. Once Dan Mullen can regularly beat out those two for Sunshine State talent we can look at Mullen's recruiting against the top-5 teams in America. It would be premature to compare Mullen to Saban, Swinney, Day, and Smart until he can beat out Norvell and Diaz for in-state talent. Mullen is beating out Norvell for the most part. but not Diaz. Mullen is splitting head-to-head recruiting battles with Smart. Mullen has a long way to go to beat out Saban, Swinney, and Day in regular recruiting battles.

What this means is that overall recruiting looks relatively bad compared to Alabama, Clemson, and Ohio State. The recruiting looks good compared to Georgia despite Smart grabbing more 5-star athletes. Mullen has zero excuses for losing key battles with Diaz and he needs to keep distancing himself from Norvell. There is no argument that Florida recruiting looks like crap compared to the Urban Meyer days; however, it is much more balanced than it was in the Muschamp and McDeathThreats days. Idiot fans are already calling for Mullen's head since the Gators are not a top-5 program, so we may not need to wait around for Mullen to continue improving the recruiting since there is no way to keep idiot Gator fans happy. Just keep spreading rumors about this being Mullen's hot seat year and it will happen. If the Gator Nation would calm down I think Mullen can take the Dabo Swinney path to building a program, which means 4-ish years to a conference championship and 8-ish years to a national championship appearance.

For comparison here are the Clemson recruiting rankings and final rankings under Dabo Swinney:
  • 2020 - 3 247Sports/ 3 CFP (3 from Florida, including 5-star RB Demarkcus Bowman of Lakeland, FL; 4-star DT Demonte Capehart of Brandenton, FL; 4-star CB Fred Davis of Jacksonville, FL)
  • 2019- 10/ 2 CFP (7 from Florida, including 4-star WR Frank Ladson of Homestead, FL; 4-star DT Tyler Davis of Apopka, FL)
  • 2018 - 7/ 1 CFP (2 from Florida, including SDE Xavier Thomas of Bradenton, FL plus 5-star QB Trevor Lawrence of Cartersville, GA)
  • 2017 - 16/ 4 CFP (1 from Florida, 3-star OT Blake Vinson of Citra, FL)
  • 2016 - 11/ 1 CFP (3 from Florida, including 4-star CB Trayvon Mullen of Pompano Beach, FL; 4-star ILB Shaq Smith of Bradenton, FL)
  • 2015 - 9/ 2 CFP (5 from Florida, including 5-star WR Deon Cain of Tampa, FL; 4-star ATH Ray-Ray McCloud of Tampa, FL; 4-star OT Jake Fruhmorgen of Tampa, FL)
  • 2014 - 16/ 15 (2 from Florida, including 4-star DT QB Deshaun Watson of Gainesville, FL)
  • 2013 - 15/7 (4 from Florida, including 5-star RB Mackensie Alexander of Immokalee, FL)
  • 2012 - 20/ 9 (1 from Florida, 4-star S Travis Blanks of Tallahassee, FL)
  • 2011 - 10/ 22 (4 from Florida, including 5-star OLB Tony Steward of St. Augustine, FL and 5-star RB Sammy Watkins of Fort Myers, FL)
  • 2010 - 27/ NR (1 from Florida)
  • 2009 - 36/ 24 (0 from Florida)
  • 2008 - 9/ NR (10 from Florida)
There is a strong correlation between Dabo Swinney's recruiting of the Sunshine State and Clemson's success in recruiting and on the field. Not shown in the 2018-present recruiting are the recruiting battles that Mullen has been winning against Swinney and Smart in key Peach State high schools where the Gators recruited Emory Jones, Rashad Torrence, Kamar Wilcoxson, Ty'Ron Hopper, and Chief Borders under Dan Mullen--when there were only a couple Peach State athletes on the roster prior to the current coaching staff. What this tells me is that under Muschamp and McDeathThreats the Gators lost 8 years of recruiting battles in the Sunshine State, but if we give Mullen the same amount of rope that Clemson gave Dabo Swinney I think the Gators will be back on top of recruiting. I am a bit alarmed at Mullen losing recruiting battles against Manny Diaz, but then again I understand why Mullen valued Diaz as one of his assistants and lead recruiters at Mississippi State. I will begin to worry like the rest of the impatient Gator fans if Mullen's recruiting takes a step back. Here is how the Gators have recruited in the past few years:
  • 2021 - 13/ TBD (14 from Florida, including 1 5-star, 1 4-star of 6 total)
  • 2020 - 9/ 12 (15 from Florida, including 1 5-star, 9 4-star of 16 total)
  • 2019 - 9/ 7 (15 from Florida, including 6 4-star of 13 total)
  • 2018 - 14/ 6 (10 from Florida, including 6 4-star of 13 total)
  • 2017 (Jim McElwain year 3) - 11/ NR (17 from Florida, including 10 4-star of 11 total)
  • 2016 (Jim McElwain year 2) - 12/ 13 (13 from Florida, including 4 4-star of 9 total)
  • 2015 (Jim McElwain year 1) - 21/ 25 (15 from Florida, including 2 5-star, 2 4-star of 2 total)
  • 2014 (Will Muschamp year 4) - 9/ NR (15 from Florida, including 1 5-star from DC; 5 4-star of 8 total; multiples dismissed from team including Gerald Willis, Will Grier, JC Jackson)
  • 2013 (Will Muschamp year 3) - 3/ NR (18 from Florida, including 2 5-star from Florida; 10 4-star of 14 total)
  • 2012 (Will Muschamp year 2) - 3/ 10 (11 from Florida, including 1 5-star of 3 total; 7 4-star of 12 total)
  • 2011 (Will Muschamp year 1) - 11/ NR (14 from Florida, including 1 5-star; 7 4-star of 10 total)
  • 2010 (Urban Meyer year 6) - 1/ NR (16 from Florida, including 1 5-star of 5 total; 10 4-star of 17 total)
In other posts I have detailed not only the quality of the recruits improving under Mullen, but also the offensive/ defensive/ special teams balance, the skillful use of the transfer portal before it was cool, and the regaining of pipelines into key Sunshine State and Peach State high schools. Comparing Mullen's recruiting growth to Swinney while factoring in competition against Diaz, Norvell, and Smart, I would say that the Gators are doing fine in recruiting assuming the 2022 recruiting does not look like 2021 recruiting--or Mullen strikes it rich in the transfer portal again.
 

DRU2012

Super Moderator
Staff member
Super Moderator
The best measuring stick for Power-5, Sunshine State recruiting is Miami and FSU. Once Dan Mullen can regularly beat out those two for Sunshine State talent we can look at Mullen's recruiting against the top-5 teams in America. It would be premature to compare Mullen to Saban, Swinney, Day, and Smart until he can beat out Norvell and Diaz for in-state talent. Mullen is beating out Norvell for the most part. but not Diaz. Mullen is splitting head-to-head recruiting battles with Smart. Mullen has a long way to go to beat out Saban, Swinney, and Day in regular recruiting battles.

What this means is that overall recruiting looks relatively bad compared to Alabama, Clemson, and Ohio State. The recruiting looks good compared to Georgia despite Smart grabbing more 5-star athletes. Mullen has zero excuses for losing key battles with Diaz and he needs to keep distancing himself from Norvell. There is no argument that Florida recruiting looks like crap compared to the Urban Meyer days; however, it is much more balanced than it was in the Muschamp and McDeathThreats days. Idiot fans are already calling for Mullen's head since the Gators are not a top-5 program, so we may not need to wait around for Mullen to continue improving the recruiting since there is no way to keep idiot Gator fans happy. Just keep spreading rumors about this being Mullen's hot seat year and it will happen. If the Gator Nation would calm down I think Mullen can take the Dabo Swinney path to building a program, which means 4-ish years to a conference championship and 8-ish years to a national championship appearance.

For comparison here are the Clemson recruiting rankings and final rankings under Dabo Swinney:
  • 2020 - 3 247Sports/ 3 CFP (3 from Florida, including 5-star RB Demarkcus Bowman of Lakeland, FL; 4-star DT Demonte Capehart of Brandenton, FL; 4-star CB Fred Davis of Jacksonville, FL)
  • 2019- 10/ 2 CFP (7 from Florida, including 4-star WR Frank Ladson of Homestead, FL; 4-star DT Tyler Davis of Apopka, FL)
  • 2018 - 7/ 1 CFP (2 from Florida, including SDE Xavier Thomas of Bradenton, FL plus 5-star QB Trevor Lawrence of Cartersville, GA)
  • 2017 - 16/ 4 CFP (1 from Florida, 3-star OT Blake Vinson of Citra, FL)
  • 2016 - 11/ 1 CFP (3 from Florida, including 4-star CB Trayvon Mullen of Pompano Beach, FL; 4-star ILB Shaq Smith of Bradenton, FL)
  • 2015 - 9/ 2 CFP (5 from Florida, including 5-star WR Deon Cain of Tampa, FL; 4-star ATH Ray-Ray McCloud of Tampa, FL; 4-star OT Jake Fruhmorgen of Tampa, FL)
  • 2014 - 16/ 15 (2 from Florida, including 4-star DT QB Deshaun Watson of Gainesville, FL)
  • 2013 - 15/7 (4 from Florida, including 5-star RB Mackensie Alexander of Immokalee, FL)
  • 2012 - 20/ 9 (1 from Florida, 4-star S Travis Blanks of Tallahassee, FL)
  • 2011 - 10/ 22 (4 from Florida, including 5-star OLB Tony Steward of St. Augustine, FL and 5-star RB Sammy Watkins of Fort Myers, FL)
  • 2010 - 27/ NR (1 from Florida)
  • 2009 - 36/ 24 (0 from Florida)
  • 2008 - 9/ NR (10 from Florida)
There is a strong correlation between Dabo Swinney's recruiting of the Sunshine State and Clemson's success in recruiting and on the field. Not shown in the 2018-present recruiting are the recruiting battles that Mullen has been winning against Swinney and Smart in key Peach State high schools where the Gators recruited Emory Jones, Rashad Torrence, Kamar Wilcoxson, Ty'Ron Hopper, and Chief Borders under Dan Mullen--when there were only a couple Peach State athletes on the roster prior to the current coaching staff. What this tells me is that under Muschamp and McDeathThreats the Gators lost 8 years of recruiting battles in the Sunshine State, but if we give Mullen the same amount of rope that Clemson gave Dabo Swinney I think the Gators will be back on top of recruiting. I am a bit alarmed at Mullen losing recruiting battles against Manny Diaz, but then again I understand why Mullen valued Diaz as one of his assistants and lead recruiters at Mississippi State. I will begin to worry like the rest of the impatient Gator fans if Mullen's recruiting takes a step back. Here is how the Gators have recruited in the past few years:
  • 2021 - 13/ TBD (14 from Florida, including 1 5-star, 1 4-star of 6 total)
  • 2020 - 9/ 12 (15 from Florida, including 1 5-star, 9 4-star of 16 total)
  • 2019 - 9/ 7 (15 from Florida, including 6 4-star of 13 total)
  • 2018 - 14/ 6 (10 from Florida, including 6 4-star of 13 total)
  • 2017 (Jim McElwain year 3) - 11/ NR (17 from Florida, including 10 4-star of 11 total)
  • 2016 (Jim McElwain year 2) - 12/ 13 (13 from Florida, including 4 4-star of 9 total)
  • 2015 (Jim McElwain year 1) - 21/ 25 (15 from Florida, including 2 5-star, 2 4-star of 2 total)
  • 2014 (Will Muschamp year 4) - 9/ NR (15 from Florida, including 1 5-star from DC; 5 4-star of 8 total; multiples dismissed from team including Gerald Willis, Will Grier, JC Jackson)
  • 2013 (Will Muschamp year 3) - 3/ NR (18 from Florida, including 2 5-star from Florida; 10 4-star of 14 total)
  • 2012 (Will Muschamp year 2) - 3/ 10 (11 from Florida, including 1 5-star of 3 total; 7 4-star of 12 total)
  • 2011 (Will Muschamp year 1) - 11/ NR (14 from Florida, including 1 5-star; 7 4-star of 10 total)
  • 2010 (Urban Meyer year 6) - 1/ NR (16 from Florida, including 1 5-star of 5 total; 10 4-star of 17 total)
In other posts I have detailed not only the quality of the recruits improving under Mullen, but also the offensive/ defensive/ special teams balance, the skillful use of the transfer portal before it was cool, and the regaining of pipelines into key Sunshine State and Peach State high schools. Comparing Mullen's recruiting growth to Swinney while factoring in competition against Diaz, Norvell, and Smart, I would say that the Gators are doing fine in recruiting assuming the 2022 recruiting does not look like 2021 recruiting--or Mullen strikes it rich in the transfer portal again.
You both confirm and ratify my point above—and well-warn the “Gator Faithful” (or “idiot fans”—I can’t argue with that generalization) about their impatience AND premature over-reaction to results thus far and the pace of improvement: These latter concern me as well, obviously—But I am thoroughly behind continued faith and support for our Head Coach: I am not convinced that most of these impatient “idiot Gator fans” truly grasp how far things had deteriorated for almost a decade before Dan got here—since the last season Meyer was here, even before he left, when “The Dazed One” (Addazio) was left with so much influence and responsibility. He was a disaster, of course; soon Meyer was in truth working AGAINST us from an office in our own athletic department, and as for the subsequent procession, well, no point in dwelling on all that here and now.
Suffice it to say we fell far as a “Total Program” during the ensuing years, and it has been a long, hard road back in multiple areas, whose efforts, adjustments and adaptations to new rules and avenues for improvement are only recently really begun showing positive results under Mullens.
Whatever worries and/or concerns we may have, these are NOT to be confused with support for change at the top for now, not in my book.
I’m still excited to see what our Head Coach can eventually accomplish here. I’m with you: For now, I still thoroughly support giving him the time and room he needs to see that through.
 

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