David Wunderlich looks at Florida’s roster evolution under Dan Mullen. It looks like he’ll still be coaching another year with more starters signed by McElwain than by him.
Dan Mullen didn’t inherit as great a bounty in his second stint in Gainesville.
He began with only 21 of 22 starters being Jim McElwain recruits from Game 1 thanks to Ole Miss transfer Van Jefferson taking a starting spot. By Game 3, it was 20 of 22 thanks to true freshman Trey Dean taking over for the injured Marco Wilson.
Then when the calendar turned to October for the LSU game, it was 19 of 22 thanks to West Virginia graduate transfer Adam Shuler earning the starting role at defensive tackle. UF didn’t release an official depth chart for the Peach Bowl that I can find, but if it had, the count would’ve been down to 18 of 22 with Ohio State transfer Trevon Grimes stepping in for the injured Tyrie Cleveland.
Looking ahead to Mullen’s Year 2, and the count probably shifts anywhere from a 15/7 McElwain-Mullen split to as high as 13/9.
David’s right that Florida’s 2006 season is the gold standard for them. Meyer famously won a national title with Zook’s recruits. The problem for Mullen is that he’s coming in after two straight staffs didn’t exactly kill it recruiting offensive players.
One of the remarkable things about all this is that something similar happened before. Recently. McElwain had to turn over almost the entire offensive roster quickly because of how bad of shape Will Muschamp left it in.
Looking at the first depth chart of McElwain’s second year in 2016, only four offensive starters were Muschamp signees: LT David Sharpe, C Cam Dillard, TE DeAndre Goolsby, and WR Brandon Powell.
Mullen did a good job with what he inherited last season, but without consistently better recruiting, Florida is going to have a tough slog getting back to the top of the division.
Competition only takes a guy so far.