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Florida Football Recruiting

Five Thoughts: Five-star cornerback commits

August 9, 2020

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One day before his Miami (Fla.) Palmetto teammate Corey Collier Jr.‍ is scheduled to decide between Florida, LSU, and Miami - out of nowhere five-star defensive back Jason Marshall Jr.‍  pledges to the Gators.



Here are five thoughts on what Marshall’s commitment to Florida means.

1) Yes, Marshall has always had the Gators very high on his list, but this pledge taking place at this time came out of left field. As early as last summer, we felt like Florida was in a good spot for Marshall when he told Inside the Gators during an on-campus 7v7 tournament that the Gators were his dream offer and two of the players he most looked up to were CJ Henderson and Marco Wilson (Related: 7v7 Camp Insider Recruiting Notes). From that time on, we had Marshall tied at the hip to Florida. He appeared as part of each of our first five Projected Mock Signing Classes (Related: 5.0 | 4.0 | 3.0 | 2.0  | 1.0) before being removed in the latest update (Related: 6.0) because he seemed to be trending away from the Gators. 

Then, out of nowhere Sunday evening, while waiting on his teammate Corey Collier Jr.‍ to make his scheduled Monday announcement, Marshall became the fourth of the Palmetto Five to make a public commitment.

2) As of the current recruiting rankings, Marshall is the second-highest rated commit of the Mullen era, coming in right behind 2020 defensive tackle Gervon Dexter‍. With Dexter hailing from Polk County, that gave Florida a built-in advantage going into the process. Winning the services of Xzavier Henderson‍ in the last cycle came in part - maybe even a large part - because of his family ties to Florida. Late last month we hailed the pledge of four-star receiver Marcus Burke‍ (Related: Burke commitment could be a watershed moment) because it meant that the Gators finally won a head-to-head battle over Georgia. Being able to land this  South Florida five-star - where UF had no previous ties and a really poor record of recruiting in Dade County - might just be enough to say that Marshall is Dan Mullen’s biggest ‘get’ to date.

3) Forget about wants and needs, at the very least getting a pledge from Marshall helps stop the in-state bleeding. The University of Florida, the flagship university in the state of Florida, has got to do a better job of recruiting talent in the state of Florida. Removing the out-of-state prospects from Bradenton (Fla.) IMG academy from the mix, before the commitment of Marshall, the Gators had just one commit - Tyreak Sapp‍ - ranked in the 247 Sports Composite Florida Top 20 Rankings. As it stands today, Florida could end up with just three to four of the top 30 kids in the Sunshine State. Last year Florida landed just one of the top 10 (Dexter) and three of the top 20. Back when the Gators were recruiting at an elite level UF owned the state of Florida. In 2010 UF signed seven of the top 12 in the state, in 2009 the Gators brought in three of the top 10, and then in 2007 Florida landed six of the top seven in-state. Getting Marshall on-board is huge for Florida, but to compete with other elite recruiting staffs, the Gators have to do better in their home state. Maybe this is a step in that direction. 

4) When Florida first considered rehiring John Herron, Inside the Gators was told that players such as the above mentioned Henderson and Wilson gave rave reviews of him to Mullen. The Gators didn’t pull the trigger then though and he ended up at Florida State. After spending a cycle in Tallahassee, he’s returned to help the Gators gain their footing in Dade County. While Brian Johnson and Torrian Gray will deservedly get their due, we were told this evening that Herron’s relationship with the Palmetto Five and high school and 7v7 coaches is what has kept Florida in the running over these last few months when UF’s chances were trending downward.

5) In what is probably the most remarkable aspect of Florida recruiting under Mullen,  an offensive-minded coach, unexpectantly the Gators have done a light’s out job recruiting on the defensive side of the ball, but have been lagging behind offensively - especially when you remove quarterbacks from the equation. Which begs the question - will the recruiting on the offensive side of the line ever catch up to what this staff has been able to do recruiting on the defensive side of the ball?

Assuming that Florida lands Collier on Monday, that will mean that Gator signees and commits - as ranked by the 247 Sports Composite - overwhelmingly favors the defense.

During Mullen’s first three full classes the defense features the top five overall signees, nine of top 10, 12 of top 15, and 14 of top 20.

1. Gervon Dexter .9946
2. Jason Marshall .9837
3. Chris Steele .9782
4. Kaiir Elam .9755
5. Derek Wingo .9706
6. Xzavier Henderson .9702
7. Khris Bogle .9677
8. *Corey Collier 9640
9. Jahari Rogers .9632
10. Tyron Hopper .9595
11. Tyreak Sapp .9558
12. Keon Zipperer .9543
13. Mohamoud Diabatee .9510
14. Jaquavion Fraziars .9320
15. Issiah Walker .9309
16. Ethan Pouncey .9279
17. Antwaun Powell .9251
18. Trevonte Rucker .9250
19. Carlos Del Rio .9235
20. Anthony Richardson .9207

Why is there such a disparity between offensive and defensive recruiting?

The easy answer is that David Turner (in part due to his history of developing highly successful defensive linemen), Christian Robinson (youngest coach on the staff, closest to the players age-wise) and Torrian Gray (aided by Florida’s legacy at defensive back) are simply doing a better job recruiting.

However, there has to be more to it than that.

Doesn’t there?

Five Thoughts: Five-star cornerback commits

2,918 Views | 7 Replies | Last: 9 mo ago by OrangeandBlue
Dan the Man
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The two reasons we don't recruit better on offense are Knox and Hevesy.
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You have to also throw Mullen in there he has a little to do with it... It baffles me how we cant recruit and or keep top offensive linemen... you would think for Mullen besides quarterback offensive line would be his most vital and most coveted position the way he likes to run the ball
Fun & Gun
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This makes it look like we are definitely getting Collier. If we do he makes 25. Is that the end to our recruiting?
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I think offensive line and running back are the only positions we aren't getting top commits at. Hevesy can develop with the best of them so that isn't such a big deal. The problem is Knox. For some reason the kids just don't relate to him. Our receiver room is Loaded. Our tight end is a first round pick. Our quarterback room is one of the best in the country. I have nothing but faith in this staff to start turning the tides in recruiting. If we keep winning and sending players to the league, we will be the next dynasty!
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With Wilcoxson reclassified to 20 we could have 3 more spots realistically and a couple more of highly ranked guys want in as +1s
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G8rJD said:

With Wilcoxson reclassified to 20 we could have 3 more spots realistically and a couple decommits if more of highly ranked guys want in as +1s
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We had fans and a recruiting reporter on facebook and twitter saying Hova should be fired after we lost Taylor.

Now they are all happy about getting him after we get Marshall and are about to get Collier.

The lesson is to wait until the end before you start making your judgements.
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