FLORIDA FOOTBALL & RECRUITING COVERAGE
- Behind the Scenes of Florida Football: Part I, Part II & Part III (Free)
- One-on-One: Steve Spurrier talks Florida football, recruiting & SOS’ Gridiron Grille
- Ranking the June official visitors from least to most likely to sign with Florida
- Impact Analysis: Counting down the 10 Transfers
- The Inside Scoop: A behind the scenes look at Nick Evers' Florida official visit
- Florida Football player observations from the first two camp sessions
- The Inside Scoop: Trainer shares observations on nine Florida defensive linemen
- Where are they Now: Shane Matthews talks Florida Football
Today marks the one-month anniversary since Florida saw its last official visitor leave campus on Sunday, June 20th.
Plenty has happened over the last month, some good, some bad.
Since we haven't published a Burn Barometer in over a year, Inside the Gators decided to do one today Breaking down Florida's 29 June official visitors
Entering the month, three were committed to Florida prior to their official visits (Isaiah Bond, Nick Evers , and Julian Humphrey), while two others have pledged to the Gators since visiting (Shemar James and CJ Smith).
One was already committed to a program before visiting Florida (Drew Shelton) and eight others pledged to other programs since officially visiting Gainesville (Kaytron Allen, Tyler Booker, Terrance Brooks, Jihaad Campbell, George Fitzpatrick, Alex McPherson, Jamarion Miller, and Qae'Shon Sapp).
Of the remaining 15 official visitors, Florida looks to be in the driver's seat to land two of them (Terrance Gibbs and Jamari Lyons), and very much in the running, if not the outright leader for three more (Walter Nolen, Evan Stewart , and Azareyeh Thomas).
The Gators could be a bigger factor for one other (Jarell Stinson) if they prioritized him.
Nothing in recruiting takes place within a bubble. When prospects associated with your program, regardless of where they appear on your board, commit elsewhere, it impacts your board.
Normally the first reaction from a fan, when they see a prospect who is associated with their school commit elsewhere, is a sense of dread. A prospect that they wanted was taken by another school, perhaps even a rival.
Every now and then we'll take a look at how prospects committing to other programs impacts Florida and put a 'Burn Barometer' grade on it as to how much it impacts the Gators.
This is akin to being two minutes too long out in the sun. It doesn't even amount to a sunburn in the world of recruiting. Yes Florida showed some interest, but I doubt anyone is losing sleep over this one
A superficial wound that Florida barely feels at all – being from the Sunshine State, this is a mild sunburn at worst. The staff will shrug it off and move on
The Florida staff can feel this one, it's more than just a mere inconvenience. While it's painful, the Gators can recover
This is more than just a setback, this is when it really starts to hurt the Florida staff. As long as it is limited, it isn't in itself fatal, but these take time to recover from and can shake up, and cause you to reassess your board
These are almost always fatal in real life and in recruiting. A couple of these can kill recruiting at a position and can potentially wreck a class
|Tyler Booker||OT||6-foot-5, 325-pounds|
Today, Booker becomes the third.
In most cases, Florida losing out on a top-rated target to Alabama wouldn’t be all that shocking. Let's be honest about the state of UF recruiting, this happens more often than not. However, when it comes to Booker, it is almost incomprehensible how the Gators fell so far so fast.
Florida went from being the clearcut leader last spring, to holding a top spot throughout a year-long recruiting dead period to reestablish their dominance during his official visit weekend to Gainesville to likely coming in no better than third – trailing Ohio State as well – in a matter of a couple of weeks.
I don't care if Florida builds the Tajmahal of football facilities, recruiting boils down to more than the state of a locker room, and there have to be fundamental changes made to the organizational structure if UF hopes to once again compete with the big boys of recruiting.
This outcome should be unacceptable to Dan Mullen.
As far a replacement candidate, Florida doesn’t have a realistic target within 200 recruiting ranking spots of Booker in the 247 Sports Composite Offensive Tackle Rankings.
Possible Replacement: None
Miller is placed up here rather than being listed among the ‘others’ below because while leading up to his visits the Gators were never really considered high on his list, the weekend before his official to UF, while leaving his Texas A&M official visit he talked up the Gators chances to the point that an Aggie writer alerted me that he thought UF was near the top of Miller’s list. Then, Miller raved about his visit to Florida – mostly about the players. This is a case where if the Gators had assistants who are ‘closers’ this outcome may have turned out differently. Florida landing Demarkcus Bowman from the transfer portal and leading for four-star Gibbs takes some of the sting out of this, but CFP contending programs stock talent and let them fight it out for reps when they get them to campus. This feels like a wasted opportunity.
Possible Replacement: Terrance Gibbs
|Qae'Shon Sapp||OL||6-foot-5, 320-pounds|
When he was originally scheduled to make his announcement back in the spring, it was most likely going to be to Florida State, so his picking the Seminoles doesn’t exactly come off as surprising. However, in between scheduled announcements he made two trips to Florida for the Summer Kickoff and then for an official visit. That gave him ample opportunity to see everything he needed to see from Florida, but he still chose the Garnet & Gold.
Losing out on Sapp doesn’t hurt anywhere near as much as losing Booker, but while you can easily justify a top-tier kid picking Alabama, to lose out on a target to a bad Florida State program is a bit more concerning.
He can be replaced, but the sting is still here.
Also, he is worth watching to see what happens with FSU this season. If they underperform once again, could Florida reenter the picture?
Possible Replacement: Leyton Nelson
|Jaleel Skinner||TE||6-foot-5, 210-pounds|
Unlike the three prospects above who have made commitments, Skinner is still on the open market, but Florida isn't an option. Much like Booker above, in a stunning turn, Florida went from being the outright leader a couple of months ago to not even making his list of finalists.
Also, like Sapp above, it appears as though Florida State will ultimately end up with a Florida target.
Because of what Florida has already on campus and because current commit CJ Hawkins is currently underrated, this loss doesn’t quite meet four-alarm fire status, but it is still a rough recruiting loss.
If you can’t be a finalist for a top tight end months after producing the highest-drafted tight end in NFL history, that is a lost opportunity at best, downright embarrassing at worst.
Possible Replacement: Mason Taylor
OTHER JUNE OFFICIAL VISITORS WHO HAVE COME OFF THE BOARD
- * Kaytron Allen – Looking in from the outside, it might come off as a bit of a surprise that he ended up committing to Penn State – but he is originally from Virginia – making it more convenient for his family and friends. Actually, when he visited Florida his parents flew down from Norfolk, while he drove over from IMG Academy along with fellow PSU pledge Drew Shelton.
- Terrance Brooks – Just getting him on campus for an official visit was an accomplishment in itself by the staff considering that Florida recruited him early on, fell off from recruiting him, and then re-established contact and actually made his top five. However, when you are hunting big game such as Brooks, going up against programs such as Alabama and Ohio State, consistency has to be a key. It would have taken a monumental effort to come back in on him so late and actually land him.
- Jihaad Campbell – Still, one of the only Florida targets in this cycle who I have never spoken with in person, over the phone, or via DM. That streak continued when he refused interviews leaving his UF official visit, so I don't really have an opinion on him one way or the other.
- Oscar Delp – Speaking with him several times, including when he was leaving his visit, he always gave off the impression that he was listening to Florida, but he never really had the Gators as a top contender. Even before he publically eliminated UF from consideration, of the 29 June official visitors, we ranked him the sixth least likely to actually sign with the Orange & Blue for a reason
- George Fitzpatrick – The writing was on the wall here from the very beginning when Florida was the last to offer (by almost six months) of the five programs he officially visited. Add in the fact that he hails from an area the Gators have never recruited, and this seemed more like this official visit was a vacation to the Sunshine State rather than the Gators being an actual contender.
- Alex McPherson – As we stated in our Weekend Visitor Preview prior to his UF trip, we believed that McPherson would end up wearing the Orange & Blue in college, just not the Florida version of it. He seemed destined for Auburn, and then after you saw Florida extending offers to other kickers after his visit weekend, you knew the writing was on the wall.
- Addison Nichols – Standing there at the airport waiting to depart from his Florida official visit, he had incredible things to say about the Gators. So then why did he come in at No. 18 in our ranking of the June Official Visitors Most Likely to sign with UF? Because he had the exact same great things to say about each of his visits. The most surprising thing to me isn't that Florida didn't make the cut, it is that Georgia didn't make his list of three finalists. I thought it would come down to the Bulldogs and Tennessee, but instead, it is the Vols, Ohio State, and North Carolina.
- Drew Shelton – Though he was already committed to Penn State, after Shelton took a virtual visit with Florida back in the spring, and then followed that up with his official visit in June, he told Inside the Gators that not only did the visit result in the Gators becoming a bigger factor for him, but that he was going to open it up a little more to other suitors as well. About a week later he tweeted out his intention of shutting down his recruiting process and sticking with the Nittany Lions.