Getting chomped

What in the wide, wide world of sports is going on with Florida recruiting?  The Gators are the two-time defending SEC East champs, operate in the most talent rich state in the country, and yet, at least by their usual standards, are trailing badly in the recruiting races.

Smart and Georgia have the No. 3 recruiting class for 2017, while Florida lags behind at No. 31. A big reason for the disparity in the teams’ recruiting rankings is how the schools have fared with the top talent in their respective states.

Florida and Georgia each produced three 5-star players in the 2017 recruiting cycle. Only Texas and California produced more 5-star recruits…

Of the top 20 recruits in Florida, the Gators have one commitment, while Alabama, Ohio State, Florida State, Miami and Auburn all have more. The Gators’ highest-rated commit, Carter, is the No. 14 recruit in the state…

To recap, Georgia has commitments from 12 of the top 20 prospects in its state. Florida has one.

It’s a little ironic to me that McElwain is the first Gator head coach in a while who’s not a dick, but still appears to be having trouble closing the deal with a lot of top-flight recruits.

Even more strangely, there’s a lot of weird chatter out there about the program right now.  Andy Staples takes this question…

How safe is Florida head coach Jim McElwain’s job? If the Gators close with a mediocre recruiting class (they currently rank No. 31 in the country), fail to make significant progress on offense and go 7–6, could McElwain get fired in 2017? Yes, McElwain has won the SEC East in each of his first two years, but how much does that count for given the state of the division?

… and argues that it has a certain credence.  I’d like to believe that it’s nuts for a fan base to put more insistence on recruiting rankings than in division titles, but, after all, this is the SEC we’re talking about, PAWWWLLL.

Meanwhile, there’s a juicy rumor that’s been circulating on more message boards than I can count that a Florida high school has banned a Gator coach from campus and that a recruit has film of that coach offering him money.  The word bullshit comes quickly to mind here, but that wouldn’t stop this kind of stuff from making the rounds on the recruiting trail.  And if it is, then you know McElwain and his staff are having to waste time denying it.  If you’re recruiting against Florida, that’s half the battle won right there.

Now it ain’t close to being over.  As the story linked first notes, there are still plenty of uncommitted top in state recruits out there for Florida to make up significant ground between now and signing day.  But there appears to be a lot of heavy lifting ahead for a program that traditionally isn’t used to that.  Like I said, strange.


UPDATE:  Bud Elliott has more on the current status of Florida’s recruiting here.



Filed under Gators, Gators..., Recruiting

55 responses to “Getting chomped

  1. The Nelson Puppet

    Until UGA starts beating Florida on a regular basis, we should keep in mind the pertinent quote by Steve Spurrier regarding recruiting:

    “Why is it that during recruiting season they sign all the great players, but when it comes time to play the game, we have all the great players? I don’t understand that. What happens to them?”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gosh, I had no idea.

      Should I take the post down?


    • 3rdandGrantham

      These predictably lame replies are getting old quick. Let me see if I have this straight: since UF has beaten us the last few years, under no circumstances should we merely report on or point out any of their deficiencies or current troubles whatsoever. Got it

      Fact is this is a historically bad UF class; almost assuredly their worst ever since becoming a national power under SOS in the early 90’s. Yes, UF has beaten us many times previously, but they’ve done so not just with great coaching, but with phenomenal talent thanks to the absurd pipeline of talent the state of Florida produces.

      More so, this makes 2 of the last 3 classes that have been sub-par under McElwain, and last years class, while solid, still wasn’t ranked as high ours while going through a coaching transition. Starting this year, the lack of talent at UF is going to really, really hurt them; so for me personally, the news of their recruiting troubles is a huge deal.


      • Daniel Simpson Day

        I agree. Your last paragraph gives thought to their decline in recruiting to our uptick in recruiting… if it takes this long to really feel the results of subpar classes, we may really be looking at 2018 or 19 for ours to pay off.


    • Biggus Rickus

      Funny thing about that quote is that Spurrier was bringing in top 10 classes regularly and outrecruiting Georgia for most of the Goff years. It’s not as if he was bringing in a bunch of castoffs and coaching them up.


      • That fact flys in the face of Spurrier’s genius. Take it back! See how well he did with those cast offs at USCe the last few years? Coaching genius adds at least two stars to every recruit. 😉


      • Chris Hay

        Exactly. Don’t believe one thing that ol’ bastrd says. He’ll twist anything just to snub Georgia. Glad he’s gone and is even sweeter because Georgia retired his ass!


    • Sanford222view

      And never mind even with the lack of success against the Gators in the ’90’s and ’00’s UGA still leads the all time series.


  2. DawgPhan

    lulz….UGA fans are currently putting more stock in recruiting rankings than division titles.


  3. 3rdandGrantham

    Based on the replies above and previously, I don’t think some of you understand the magnitude of the ’17 recruiting classes for both UGA and UF. The differences in talent between the two classes are such that, unless Smart and Co. are Ray Goff/Marion Campbell like incompetent, UGA should easily have the upper hand in the series starting pretty much now.

    Let’s not forget that UF also has always had great talent, along with great coaching along the way as well (most years anyway). Now, for the first time since the early 80’s, UF’s talent is at its nadir thanks to a coaching staff that clearly are terrible salesman. As mentioned, this is a big, big deal, and frankly I’m surprised their woes haven’t been discussed even more.


  4. Go Dawgs!

    The Florida recruiting situation is nothing short of remarkable. Good ol’ Paul Johnson is fond of noting that UGA basically recruits itself. How in the heck is that not the case at Florida? Yes, I know that they’ve got a lot more in-state competition and right now they’re behind FSU on the field and that’s going to affect recruiting. But it’s almost shocking how much trouble they’re having bringing in talent. Spurrier barely had to pay attention to it; the Zooker was brilliant at it; and Urban got whoever he wanted. Even Will Muschamp was more successful recruiting than McElwain. What’s the deal?

    And the wins Florida has over Georgia that are being flogged by pessimistic Dawgs above were won on the strength of the defensive talent that Muschamp left behind. The defensive unit that he built at Florida was fearsome. With most of those guys gone or leaving soon, the Gators could be in much more trouble. They’d better hope that McElwain is one of those coaches who can do more with less. They’ve got some blue chip quarterback talent waiting to take the field for the first time. Maybe that’ll be enough for them. Division won’t be weak forever, though.


    • dawgtired

      “Division won’t be weak forever, though.”

      …and the balance of power (recruiting-wise) is taking a weird turn. UGA and UT are doing more of what we expect but USC and UK are out-recruiting UF. I would be weird (or wonderful) if in a few years UK is more of a threat than UF.


  5. Spike

    Trouble in Hogtown?


  6. Uglydawg

    Thinking the same way as Go Dawgs! post @8:45.
    It is weird. I wonder what’s driving PJ said about UGA, UF should recruit itself to at least a top 15 class every year, no matter the coach.
    Either kids are being offered a little “more” by other schools, or are having a much better experience during campus visits…JM seems like a very likable and sincere guy.
    And if a HS coach is making the $$$ offered video claim, and can’t back it up, he’s stupid.
    Maybe we’ll get some more insight as to what the problem is.


  7. Uglydawg

    Is Trig a required study at UF?


  8. Russ

    All I can figure is that McElwain and staff took that “recruits itself” to heart and hasn’t put in the effort. Once you’re behind in recruiting, it seems like it’s really hard to catch up (without the right bag man).


  9. Sparrow

    You know, Senator, it really drives me crazy when you post these pieces lauding Georgia and highlighting the positive. Come to think of it, I’m also tired of how negative you are about Kirby and the Dawgs. When is this blog going to get it right?


  10. Bulldog Joe

    Let ’em sweat. F the Gators.


  11. South FL Dawg

    McElwain is trying to make good on this:
    Jim McElwain: ‘I believe I can win with my dog Claribelle’ playing QB.


  12. My main perception of McElwain comes from his dopey af SEC Network/Belk commercial where he’s dancing around like a girl trying on clothes for his domineering wife. Doesn’t exactly scream “Leader”. No wonder these kids aren’t drawn to him.


    • 83Dawg

      At least those commercials made Smart getting his ties picked out by someone stuffed in a mascot suit look better.



    • AthensHomerDawg

      “where he’s dancing around like a girl ”

      7 days ago that comment might have earned you a reprimand.


  13. Comin' Down The Track


  14. 69Dawg

    Reporting from just south of Hog Town: UF is now in a dogfight with FSU and Miami. As in the days of old FSU is back and Miami is on the rise. Gone are the days of SOS and the Pope. Combine that with the kids being taken out of state by as many Power 5 conferences as they can, UF has suffered. Beside the kids aren’t dumb. True, Florida won the East the last two years but that’s footballs equal to Miss Congeniality. The were destroyed by Alabama even though they had a great defense. I have no doubt that UF will still be a pain in UGA’s butt, until we curb stomp them for a few years. The Florida fans are not amused.


  15. Uglydawg

    It’ll be interesting to see how they justify firing a coach that’s won his division two years running. But it could happen if things get as ugly as it appears possible. Even though the administration will understand that the east is down and winning it is no great feat, you know there will be a huge contingent screaming for McE’s pumpkin head.


  16. rchris

    McElwain’s salesmanship aside, a big reason for the Gators troubles is our old friend Mark Richt (which I predicted months ago in a reply to an earlier post.) He took N’Kosi Perry from under UF’s nose and has recently switched Chris Henderson and Kai Leon Herbert’s leaders from Florida to Miami. You put those guys into Florida’s class on 247 and it jumps from 31st to 18th. Going forward, the Gators are gonna find themselves squeezed by the Seminoles and the Hurricanes more and more.