A great signing day still wouldn’t do much to close the gap between UF and Alabama, or Clemson, or Georgia.
“If you’re going to compete with Alabama and Clemson and be a team that breaks through, you’ve got to be in the top five,” Farrell said. “They’ve still got some work to do.”
Even if UF lands a pair of top-100 south Florida recruits (receiver Mark-Antony Richards and cornerback Kaair Elam) the Gators still won’t have a five-star prospect on their roster. SEC East frontrunner Georgia has signed 11 over the last two classes. Rival LSU added three in December. The only incoming ’Bama recruit who isn’t a blue-chip talent is Will Reichard — the nation’s top kicker.
That means that while Mullen is trying to amass talent on his roster, the nation’s top programs keep stockpiling elite classes on top of elite classes. [Emphasis added.]
That’s from a piece that’s largely praiseworthy. I’m not hearing the sound of a gap closing there, but maybe that’s just me.
But wait, you might say. Isn’t Florida raking in-state recruiting, given the current fortunes of FSU and Miama?
Farrell said in-state recruiting is holding UF back. The Gators enter signing day with commitments or signatures from only two of the state’s top 30 recruits. That puts UF behind Florida State (six), Alabama (five), Georgia (four), Miami (three) and Clemson (three). UF doesn’t have a current player or incoming recruit from Bradenton football factory IMG Academy.
“A lot of the IMG kids are leaving the state,” Farrell said. “I think they need to get more of the high-level in-state kids to buy in.”
So much for that narrative. If that’s how Mullen is doing when the other two Florida powers are down, what’s going to happen if either or both recover?
Gator fans may find that “Dan Mullen turned Mississippi State around by maximizing solid rosters lacking in superstar recruits” is all they’ve got left. That would be a real shame.