The other day in the office, someone made the comment that some of his FSU buddies were taking a vacation day next Wednesday to watch National Signing Day on national television.
Here’s my advice for Florida fans thinking of doing the same: Don’t. It would be a wasted vacation day. Save it for a spring scrimmage or an extra day on the beach this summer.
The strangest recruiting season that I can remember for Florida (and I’ve been covering UF recruiting since 1993, and following it many years before that) likely will culminate with an uneventful signing day. I mean really uneventful (especially compared to recent years, when the Gators were major players on the national recruiting stage). This could turn out to be a show about nothing for Florida.
Of the remaining prospects on the UF board who are waiting to announce Wednesday (and there aren’t many), there’s a good chance none will put on a Gator hat at their announcement ceremony. I think the only guy who might fall the Gators’ way is Palm Beach Dwyer linebacker Curt Maggitt, but I wouldn’t surprised in the least if he pulled the trigger for someone else.
It’s been that kind of recruiting season for the Gators. Weird. Strange. Befuddling. But not totally unexplainable.
In the past month, in what is usually the height of the recruiting year for the Gators, almost nothing (especially positive) has happened. Since taking over the program for Urban Meyer, new head coach Will Muschamp has secured a commitment from only one player — safety Jabari Gorman — and that was weeks ago. Since then, there’s been a whole lot of whiffing going on — and all kinds of negative stuff swirling around UF’s recruiting effort.
To some degree, you knew this might happen — because when a coach takes over a program this late, putting together that first recruiting class tends to be a monumental struggle. Meyer went through it when he replaced Zook. Zook went through it when he replaced Steve Spurrier.
Meyer’s first recruiting class in 2005 was a bust (after Zook had set up the Gators to possibly have the No. 1 class in the nation). Zook’s first class wasn’t much better in 2002. Muschamp’s won’t be much better in 2011. Trust me, though, it will be a much different story a year from now after Muschamp and his very impressive coaching staff has an opportunity to establish relationships with the 2012 recruits and their parents and coaches. But for now, it’s time to just accept that UF’s recruiting class is not going to grow much (if any) beyond the 15 players who are committed now. Seven of those committed players are already enrolled, including the gem of the class, quarterback Jeff Driskel.
Despite the low number, this will be a pretty solid class with some quality talent that will help the Gators win games in the future.
But for the most part, this recruiting season is over for the Gators.
So, here’s my advice on what Gator fans should do next Wednesday: Go to work, concentrate on your job, stay off the recruiting websites and save that vacation day for another time. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.
Things will be back to normal in 2012.