GAINESVILLE -- Senior star Jon Bullard is one of three Florida defensive linemen who remain doubtful for Saturday’s showdown with Florida State.
Gators coach Jim McElwain released an early evening injury report Wednesday, listing Bullard (knee), defensive end Alex McCalister (foot) and defensive tackle Taven Bryan (ankle) as doubtful. Two more rotational linemen are questionable (Jordan Sherit, hamstring; Joey Ivie, leg).
The Gators also listed starting guard Martez Ivey (shoulder) and center Cam Dillard (leg) as questionable. Slot receiver Brandon Powell (foot) and starting left tackle David Sharpe (foot) were upgraded to probable, though.
“We’ll have 11 players take the field on Saturday versus Florida State,” McElwain said.
The complete injury report:
THIS & THAT
FootballScoop.com reported that Central Florida “plans to interview” UF co-defensive coordinators Geoff Collins, a former Knights assistant, and Randy Shannon, Miami’s head coach from 2007-10, for its head coaching vacancy. Collins was recently named a 2015 Broyles Award finalist, honoring the nation’s top assistant. … Florida president Kent Fuchs will serve as the honorary Mr. Two Bits on Saturday.
The Alabama product is a little-known prospect but touts good size (6-foot-2) and athletic ability (he’s a standout basketball player) for the position. He is also teammates and close friends with five-star linebacker Lyndell Wilson -- a top UF target. Wilson has flirted with the Gators for months, and although he is considered an Alabama lean, signing his buddy could be another chip in Florida’s favor.
-- Next, four-star quarterback Feleipe Franks (Wakulla High) officially announced his decommitment from LSU.
With all the chaos surrounding the Tigers + Franks’ public tryst with the Gators, the U.S. Army All-American’s announcement didn’t come as a surprise. Franks, an early enrollee, has been teasing a flip to Florida in recent weeks, attending games against Vanderbilt and FAU, and a commitment to UF could come as early as this weekend. Stay tuned.
-- Finally, a pair of 2016 recruits signed their written offer of admissions to UF. Coach Jim McElwain announced on Twitter the “official” addition of Cocoa cornerback Chancey Gardner and Citra-North Marion receiver Freddie Swain as “midyear enrollees.” Both prospect are consensus four-stars.
Florida’s 2016 class has 23 commitments and is currently ranked 10th by 247Sports. If the Gators land Franks, Wilson and a pair of other five-star prospects (DT Shavar Manuel, WR Nate Craig-Myers) they could finish with a Top 3 class.
The No. 11 Florida Gators’ first-year coach is the only SEC East coach ever to lead his team to the conference championship game in his first season at the helm.
The Gators (8-1, 7-1) clinched the division with a 9-7 win over Vanderbilt and play at South Carolina this weekend (noon, ESPN).
Earlier this week, McElwain was sporting a sharp, oxford shirt. Asked if athletic director Jeremy Foley gave it to him as a gift, McElwain seized an opportunity to take a friendly shot at Foley's frugalness.
Just dial the video up to 13:45.
Who thinks McElwain is getting a raise and probably more facility upgrades this offseason? (Everyones hands get raised).
THIS & THAT
Three-star defensive end Jachai Polite (Daytona Beach-Mainland) verbally pledged to Florida on Thursday. The Gators’ 2016 class now has 22 commitments. … Despite drilling the game-winning field goal Saturday, Austin Hardin hasn’t cemented his spot as Florida’s first-team kicker. McElwain wouldn’t commit to Hardin, saying newly walk-on Neil McInnes remains the team’s “short kicker.”
The Gators reportedly beat out Auburn and Florida State for the 6-3, 218-pound speed rusher. They now have 21 prospects pledged to their 2016 class and rank 12th nationally in 247Sports’ rankings.
Clayton’s commitment could be the first of several big dominos to fall in the next couple months. According to 247Sports Crystal Ball projections, Florida leads for top prospects Nate Craig-Myers (five-star wideout), Dexter Lawrence (five-star defensive tackle) and Binjimen Victor (four-star wideout) and could potentially flip wideout Sam Bruce (Miami commit) and defensive end Janarius Robinson (Florida State commit).
The Ol’ Ball Coach, 70, is a college football saint, winning the Heisman Trophy at UF in 1966 and revolutionizing offense in the SEC years later with the Fun 'N Gun attack.
In 1996, Spurrier delivered Florida’s first national title in school history with a 52-20 win over Florida State in the Sugar Bowl.
In all, Spurrier was 122-27 in a dozen seasons at UF, winning six SEC Championships. He remains the school’s all-time winningest coach, losing just five games at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium and nicknaming the house of horrors “The Swamp.”
Thanks @SC_HBC Spurrier for all you've done for college football...and for me. Your impact on me changed the trajectory of my life.
After leaving UF following the 2001 season, the HBC had a brief and unsuccessful stop in the NFL, lasting just three seasons with the Washington Redskins.
In 2005, he became the head coach at South Carolina and eventually revived a dormant program, leading the Gamecocks to 10 straight bowl games. The Gamecocks won 11 games in three-straight seasons from 2011-2013 and Spurrier is the school’s all-time winningest coach.
“I’m getting a little old when you start feeling sorry for the other coach, “ Spurrier said afterwards.
“I hope they keep him.”
Had Spurrier chosen to finish out the 2015 season, his final SEC game would’ve come against his alma mater on Nov. 14 in Columbia, SC.
Spurrier remains an endeared figure, and his larger-than-life personality started at UF. His most famous gems include, "You can't spell Citrus without U-T" and "You know what FSU stands for don't you? Free Shoes University."
The Gators’ 2016 class is ranked No. 14 nationally with 20 verbal commits, per 247 Sports.
THIS & THAT
Missouri quarterback Maty Mauk remains indefinitely suspended and will not play against UF. Freshman quarterback Drew Lock will make his second straight start. … Despite playing every snap the last three weeks, Will Grier still isn’t listed as UF’s unquestioned starter at quarterback -- at least not on the depth chart. There were no changes to the Week 6 two-deep, as the ‘OR’ remains between Grier and sophomore Treon Harris.
GAINESVILLE -- Florida missed upwards of 30 tackles against Tennessee, and the Gators know they can’t afford a repeat performance against an explosive Ole Miss offense this weekend.
The No. 25 Gators spent an extended portion of practice Tuesday just working on the fundamentals.
“We did a poor job,” senior linebacker Antonio Morrison said.
“We were so into the gameplan we forgot the little things. The basics. We just got back to the basics today, you know wrapping up, clubbing up, running your feet and bringing your feet [to] the tackle.”
Last Saturday, the Volunteers’ Josh Dobbs (136 yards) and Jalen Hurd (102 yards) consistently reached the second level of UF's defense thanks to missed tackles at the line of scrimmage. Coach Jim McElwain said UF struggled with tackling in practice and wasn’t surprised with the team’s issues on gameday.
“These are prideful guys,” McElwain said.
“I want you to keep writing about it. That helps us.”
Unlike Tennessee, the No. 3 Rebels don’t tout a bruising, power-run game. Instead, their offense is predicated on playmakers making people miss in space, so UF’s secondary must be ready to tackle a group of athletic, rangy receivers 1-on-1.
“It wasn’t us,” said safety Keanu Neal, lamenting last weekend’s performance.
“We want to be BDN. We want to be the best in the nation and we didn’t show that.”
THIS & THAT
Morrison extended some high praise to freshman wideout Antonio Callaway, comparing Saturday's hero to a recent Top 5 NFL Draft pick. "Since he stepped on here I said he’s Amari Cooper in the making,” Morrison said. “Just watch and remember I said that. Amari Cooper from Alabama. That’s him right here.” … With more than nine players sidelined with flu-like symptoms, Florida didn’t practice Monday but returned to the fields for its normal work Tuesday afternoon. … McElwain on Florida’s big recruiting weekend: “The buzz, the amount of guys that were just here, the environment, I credit the Gator Nation for that. We’ll see how it pans out come February. … But’s it’s sure something that we’re excited about.”
GAINESVILLE -- With a depleted roster, a number true freshmen will play key roles for the Florida Gators this season.
UF coach Jim McElwain hasn’t been shy embracing the team’s youth movement, but the new coach also insists he won’t simply burn a redshirt season for limited snaps.
“My deal is if we’re going to play them, they’re going to play,” he said.
“Whether it’s significant on every single special teams and in certain series on defense and offense. I think you can probably look at the depth or just the numbers at the position, there will be a lot of young guys probably playing and kind of philosophically if they’re ready and can help the football team and play valuable reps they’re going to play. If they’re not and need some seasoning then we’ll go ahead and redshirt [them].”
Florida scrimmaged for the first time this preseason on Friday, and McElwain said he and the staff will begin honing the depth chart after its second scrimmage next week.
“After the second scrimmage you’re usually able to know which guys kind of work in,” he said.
“It really comes down to their value on special teams. Moving forward, that’s how you make a roster.”
Based on watching practice and talking to coaches/players, here’s a breakdown of where the 2015 class stands with three weeks before the team's Sept. 5 opener.
DEFINITES TO PLAY
Martez Ivey, offensive tackle
Jordan Scarlett, tailback
CeCe Jefferson, defensive end
Antonio Callaway, receiver
Jordan Cronkite, tailback
Rayshad Jackson, linebacker
Tyler Jordan, center/guard
***** Ivey, Jefferson and Scarlett will all see significant snaps, while Callaway, Cronkite and Jordan have already worked their way into their prospective positional rotations. Jackson should be a special teams stud.
PROBABLES TO PLAY
Fred Johnson, offensive tackle
Nick Buchanan, offensive tackle
Chris Williamson, cornerback
***** Both offensive linemen are currently taking reps with the second-unit. Williamson won’t see much PT at cornerback but should be another special teams contributor.
ON THE FENCE
T.J. McCoy, center/guard
Jabari Zuniga, defensive end
Dylan Johnson, safety
Kalif Jackson, receiver
***** The question here is opportunity. McCoy has impressed in camp, but Jordan, Johnson and Buchanan have all been better. Zuniga could play, too, but Florida probably doesn’t need him right now. Johnson and Jackson are wild cards candidates for special teams snaps.
LIKELY REDSHIRT CANDIDATES
Brandon Sandifer, offensive guard
Andrew Ivie, defensive tackle
Camrin Knight, tight end
Richerd Desir-Jones, defensive tackle
Keivonnis Davis, defensive end
Luke Ancrum, defensive end
***** There's potential with this group, but also lots of development needed.
GAINESVILLE -- Two of Florida’s blue-chip signees are already living up to their five-star billings early in training camp.
Gators offensive tackle Martez Ivey and defensive end CeCe Jefferson have quickly impressed teammates and coaches with their work ethic, maturity and raw talent.
“Martez Ivey is a freak,” junior tailback Kelvin Taylor said.
“He’s going to be great. He wasn’t a five-star for nothing, trust me. He’s physical. He’s smart. He knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s a load. He’s going to be really good.”
Ivey, the nation’s No. 2 overall prospect according to 247Sports, is 6-5, 300-pounds and is competing for snaps at both tackle positions.
Meanwhile, Jefferson, a fellow five-star freshman, has also awed teammates with his athleticism and relentless motor.
“He’s showing grit,” junior safety Keanu Neal said. “He’s showing work. He’s showing that he can make plays.”
Jefferson sat out most of his senior season at Baker County High with a shoulder injury, but the 6-1, 280-pound pass rusher is healthy now and already wreaking havoc in camp.
“He’s one of the young guys doing a heck of a job,” UF coach Jim McElwain said.
“He shows up. … I’m sure glad that he’s here. He’s a guy that can make an impact. He’s a guy that’s eager to learn, jumped right in at everything we’re doing. That just speaks volumes of the type of kid he is, too.”
Here’s several snippets on Jefferson and Ivey that didn’t make the short piece.
“You could tell, just his demeanor. Just the way he carries himself around the locker room. He’s quiet. He gets his work done. He goes about the next play. The guy’s very mature, man. He’s going to be a really good one. Just remember I told you that. He’s going to be a really good one, trust me.”
- Kelvin Taylor, on not being surprised by Ivey’s rapid progression early in camp…
“CeCe’s stepping up as kind of like a young Jon Bullard. … Martez is definitely going to be something special here at Florida I believe, just based on how big he is. He’s huge, and he’s definitely wanting to learn as well. A lot of guys think they’re just going to roll into the position, but Martez is a guy who wants to learn the position, wants to be the guy at left tackle. He’s going to be pretty good.”
GAINESVILLE -- Florida released a hype video Tuesday promoting the program’s new direction (and hope), building buzz before training camp opens Thursday.
The “New Regime” video was well-produced (aside from an odd narration choice) and includes highlights and clips from past and present moments. The four-minute piece ends with the narrator saying, “I see a storm brewing in Gainesville.”
GAINESVILLE -- Florida wrapped up its annual recruiting extravaganza over the weekend, and the success of this year’s Friday Night Lights has recruits looking at the Gators like...
In a three day span, UF netted five commitments -- (in order): 2016 defensive back Quincy Lenton, 2017 wideout Daquon Green, 2016 center Brent Hegie, 2016 linebacker Jeremiah Moon and 2016 quarterback Kyle Trask -- and generated exciting buzz with a number of other top-100 prospects.
The Gators nabbed some recruiting momentum, but can they keep it during a transition season?
In February, first-year coach Jim McElwain capped his inaugural recruiting class with a pair of five-star standouts (Martez Ivey, CeCe Jefferson). He proved he could fill out a class quickly, but nearly as important, he planted the Gators flag back in South Florida.
UF closed with a number of key prospects from the area (wideout Antonio Callaway and tailbacks Jordan Scarlett and Jordan Cronkrite), reopening a pipeline with former Miami coach Randy Shannon leading the pillaging.
With fall camp just around the corner (August 6), the summer evaluation/camp period is over. A couple of takeaways following Florida’s fruitful FNL.
1. FORTIFYING A PIPELINE
The Gators continue to strengthen their position in South Florida. Case in point:
Before the run of commitments, Florida had 9 of their pledges on campus Friday. UF also had 8 Miami commits on campus too.
Not only is UF targeting uncommitted South Florida prospects, the Gators are openly aiming to poach a number of Miami Hurricane commits.
Florida’s 2016 class already includes six prospects from South Florida, including wideout Joshua Hammond, linebacker Vosean Joseph and wideout Isaiah Johnson.
Three of UF’s four 2017 verbal commitments -- highlighted by top 2017 quarterback Jake Allen -- hail from Miami-Dade or Broward County.
McElwain's plan is taking shape.
The state is stocked with playmakers (especially receivers in the 2016 and 2017 classes) and the Gators have (seemingly) positioned themselves well with South Florida wideouts Binjimen Victor and Sam Bruce (a Miami commit) -- both players who traveled to FNL with Allen. Florida is also surging (per 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions) with four-star wideout Calvin Ridley (Deerfield Beach).
Meanwhile, UF hosted a bevy of other prospects from the area, including 2017 wideout Jerry Jeudy (Deerfield Beach) and 2016 defensive target McArthur Burnett (Pahokee).
Florida's is building its foundation for the future almost exclusively from the fertile area.
2. AN INTERESTING BLUEPRINT
Make no mistake, Florida’s 2016 class is critical in resuscitating the program. UF can ill-afford failing further behind the rest of the SEC, especially as rivals Tennessee, Georgia and LSU continue to recruit as well as any school in the country.
Florida currently ranks 14th nationally -- fifth in the SEC -- according to 247Sports.
If the Gators can snag a commitment from any of the aforementioned South Florida studs, as well as four-star defensive end Antonneous Clayton or even five-star defensive end Shavar Manuel (who surprisingly named UF in his top 3), their rankings will undoubtably rise.
But UF is in an interesting position heading to the fall because of its early strategy in the 2016 class: mining for diamonds in the rough.
Florida turned heads this spring hauling unheralded (or unknown) after unheralded prospect. Recruiting rankings are an inexact science, but they continue to get better and UF appears to be betting big on its staff’s developmental potential.
That’s not necessarily the wrong approach, just an interesting one for Florida.
Considering UF's current position in the league, can it afford to gamble on so many projects (like signing a quarterback who doesn’t even start in high school)? We'll see.
Depending on some roster gymnastics (normal attrition, early NFL departures, early enrollees counting backwards, etc.), Florida probably has room to sign around 25 guys in 2016. Obviously, McElwain & Co. will nail down an exact number, but it’s a fluid process and semi-complicated by the fact UF already has 18 commits -- 15 rated three-stars or lower.
The Gators exit the summer with lots of recruiting mojo, so it bears watching how many of their early commits actually end up in Gainesville or if they’re processed for new highly targeted prospects.
GAINESVILLE -- Florida’s recruiting showcase Friday Night Lights -- now a three-day event -- wraps up Saturday with a camp strictly for offensive and defensive linemen, and UF hopes Friday's momentum continues into the weekend.
First-year coach Jim McElwain nabbed three commitments (or more??) Friday, including a pair of pledges before the event even got started.
Four-star defensive back Qunicy Lenton was the first to commit to UF. Lenton, who hails from Meridian, Mississippi, was originally committed to Mississippi State when Florida defensive coordinator Geoff Collins was still on the Bulldogs’ staff.
GAINESVILLE -- Former University of Florida football assistant Joker Phillips committed a Level II NCAA violation last summer for having “impermissible contact with a prospect,” but UF wasn’t penalized after properly handling the situation.
In a ruling released Friday, the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions determined “the corrective actions and penalties self-imposed by the school were appropriate and assigned no additional penalties or measures.”
Phillips, who served as the Gators’ wide receivers coach in 2013, resigned from UF on June 11, citing “personal reasons.”
But the former Kentucky head coach had already been suspended by the school from all off-campus recruiting for 30 days beginning on April 10, 2014.
Florida also ended the recruitment of the prospect involved in the illegal “bump.”
Phillips was not named in the report, but details describe a restaurant meeting with a recruit during a mandated dead period. According to the NCAA, Phillips’ “bump” -- notably arranged by a recruiting service reporter -- resulted in a recruiting advantage for the Gators and “exceeded the boundaries of permissible recruiting.”
Still, UF wasn’t levied penalties due to its swift action and the determination Phillips acted alone and without direction.
“The University of Florida Athletic Association takes pride in the culture of compliance it has built over the years. Integrity is one of the core values of our organization -- we act in a fair, ethical and honest manner and we strive to do things the right way every day,” UF athletic director Jeremy Foley said.
“That is why we took quick and decisive action after we learned of a recruiting contact rule violation involving one of our assistant football coaches in January 2014. We stopped recruiting the involved student-athlete, we removed the assistant coach from all recruiting activities, and later secured his resignation. We thank the NCAA Committee on Infractions for their thoughtful deliberation. We look forward to putting this issue behind us and we will continue to operate with the highest level of integrity and compliance.”
Phillips is currently the wide receivers coach for the Cleveland Browns.
Later, Joseph’s former teammate and current Miami Central defensive end/outside linebacker Eric Mitchell, an unrated prospect, also pledged his oral commitment to the Gators.
Both prospects played at Norland High last season and were personally recruited by Randy Shannon, a former Vikings alum.
After landing just a single linebacker commit during the 2015 cycle (Norland standout Rayshad Jackson), the Gators must stock up on the position in 2016 with five upperclassmen ready to graduate in the next two seasons.
GAINESVILLE -- Jim McElwain’s inaugural coaching staff is finally complete.
Florida named Kerry Dixon II its wide receivers coach Tuesday, poaching the former Florida International running backs assistant.
Dixon coached tailbacks at FIU in 2014 and FAU in 2012-13, but he has never coached wide receivers in his eight years as a collegiate assistant. He's regarded as a valuable recruiter, with strong ties to South Florida and Texas.
“Kerry is a young, energetic, up-and-coming coach, McElwain said in a statement.
“He has strong recruiting ties throughout the state and as a former offensive coordinator he will bring value to the offensive game plan.”
Dixon, from Booker T. Washington High in Texas, played quarterback at Baylor in 2002 before transferring to Hampton and starring as a wideout.
The Gators desperately need stability and leadership at the position, as Dixon is now Florida’s seventh wide receivers coach in as many seasons.
Like McElwain, Dixon has history in the Big Sky Conference, spending two seasons at Montana State coaching running backs.
GAINESVILLE -- Florida finished National Signing Day with a flurry, but after a number of ballyhooed in-state targets signed with Auburn, a former friend-turned-foe became the focal point of frustration in the Gator Nation.
Former UF coach Will Muschamp, now the Tigers’ defensive coordinator, helped AU land five-star defensive end Byron Coward, as well as four-star linebacker Jeffery Holland and four-star wideouts Ryan Davis and Javarius Davis. He also flipped UF offensive tackle commit Mike Horton.
Gator fans were infuriated. Muschamp was recruiting against his former employer, while still getting paid by Florida.
UF athletic director Jeremy Foley, who’s been criticized for not structuring a contract to protect the university against such possibilities, said he understands fans’ “angst” but that “it’s part of the deal.”
"First of all, it's a one-year conversation,” Foley said.
“I get the angst that that causes. But at the end of the day, we terminated Will. It's not like he moved on on his own. We terminated his contract. We said we needed to go in a different direction. He's free to work. He's free to go get a job. He's free to go get a job. He's free to do his job.”
Muschamp was fired after four topsy turvy seasons in Gainesville, and Florida is on the hook for nearly $6.3 million. Auburn made Muschamp the highest-paid defensive coordinator in the country, but Florida did not receive any relief in the buyout due to zero mitigation in Muschamp’s contract.
“Will didn’t work at all and we’re still paying him the same amount of money,” Foley said.
“That’s the world we live in. This is the big leagues. These coaches have a tough job, these coaches are in demand. When you’re negotiating contracts with them. I’m not really worried about that. I also expected Will coach here a long, long time. I certainly expect Mac to be here a long, long time.”
Instead of focusing on fans’ frustrations, Foley acknowledged coach Jim McElwain’s successful inaugural class.
“I imagine Auburn was recruiting some of those guys before he got up there. And Will's a good recruiter,” Foley said.
“But so is Jim McElwain. Look what he did on signing day, look at what he did a couple of day prior to signing day. We’re all fine. I get, like I said, it’s good conversation, it’s angst, but, you know, we terminated Will’s contract. He’s free to go make a living like anybody else.”
Florida finished No. 21 nationally in team rankings after sitting in the 70’s a week before NSD.
GAINESVILLE -- Florida finally reeled in some offensive firepower.
Four-star tailback Jordan Scarlett -- a star at St. Thomas Aquinas -- committed to UF over Miami and Florida State on Monday night.
The Army All-American instantly becomes the crown jewel of Florida’s class, as Scarlett is (currently) ranked as its highest prospect after scoring 79 touchdowns and leading the Raiders to a state title in 2014.
The 5-foot-10, 205-pound back actually verbally pledged to Miami in July of last year, but he decommitted from the Hurricanes over the weekend following an official visit to FSU.
With a number of other commitments (highlighted by three-star athlete Chris Williamson) in the last two days, UF’s class now has 16 members and is ranked 42nd nationally, per 247Sports.
2015 VERBAL COMMITMENTS
*** Daniel Imatorbhebhe – TE – North Gwinnett (Ga.) – 6-4, 227
*** Kalif Jackson – WR - Duncan U. Fletcher – 6-5, 200
GAINESVILLE -- Jim McElwain said, “I didn’t fall off the turnip truck yesterday. … We’ve got a lot of ground to make up. When we took the job, we knew that there would be some [challenges.] It’s going to take a while.”
The “it” is rebuilding Florida, and based on the school’s 2015 recruiting class the foundation for the future might not come from its current crop of pledges.
The Gators’ class is ranked last in the SEC by every recruiting service.
It gets worse.
Florida has just 58 scholarship players for next season, and a 2015 class low in quantity (and quality at the moment) isn’t going to help the team’s numbers issue.
But all is not dire, yet.
Florida should get a NSD bump -- UF is among the “leaders” for a trio of consensus 5-star prospects and a number of other recruits -- even though the Gators won't sign a real ballyhooed group.
Over the weekend, they hosted top-ranked defensive end Byron Cowart and No. 1 offensive tackle Martez Ivey, as well as a number of other key targets.
They picked up a verbal pledge from three-star linebacker Rayshad Jackson (a Miami Norland High standout) and flipped three-star defensive end Jabari Zuniga, hoping to make a final surge over the next week.
But it’s late in the process, and UF is reportedly losing ground on Cowart (who favors Auburn) and five-star DL CeCe Jefferson (who favors Ole Miss). It would be a major blow to swing and miss on such talented in-state prospects, but thus is the hand McElwain has been dealt.
With staff turnover and the school’s recent win/loss struggles, it’s no mystery why McElwain is fighting an uphill battle.
Transition classes are traditionally weaker anyways, and UF’s struggles have been magnified due to McElwain’s lack of developed relationships, few Southern ties and little name recognition.
The Gators are trying to salvage their class over the next nine days, but 2016 has already become a more important priority.
McElwain knows he must sign and deliver a monster class next season. Otherwise, the transition (or transformation) won’t truly take shape.
Florida can sign upwards of 30 prospects next season (depending on normal attrition and the NFL Draft).
UF has just eight seniors, but it could lose a number of players to the league (namely Vernon Hargreaves III, Demarcus Robinson, Alex McCalister and Keanu Neal) for the second straight year.
The emphasis on 2016 starts now. McElwain can’t afford to have two subpar classes in a row -- especially one without a quarterback, elite skill position players and quality offensive linemen -- so if Florida is struggling with top prospects in the next recruiting cycle then the Gator Nation will really start worrying.
UF already has three verbal commitments for 2016, including Jacksonville Raines wideout Rick Wells, who committed Monday night.
I know the college football season officially kicked off in the middle of the week, but whatever.
Today, it really starts.
Florida hosts Idaho tonight at 7 (ESPNU), as the Gators look to end their seven-game losing streak.
There's a 70+ percent chance of thunderstorms, but Florida fans just hope the offense is raining touchdowns.
********** UPDATE **********
Florida announced wideout Demarcus Robinson (university sanction) and defensive tackles Darious Cummings (violation of team rules) and Jay-Nard Bostwick are suspended for tonight's opener.
If you missed ESPN "College GameDay" this morning, the Jimmy Kimmel-inspired "Mean Tweet" read is a must watch (Dan Mullen became an American hero). OnlyGators.com captured Will Muschamp's brief segment, but seriously, click the link. You'll die at Mullen's response.
I'll pick Florida's game a little later, but in the meantime, if you missed a feature or article during the week, no worries. Read up now!