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Recruiting Update: Summer 2022 Edition

Escambia94

Aerospace Cubicle Engineer (ACE)
Moderator
***NOTICE: Original thread has been modified to focus the discussion.***

As of May 2022 the Gators class of 2023 is ranked at #40. The Gators have 7 commits:

  • Isaiah Nixon Lakewood (Saint Petersburg, FL) EDGE 6-4 / 215 0.9224
  • Aaron Gates Trinity Christian School (Sharpsburg, GA) ATH 6-0 / 180 0.9014
  • Knijeah Harris IMG Academy (Bradenton, FL) IOL 6-3 / 335 0.8916
  • Creed Whittemore F. W. Buchholz (Gainesville, FL) ATH 5-11.5 / 175 0.8835
  • Bryce Lovett Rockledge (ROCKLEDGE, FL) OT 6-5 / 330 0.8767
  • Tyree Patterson Eustis (Eustis, FL) WR 6-2 / 175 0.8689
  • Tommy Kinsler Trinity Catholic (Ocala, FL) OT 6-6 / 330 0.8614

Here are the high choice prospects to follow:
  • Francis Mauigoa IMG Academy (Bradenton, FL) OT 6-5 / 330 0.9954
  • Duce Robinson Pinnacle (Phoenix, AZ) TE 6-6 / 225 0.9902
  • Samson Okunlola Thayer Academy (Braintree, MA) OT 6-5 / 305 0.9887
  • Samuel M'Pemba IMG Academy (Bradenton, FL) EDGE 6-3.5 / 240 0.9864
  • Johntay Cook II DeSoto (DeSoto, TX) WR 6-0 / 170 0.9839
  • Troy Bowles Jesuit (Tampa, FL) LB 6-1 / 205 0.9797
  • Jaden Rashada Pittsburg (Pittsburg, CA) QB 6-4 / 185 0.9796
  • Damon Wilson Venice (Venice, FL) EDGE 6-4 / 230 0.9783
  • Monroe Freeling Oceanside Collegiate Academy (Mount Pleasant, SC) OT 6-7 / 283 0.9699
  • Kelby Collins Gardendale (Gardendale, AL) DL 6-5 / 280 0.9685
  • Raylen Wilson Lincoln (Tallahassee, FL) LB 6-2 / 213 0.9645 -- Michigan
  • Keldric Faulk Highland Home (Highland Home, AL) DL 6-5 / 240 0.9604
  • John Walker Osceola (Kissimmee, FL) DL 6-3 / 310 0.9537
  • Lucas Simmons Clearwater Academy International (Clearwater, FL) OT 6-7 / 300 0.9504
  • Zavion Hardy Tattnall Square Academy (Macon, GA) DL 6-5 / 262 0.9480
  • Aidan Mizell Boone (Orlando, FL) WR 6-2 / 180 0.9471
  • Will Norman IMG Academy (Bradenton, FL) DL 6-5 / 290 0.9468
  • Raul Aguirre Whitewater (Fayetteville, GA) LB 6-2 / 220 0.9454
  • Roderick Kearney Orange Park (Orange Park, FL) IOL 6-4 / 300 0.9425
  • Eugene Wilson III Gaither (Tampa, FL) ATH 5-11 / 165 0.9365
  • Tyler Williams Lakeland (Lakeland, FL) WR 6-3 / 180 0.9354
  • T.J. Searcy Upson-Lee (Thomaston, GA) DL 6-5 / 250 0.9344
  • Xzavier McLeod Camden (Camden, SC) DL 6-4 / 324 0.9323
  • Sharif Denson Bartram Trail (Jacksonville, FL) CB 5-11.5 / 170 0.9204
  • Jordan Castell West Orange (Winter Garden, FL) S 6-2 / 195 0.9187
  • Grayson Howard Andrew Jackson (Jacksonville, FL) LB 6-3 / 223 0.9119
  • Ja'Keem Jackson Osceola (Kissimmee, FL) CB 6-1 / 180 0.9117
  • Kamran James Olympia (Orlando, FL) DL 6-6.5 / 265 0.9115
  • Gavin Hill F. W. Buchholz (Gainesville, FL) DL 6-3 / 255 0.9108
  • Kayden McDonald North Gwinnett (Suwanee, GA) DL 6-3 / 310 0.9045
  • Andy Jean Northwestern (Miami, FL) WR 6-1 / 180 0.9037
  • Justin Jefferson Pearl River C.C. (Poplarville, MS) LB 6-1 / 215

Here are the top targets to follow:
  • Cormani McClain Lakeland (Lakeland, FL) CB 6-1.5 / 165 0.9992
  • Keon Keeley Berkeley Prep (Tampa, FL) EDGE 6-6 / 242 0.9955 - NOTRE DAME
  • Tony Mitchell Thompson (Alabaster, AL) CB 6-2 / 180 0.9903
  • Richard Young Lehigh Senior (Lehigh Acres, FL) RB 5-11 / 200 0.9874
  • Joenel Aguero St. John's Prep (Danvers, MA) S 6-0 / 195 0.9840
  • Cedric Baxter Jr. Edgewater (Orlando, FL) RB 6-1 / 215 0.9791
  • Malik Bryant Jones (Orlando, FL) LB 6-2 / 235 0.9778
  • Derrick LeBlanc Osceola (Kissimmee, FL) DL 6-4 / 270 0.9634
  • Jordan Hall Westside (Jacksonville, FL) DL 6-4.5 / 300 0.9337
  • Treyaun Webb Trinity Christian Academy (Jacksonville, FL) RB 6-1 / 205 0.9324
  • Payton Kirkland Dr. Phillips (Orlando, FL) OT 6-6 / 345 0.9100
 
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DRU2012

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In honor of the Gators celebrating 116 years of football, here are the top 100 Gators in history based on being in the Ring of Honor, UF/ NCAA/ NFL Hall of Fame, national awards, national championships, conference awards, conference championships, team awards, and historical significance.
  1. Steve Spurrier (Ring of Honor, Gator Great, All American, Heisman '66, 83% W-L record (122-27-1), SEC POY '66, Florida-Georgia HOF, UPI POY '66, Fergie Ferguson Award)
  2. Tim Tebow (All American, All SEC, Heisman '07 (first sophomore), AP POY '07, Davey O'Brien Award '07, Maxwell Award '07 '08, SEC POY '08, QB of the Year '07, Manning Award '08, Draddy Trophy '09, SEC records: (tied) most TDs/ game (7), 55 TDs/season (33 passing, 22 rushing), 145 career TDs, 12232 career yards, 4181 yards in one season, 88.6% completion average in a game, 170.79 season passer efficiency, 23 rushing TDs in one season, future Gator Great)
  3. Danny Wuerffel (Ring of Honor, Gator Great, Heisman Trophy '96, Draddy Trophy '96, Johnny Unitas Award '96, Maxwell Award '96, Walter Camp Award '96, QB of the Year Award '96, Florida-Georgia HOF, Florida Gators Team of the Century, NCAA record passer rating, NCAA record TD%, SEC record 7.1 YPP, 144 TD passes)
  4. Emmitt Smith (Ring of Honor, Gator Great, Unanimous All American, All SEC, SEC MVP '89, 58 Gator records, Gator rushing leader*, NFL Hall of Fame)
  5. Jack Youngblood (Ring of Honor, Gator Great, All American, All SEC, Florida-Georgia HOF, Gator record 14 sacks '69, NCAA Lineman of the Year '70)
  6. Wilber Marshall (Ring of Honor, Gator Great, Consensus All American, All SEC, Florida-Georgia HOF, Defensive POY '83, 1st team ... ETC (and onward)

Loved this list--yes, as a "trip down memory lane", but MORE for what it's lower levels suggest about how rich (in talent AND potential "future mythology") our story really IS...
NOW:
I was torn on where to include the only other "ongoing news" that has continued to goad us during this admittedly "annual slow period" for football news...
I'm referring of course to the whole "Arch Manning/"Who will GET him??!" narrative.
I'm going to make my own take/observation/conclusion SHORT AND SWEET:
We will NOT end up getting Arch Manning.
OK?
Like all of you, I have been somewhat concerned, in spite of my rational, controlled caution concerning our seemingly less-than-dazzling performance thus far on the 2022 recruiting trail--ESPECIALLY regarding our limited progress even in the much anticipated "transfer portal".
I don't wanna get panicky about all this (as per so many out there who are freaking OUT at our so far many unfilled needs, all the more highlighted it would seem by a certain amount of direct competition (and success!) on the part of both in-state and/or SEC-programs.
I'm not gonna say "DON'T WORRY!" (there HAVE been a steady, well, "trickle", if not FLOW of quiet talent added in recent days, after all)--we are going to have to start going after, often as not WINNING these recruiting battles--but I have from the start felt that THIS "Manning-reach" was just that: a headline-grabbing move to keep us in "the game": Everyone, especially top-flight prep guys need to get real USED to the idea that the Gators are in the mix--if you're good, you'll be hearing from us...We need once again, as in the "old days" (over a decade ago now--lets face it, back when Meyer and staff were in charge of such things, then before that the Spurrier days) be an assumed "sign of early youth rising talent" that UF be one of the programs mentioned as one "drawing interest from" come Fall when a young prep player's name came up.
The most important part of all this may then BE merely our return to that inclusion; finding ourselves apparently now IN that "buzz"...
No matter how serious our chances are of actually landing him, then, we may finally be returning to that short list of programs you, as a talented young prospect, WANT to have contacting you, the earlier the better in this world of N.I.L. and "collectives".
Just don't let the hype of a "late-in-the-game" inclusion of our new staff's entry (and now inclusion) in the very public race become an emotional "make or break" situation--especially dangerous now, with such a talented and high-profile potential recruit--and after so MANY apparent earlier "misses" for this new regime!
We have GOT to look at all this in terms of "'the LONG view": THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING.
Remember, this is Napier and his COMPLETE NEW STAFF'S first year! He just took over in January...almost completely cleaned house and STARTED OVER here. You just cannot expect that much even by NEXT season, let alone THIS one! The general attitude (AND "reactions thus far" to most such news--including prospective recruiting targets choosing to go elsewhere) has been beyond disappointment--even CONDEMNING the past has and new staff for somehow"dropping the ball", broken promises somehow a part of a "pattern of let downs", bad signs.
I mean, give it at least a YEAR or two, people!
You look at our SEC schedule, game by game, and tell me how we can realistically expect to go over .500 this first season under Napier & Co.
We do any BETTER than that and I hope I will have the patience and fairness to give credit--And look forward with optimism.
 
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DRU2012

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We seem to be picking up prospects--with the seeming promise of "more on the way"...
Guess I'm Iike everyone else, still waiting, HOPING something exciting is announced.
 

DRU2012

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We are REALLY heading into "the Dog Days" now, right? And at the same time, I can't say I'm real excited at our chances for the coming season, no matter WHAT. No, I fear 2023 is likely to be our real "hope on the horizon". Wishin', hopin' I'm wrong--but that's my current self-protective "fallback position". Sorry, friends. Don't mean to be a "buzzkill", but these last "few" (Ten? Eleven???) seasons have forced a certain "realistic caution" upon me.
I LIKE our new Coach--but by now my judgment is definitely open to scrutiny in such matters.
If ever there were a "Wait'n'See" situation, this is IT.
 

Escambia94

Aerospace Cubicle Engineer (ACE)
Moderator
We are REALLY heading into "the Dog Days" now, right? And at the same time, I can't say I'm real excited at our chances for the coming season, no matter WHAT. No, I fear 2023 is likely to be our real "hope on the horizon". Wishin', hopin' I'm wrong--but that's my current self-protective "fallback position". Sorry, friends. Don't mean to be a "buzzkill", but these last "few" (Ten? Eleven???) seasons have forced a certain "realistic caution" upon me.
I LIKE our new Coach--but by now my judgment is definitely open to scrutiny in such matters.
If ever there were a "Wait'n'See" situation, this is IT.

The next two seasons really are pivotal for football and amateur athletics across the board. The NIL + Transfer Portal Era is really taking off in 2022, and Florida will have all new coaches across multiple sports, several new facilities, and lots of new donors. “Wait and See” is the approach not just for Billy Napier, but the entire Florida athletics program. Napier is only getting extra scrutiny because Gators fans focus on Stricklin and Foley whiffing on the last decade of football coaching hires. The story is a lot bigger than football.
 

Escambia94

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On the topic of Arch Manning, all this proves is that talented athletes have always looked at UF as a top destination. I will divert attention away from a 17-year old kid and look at this from the lens of UF sports at large. This goes back into the pre-Spurrier days when even UF was called a sleeping giant by other notable experts, including Bear Bryant. Since we are football fans first we give Spurrier credit for waking the sleeping giant, but that credit should be shared with Jeremy Foley. Over half of UF’s national championship teams occurred since 2006. Athletics Director Bill Carr (1979-1986) oversaw 7 national championships. Foley oversaw over 30 championships. Stricklin has overseen a handful with coaches hired by Foley. We care about all the sports because they all share success. Kevin O’Sullivan remains as the only major coach from the Foley era. This new era of NIL + Transfer Portal + legalized bagmen is an opportunity for Florida to not just wake up, but to assert itself as a top-tier program…with a top-10 football program once again.

Baseball - 2017
Men's Basketball - 2006, 2007
Football - 1996, 2006, 2008
Men's Golf - 1968, 1973, 1993, 2001
Women's Golf - 1985, 1986
Gymnastics - 1982 (AIAW), 2013, 2014, 2015
Soccer - 1998
Softball - 2014, 2015
Men's Swimming - 1983, 1984
Women's Swimming - 1979 (AIAW), 1982, 2010
Men's Tennis - 2021, 2022
Women's Tennis - 1992, 1996, 1998, 2003, 2011, 2012, 2017
Men's Indoor Track & Field - 2010, 2011, 2012, 2018, 2019
Men's Outdoor Track & Field - 2012, 2013, 2016, 2017, 2022
Women's Indoor Track & Field - 1992
Women’s Outdoor Track & Field - 2022
 
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DRU2012

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On the topic of Arch Manning, all this proves is that talented athletes have always looked at UF as a top destination. I will divert attention away from a 17-year old kid and look at this from the lens of UF sports at large. This goes back into the pre-Spurrier days when even UF was called a sleeping giant by other notable experts, including Bear Bryant. Since we are football fans first we give Spurrier credit for waking the sleeping giant, but that credit should be shared with Jeremy Foley. Over half of UF’s national championship teams occurred since 2006. Athletics Director Bill Carr (1979-1986) oversaw 7 national championships. Foley oversaw over 30 championships. Stricklin has overseen a handful with coaches hired by Foley. We care about all the sports because they all share success. Kevin O’Sullivan remains as the only major coach from the Foley era. This new era of NIL + Transfer Portal + legalized bagmen is an opportunity for Florida to not just wake up, but to assert itself as a top-tier program…with a top-10 football program once again.

Baseball - 2017
Men's Basketball - 2006, 2007
Football - 1996, 2006, 2008
Men's Golf - 1968, 1973, 1993, 2001
Women's Golf - 1985, 1986
Gymnastics - 1982 (AIAW), 2013, 2014, 2015
Soccer - 1998
Softball - 2014, 2015
Men's Swimming - 1983, 1984
Women's Swimming - 1979 (AIAW), 1982, 2010
Men's Tennis - 2021
Women's Tennis - 1992, 1996, 1998, 2003, 2011, 2012, 2017
Men's Indoor Track & Field - 2010, 2011, 2012, 2018, 2019
Men's Outdoor Track & Field - 2012, 2013, 2016, 2017
Women's Indoor Track & Field - 1992
Excellent, penetratimg analysis all around, E.
But given all of it (past, present and likely future--as in actual schedule ahead for 2022), I remain "cautiously guarded" with respect to our likely perfomance in the coming season...
It may feel "disappointing, even 'ugly' " along the way. but we should probably feel "OK" if we hit 8-and-4 and a "fairly decent Bowl invite" after hopefully "upsetting" a relatively resurgent 'Noles team at their place to end our reg season this time...and if it DOES fall that way, I'll go a step further and have us on track to REALLY continue our pending RESURGENCE in truly dramatic fashion NEXT year.
Yes: a big jump forward in recruiting and a true return to the top in dramatic fashion (in every measurable public way) for 2023!!!
 

DRU2012

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Meanwhile, with the latest back'n'forth vis-a-vis Jayden Rashada's imminent decision, I am at a loss as to our real progress in returning to recruiting prominence. We all pretty well accept the propositions that (1) We had fallen pretty far behind UGA and the Tide (or, to put it another way, Saban and Kirby had been beating our pads off out there since Urban moved on, with Dan, perhaps the best "x's and o's" COACH we've had in the interim ironically maybe being the least energetic in that regard; he sure seemed to show the least stress or interest in it!), and (2) Without at LEAST an EQUAL focus and success in the "Jimmy's and Joe's" out there being gathered in equal measure to work and build with in the future, that "future" would tend to be illusory.
Sure enough, that turned out to be the case with Dan Mullen at the helm.
So. Now comes word that Jaylen Rashada has "put off his decision" regarding whom he would come to play for. The last clear 5-Star among the next group of eligible QBs, with AR15 a likely "leave early for the NFL" if he is as successful here within the next season or two as we hope (and many expect) him to be, Billy and staff are pretty well counting on building a growing offensive juggernaut around this kid. If he tilts to Miami, as is rumored, we're left scrambling, hoping for confusion and the transfer portal to bail us out later.
I do NOT like getting caught up in these hand-wringing projections. But all this smacks too much of the kind of storyline we've gotten all too used to the last dozen years or so.
I was really hoping that among the changes THIS Coach heralded would be a more determined and steady-handed recruiting regimen.
I never saw the Manning kid as a likely "get"--it was enough that we were among the "contenders" and in the running, as it SHOULD be with a supposed "top program, in the spotlight".
But it was PAST time for us to be consistently grabbing our share of the highest-rated kids out there at every position--ESPECIALLY at QB and such.
OK, OK...It's just a "postponement of decision".
But I don't like the accompanying background discussion surrounding it. Maybe I'm just "gun-shy" after more than a decade of "The same old story". Of all the tales that need turning around, that one is MOST in need of being changed!
 

Escambia94

Aerospace Cubicle Engineer (ACE)
Moderator
The recruiting landscape is too different this year compared to previous years to draw fair comparisons. LSU, Alabama, Texas A&M, and Florida are all ranked between 35 and 50 for the class of 2023. Georgia is the only SEC powerhouse ranked in the top 10. My guess is that some teams are going to wait until the the last minute to out-bid others for the best recruits.
 

DRU2012

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The recruiting landscape is too different this year compared to previous years to draw fair comparisons. LSU, Alabama, Texas A&M, and Florida are all ranked between 35 and 50 for the class of 2023. Georgia is the only SEC powerhouse ranked in the top 10. My guess is that some teams are going to wait until the the last minute to out-bid others for the best recruits.
You're probably right. But let's face it:
We are COUNTING on our new Coach's energy and growing rep as a "communicator" AND energetic, even CHARISMATIC leader one-on-one out there to yield certain benefits--above all a return to consistent "buzz" come each NSD, etc.
We have GOT to find ourselves in the discussion of "top 3-to-5 best hauls" each year once more--or we'll find ourselves in this by now all-too-familiar discussion AGAIN in a coupla years.
It's a bad habit--and if we don't break it soon, it will grow all the more difficult to escape:
More and more we'll be "just like everyone else";
outside of Gator Nation, general perception has us almost there already...
I don't CARE how "everyone ELSE" sees us, but mediocrity is a habit unto itself. The best thing a out THIS Coach may well BE his seeming "aura" of "apartness"--a kind of "promise of pending success" that surrounds him. I think he chose US as the place where that "certain something" is likeliest to continue. Here's hoping he, and WE, were/ARE RIGHT!!!
 

Escambia94

Aerospace Cubicle Engineer (ACE)
Moderator
You're probably right. But let's face it:
We are COUNTING on our new Coach's energy and growing rep as a "communicator" AND energetic, even CHARISMATIC leader one-on-one out there to yield certain benefits--above all a return to consistent "buzz" come each NSD, etc.
We have GOT to find ourselves in the discussion of "top 3-to-5 best hauls" each year once more--or we'll find ourselves in this by now all-too-familiar discussion AGAIN in a coupla years.
It's a bad habit--and if we don't break it soon, it will grow all the more difficult to escape:
More and more we'll be "just like everyone else";
outside of Gator Nation, general perception has us almost there already...
I don't CARE how "everyone ELSE" sees us, but mediocrity is a habit unto itself. The best thing a out THIS Coach may well BE his seeming "aura" of "apartness"--a kind of "promise of pending success" that surrounds him. I think he chose US as the place where that "certain something" is likeliest to continue. Here's hoping he, and WE, were/ARE RIGHT!!!
I hear you. The entire Gator Nation is fed up with mediocrity, but we need to give Napier a longer leash at first simply because the grading criteria are so different now. Before the NIL & Transfer Portal Era (NILTPE) it was rather easy to assess a new coach’s potential before coaching a live game just by watching the recruiting rankings on National Signing Day (NSD), and later with Early Signing Day (ESD) plus NSD. With only two variables to worry about (ESD + NSD) it became easy to project future success and assess current/ past performance without looking at win-loss records. With the transfer portal we learned to assess recruits multiple times throughout the season but those timelines did not change much with the majority of transfers occurring around ESD, NSD, or over the summer so the coaches could manage the 85-man roster with 25 counters per year. Now we have NIL and we no longer have a limitation on yearly counters to get to 85 scholarships. Athletes can now shop around looking for the best NIL deal and they can be flipped at any time by a better deal. The ESD and NSD milestones are less important now that any player can transfer at any time without penalty and can wait until the last minute to make decisions based on NIL deals.

The reason we must give Napier a longer leash is that he seems to understand all these nuanced differences and has a modernized approach to recruiting. Under the old rules the secret to recruiting was simply winning games, not getting caught giving money under the table, and managing a roster of 85 with 25 counters per class. Under the new rules that is not enough. Recruiting is not just about winning games, but maximizing talent acquisition using marketing, social media, cash-in-hand, non-cash benefits, et cetera—sometimes irrespective of win-loss record and national championship implications.
 
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DRU2012

Super Moderator
Staff member
Super Moderator
I hear you. The entire Gator Nation is fed up with mediocrity, but we need to give Napier a longer leash at first simply because the grading criteria are so different now. Before the NIL & Transfer Portal Era (NILTPE) it was rather easy to assess a new coach’s potential before coaching a live game just by watching the recruiting rankings on National Signing Day (NSD), and later with Early Signing Day (ESD) plus NSD. With only two variables to worry about (ESD + NSD) it became easy to project future success and assess current/ past performance without looking at win-loss records. With the transfer portal we learned to assess recruits multiple times throughout the season but those timelines did not change much with the majority of transfers occurring around ESD, NSD, or over the summer so the coaches could manage the 85-man roster with 25 counters per year. Now we have NIL and we no longer have a limitation on yearly counters to get to 85 scholarships. Athletes can now shop around looking for the best NIL deal and they can be flipped at any time by a better deal. The ESD and NSD milestones are less important now that any player can transfer at any time without penalty and can wait until the last minute to make decisions based on NIL deals.

The reason we must give Napier a longer leash is that he seems to understand all these nuanced differences and has a modernized approach to recruiting. Under the old rules the secret to recruiting was simply winning games, not getting caught giving money under the table, and managing a roster of 85 with 25 counters per class. Under the new rules that is not enough. Recruiting is not just about winning games, but maximizing talent acquisition using marketing, social media, cash-in-hand, non-cash benefits, et cetera—sometimes irrespective of win-loss record and national championship implications.
Yes.
And in that spirit of placing "blame for our frustrations" in the right place and context, let's focus our attention and respond for example on the latest growing "mess" with this Rashada recruitment...
To wit, I am getting the strong feeling that this is going off the rails--and all the signs are that any "blame" should settle on the shoulders of the kid himself: I am beginning to get the distinct impression of a bit of a headcase.
He could still undo (or at least put a stop to) the growing damage by dispensing with the silly "Look at ME!" games and just committing to us as he'd been dancing towards and around of late.
He keeps this up, though, and I PERSONALLY won't CARE if he goes to Miami instead.
It just shouldn't ever BE down to a choice between them or us. Historically and, more than ever, PRESENTLY, it is a question of TWO DIFFERENT REALITIES. And I don't like getting "played" OR "played with" in connection with such a decision.
So yeah, it'll be a pain if it does go in the toilet, as it now seems to be headed--BUT I'm starting to think we might be dodging a bullet, if so.
Perhaps this kind of a "It's all about ME--I'm a PREP STAR!" preoccupation is more a "Miami fit"...(and possibly that's why they haven't BEEN and--aren't likely GOING anywhere--in a long time.)
 

DRU2012

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No, in the "quality vs quantity" pursuits ahead, we need to somehow figure deeper, more subtle factors than solely "how many STARS" in our evaluations and eventual choices.
Mind you, these are essentially still KIDS at this point; we cannot expect or restrict ourselves to some theoretical "level of poise and sophistication already-achieved". Presumably THAT will be the work of this new and promisingly talented staff: to build and develop a diverse group into a TEAM--an unstoppable force, working together towards its shared future.
It has been a long time since we have had any real sense of "destiny" in that regard. For now, at this moment the best we can perhaps anticipate is that the pending 2022 season brings us precisely that promise once again.
That is the minimal "First Step" here:
Given everything that has transpired in the last dozen years or so, our recent difficulties, the distance fallen and still to be made good, NOW is the time to find hope and promise ONCE MORE!
With a typically difficult SEC schedule, that new staff and what is so far at best a "pretty good but unproven" collection of coaches and players with which to deal with it (even Game 1 isn't any kind of "warm up": Utah will be a challenging opening test, to say the least!).
So perhaps our record will not, cannot be the sole measure of our progress yet. I suspect that 8 or more wins would be a proud accomplishment. In fact, even 7 wins, depending on how we arrived there, might, with the first of what comes to be regarded as our annual position at the top of the recruiting rankings, be regarded as a promise of what is "soon-to-come".
How we evaluate whatever actually ensues will depend to a great degree of course on the manner in which it all occurs.
We KNOW what we've seen over recent years: game-after-game the multiple missed tackles, foolish ill-timed penalties, the unworthy team-letdowns...THROWN SHOES for God's sake!
I think we'll know real CHANGE if/when we see it.
 

Escambia94

Aerospace Cubicle Engineer (ACE)
Moderator
Which 5-star athletes are still available?
  • Jalen Brown Gulliver Prep (Miami, FL) WR 6-1 / 170 0.9857
  • Derek Williams Westgate (New Iberia, LA) S 6-2 / 185 0.9835
  • David Hicks Paetow (Katy, TX) DL 6-4 / 270 0.9965
  • Nyckoles Harbor Archbishop Carroll (Washington, DC) ATH 6-5 / 225 0.9956
 

Escambia94

Aerospace Cubicle Engineer (ACE)
Moderator
The following Florida Gator targets or Florida high school athletes are rumored to be headed anywhere but UF (as of Friday 2022-06-24):

Miami leans
CB Cormani McClain
QB Jaden Rashada (Pittsburgh, CA) - Miami 2022-06-26

Ohio State leans
LB Troy Bowles
DE Damon Wilson
CB Sharif Denson - Florida 2022-06-26
DT John Walker
WR Carnell Tate
WR Brandon Inniss

Alabama leans
DE Sam M’Pemba
WR Hykeem Williams
OT Francis Mauigoa
OLB Malik Bryant
RB Richard Young

Notre Dame commitment
DE Keon Keeley
 
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DRU2012

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Staff member
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The following Florida Gator targets or Florida high school athletes are rumored to be headed anywhere but UF:

Miami leans
CB Cormani McClain
QB Jaden Rashada (Pittsburgh, CA)

Ohio State leans
LB Troy Bowles
DE Damon Wilson
CB Sharif Denson
DT John Walker
WR Carnell Tate
WR Brandon Inniss

Alabama leans
DE Sam M’Pemba
WR Hykeem Williams
OT Francis Mauigoa
OLB Malik Bryant
RB Richard Young

Notre Dame commitment
DE Keon Keeley
What are you implying here?
Is there really some "anywhere but Florida" trend among higher profile Fla prep recruits?
As things stand, I (and not a few others) suspect some "gray-area" (at BEST) hanky-panky regarding that last-moment Rashad flip...but between the way those monied thugs down there in South Fla traditionally operate (been doing it a long time, and are GOOD at it) and the way N.I.L. is clouding the issues currently, that one really didn't shock me by the time it actually materialized.
No matter what, this sudden sea change in the former enthusiasm for Billy Napier's hiring to the mounting derision is NUTS.
It doesn't speak well of us. I believe it is mostly a vocal minority of ignorant, paranoid loud mouths--but it is also the way of the world we all now live in.
"Build 'em up to tear 'em down!"
"Whatta ya done for us LATELY?!"...Never MIND that he just got here, he hasn't even fielded a team for his first GAME yet--and oh by the way:
He inherited a complete MESS from Mullens, whose background INattention-to-detail was starting to bear evil fruit by HIS third season, if you look back with clear eyes, and it was gonna take some time to UNDO and rebuild under the BEST of circumstances.
We'll be fortunate to go over .500 in 2022, as I've previously discussed.
With the growing crescendo of mob lynching mentality already, I can only hope the true "powers-that-be" in the Gator braintrust, the folks who in truth HIRED the man, steadfastly ignore all that and back him regardless of likely mediocre results as far as the eventual record this first season.
I believe we DID hire the right guy.
He's gonna be a good fit here...but it won't be "overnight", not this time. Let's give him the time and room to build, and "build RIGHT".
I KNOW this is an era of "We want what we want and we want it NOW!"...He must know that it can't be a "5 year plan"; It doesn't work that way anymore, if it ever did.
But if we want a "winner" that is there perennially, like Alabama and a handful of others now (either already in the SEC. or in most "promising possible future" cases about to be...and a few others now trying to pattern and maneuver themselves into somehow eventually competing at or near that level of consistency), this quick-fix, short-attention-span, latest flash approach hasn't and WON'T WORK.
Let's be smart. Look for signs of our health and growth AS A TEAM. The rest will come soon enough, if we are on track there.
 

Escambia94

Aerospace Cubicle Engineer (ACE)
Moderator
What are you implying here?
Is there really some "anywhere but Florida" trend among higher profile Fla prep recruits?
As things stand, I (and not a few others) suspect some "gray-area" (at BEST) hanky-panky regarding that last-moment Rashad flip...but between the way those monied thugs down there in South Fla traditionally operate (been doing it a long time, and are GOOD at it) and the way N.I.L. is clouding the issues currently, that one really didn't shock me by the time it actually materialized.
No matter what, this sudden sea change in the former enthusiasm for Billy Napier's hiring to the mounting derision is NUTS.
It doesn't speak well of us. I believe it is mostly a vocal minority of ignorant, paranoid loud mouths--but it is also the way of the world we all now live in.
"Build 'em up to tear 'em down!"
"Whatta ya done for us LATELY?!"...Never MIND that he just got here, he hasn't even fielded a team for his first GAME yet--and oh by the way:
He inherited a complete MESS from Mullens, whose background INattention-to-detail was starting to bear evil fruit by HIS third season, if you look back with clear eyes, and it was gonna take some time to UNDO and rebuild under the BEST of circumstances.
We'll be fortunate to go over .500 in 2022, as I've previously discussed.
With the growing crescendo of mob lynching mentality already, I can only hope the true "powers-that-be" in the Gator braintrust, the folks who in truth HIRED the man, steadfastly ignore all that and back him regardless of likely mediocre results as far as the eventual record this first season.
I believe we DID hire the right guy.
He's gonna be a good fit here...but it won't be "overnight", not this time. Let's give him the time and room to build, and "build RIGHT".
I KNOW this is an era of "We want what we want and we want it NOW!"...He must know that it can't be a "5 year plan"; It doesn't work that way anymore, if it ever did.
But if we want a "winner" that is there perennially, like Alabama and a handful of others now (either already in the SEC. or in most "promising possible future" cases about to be...and a few others now trying to pattern and maneuver themselves into somehow eventually competing at or near that level of consistency), this quick-fix, short-attention-span, latest flash approach hasn't and WON'T WORK.
Let's be smart. Look for signs of our health and growth AS A TEAM. The rest will come soon enough, if we are on track there.
I am just reporting the updates.
 

DRU2012

Super Moderator
Staff member
Super Moderator
@Escambia94,
...And honestly--I'm NOT challenging you:
Indeed, my question is an honest, open one bereft of "attitude", in this case...but you DID use the phrase, "anywhere but Florida" to describe some seemingly implied trend in attitude spreading among higher-ranked upper-classmen among Florida prep recruits.
I trust you, E--and if there IS such a "trend" now I wanna know, and maybe begin to look into WHY.
Meanwhile, Gator Haters in SEC capitals, and especially in our OWN state, are predictably swarming at the smell of blood-in-the-water now.
Normally I don't CARE what a useless troll of a hater like Uncle Lou is peddling,--no, CROWING LOUDLY about. But at such moments I hate to see guys like him given more potential fuel.
As I said, in fact focused on in my comments here, my immediate concern presently though is the degree to which it appears the home folks are already "eating our own"--tearing down the new coach, the same guy they were cheering at his announcement, arrival and first glowing reviews.
Again: Given what a mess we had to know our program was by the time Mullens was given the gate, don't y'all think maybe we need to give the new guy a SEASON OR TWO AT MINIMUM before even "fairly evaluating" his progress, let alone drawing any real conclusions--not to mention eviscerating the man's plans or progress??!
I SWEAR: I know we tend to be a panicky, impatient lot, more than ever prone to over-reactionary lack-of-perspective...but THIS is ridiculous. If this is who we are now, we may well be condemned to a continued future of "Short Attention Span Theatre": a long stretch of impulsively hiring, then soon knee-jerk FIRING the latest "hot topic guy" (like we AND places like Texas had been doing, to little demonstrable progress over the last decade or more).
I can't say that Billy Napier was at the top of MY list of "preferred potential top cboices" as Coach Dan's work here deteriorated into an obvious, full on "Dumpster Fire". Stunning how fast the overall "confidence level" leaked away, and yet how fast our fortunes felt "reinflated" with Billy's naming and arrival.
But now somehow so many are like lemmings flocking together and headed for the ship-rails?
Is that who we are now? Sad. Unbecoming.
Even hopeless, maybe.
And we are NOT likely going to be dramatically turning all those heads, given the pending competition come the "early going", in other words given our projected 2022 schedule--in or OUT of the SEC, I'm afraid.
Hope I'm wrong--but as we get closer to game 1 and focus on Utah, for example, you'll see what I mean.
Sigh...This was ALWAYS gonna require patience, faith and HOPE, I think. Y'all figure we can manage some perspective and attention-to-detail in the coming weeks and months?
(No. Me neither...not really--that HASN'T been a strength here in a very long time).
 

DRU2012

Super Moderator
Staff member
Super Moderator
(...and by the way:
There's ALREADY a growing negative undercurrent regarding the specifics of Rashada's late flip, the "taylored manipulation" of his N.I.L. "deal" (exactly what many feared about its development, especially in the hands of "certain historically underhanded" programs), and the specific "backroom wheeling/dealing" at Miami once again. This could well end up being a case of a kid eventually bolting early to the NFL, ahead of a growing wave of seedy accusations.
Personally, there's a limit to how far down the "cynical modern road", a la Urban Meyer, I wanna see us compromise ourselves. Our new Coach does NOT appear to BE that kind of guy himself. Tough, but honest. Like Saban. (Be nice if our UF police would go a LITTLE easier on our kids, though...Am I wrong?)
 

Escambia94

Aerospace Cubicle Engineer (ACE)
Moderator
Florida's 2023 recruiting ranking is now #31 with 154.35 points after getting commitments from the following:
DL Isaiah Nixon Edge 6-4 215 92.2422 + 22.24
DL Gavin Hill DL 6-3 255 91.0770
DL CB Sharif Denson CB 5-11.5 170 92.0443

Florida would have been ranked #17 with 175.09 points if they had obtained a commitment from
QB Jaden Rashada QB 6-4 185 97.9645 + 27.96

The top 3 schools are as follows:
1. Ohio State 256.79
2. Texas 255.61
3. Notre Dame 251.59

The top SEC schools and in-state rivals:
6. Georgia 213.89
7. Arkansas 211.68
14. Tennessee 197.57
25. Alabama 165.88
28. Miami 160.97
31. Florida 154.35
38. FSU 141.99

Florida could jump into the top 20 if they land one or more of the following in the 247 Sports top 100:
CB Cormani McClain CB 6-1.5 165 99.9180 +29.92
OT Francis Maulgoa OT 6-5 330 99.5366 + 29.35
LB Malik Bryant B 6-2 235 97.7820 +27,19
OT Monroe Freeling OT 6-7 283 96.9870 + 25.53
DL Kelby Collins DL 6-5 280 96.8482 + 24.32
DL Derrick LeBlanc DL 6-4 270 96.3444 + 22.58
DL Keldric Faulk DL 6-5 240 96.0407 + 20.85
 

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