Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Coach Will Muschamp counts on recruiting to remold Florida Gators football roster

By the time Will Muschamp took over last year, UF’s 2011 class was basically formed.


By the time Will Muschamp took over last year, UF’s 2011 class was basically formed.

GAINESVILLE — Shortly after Florida's loss to Florida State in November in its final regular-season game, dejected Gators coach Will Muschamp told reporters he wouldn't be around town much for a while.

"I'll be out recruiting," he said.

The implication was clear. With Florida's 6-6 regular-season record cemented, the need to improve Florida's depth, and its talent, was evident. And Muschamp was wasting no time.

Today, with a little more than two weeks remaining before the Feb. 1 national signing day, Muschamp has assembled a recruiting class that is ranked among the top five by the three major recruiting services.

"The 6-6 season doesn't hurt that much because (Muschamp) is still new at Florida," said Scott Kennedy, director of scouting for "He can sell early playing time to fill in holes, and sometimes that can be a plus. If he's 6-6 again next year, he's got a credibility problem on the recruiting trail. But for now, recruits are willing to listen about coming to Florida and playing for a fiery guy like Muschamp."

Last year at this time, Muschamp was trying to salvage a class that he had no involvement with until he took over from Urban Meyer in January. The Gators signed just 17 players last year, and Muschamp said at the time he was more concerned about quality than just taking players to add to his numbers.

But a lot has changed since then. Since Muschamp's arrival, 11 players have left the program, and combined with the loss of 14 graduating seniors, the Gators' roster currently sits below 60. But Muschamp insists he won't change his basic philosophy.

"I haven't changed my approach," he said. "You still have to evaluate and take the right guys. It's a little bit different right now because you have a whole year to evaluate. I think that a little bit of my philosophy at that point (last year) was, don't take a guy that you weren't sure about. I think that is the most important thing.

"Right now, we have had a full year to evaluate, we know what we have evaluated, we have ranked everybody at every position, we understand the numbers at certain positions that we want to take, but we're not going to take a guy just to take a guy. We would rather check it all out. If there are five at one position and you want to take three, you know you can get two, and then take four more at another position. You feel good about those selections. More than anything, at the end of the day, it's like the NFL draft. You take the best player available in those positions."

Muschamp has been known to jokingly take shots at those who rank recruits, saying he recruits based on talent not by stars, referring to the ranking system used by recruiting services. There is some merit to that. Two years ago, Meyer pulled in what the recruiting services called the No. 1 class in the nation, and the Gators have gone 8-5 and 7-6 since.

"Muschamp has quietly put together a terrific class already," Kennedy said. "While Florida State has taken some of the spotlight from the Gators on the recruiting trail the last two years, there's still plenty of players headed to both teams to make for top-five classes."

Even with the loss of his offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, and the extended period before hiring former Boise State offensive coordinator Brent Pease, the Gators have persevered, which is exactly what Muschamp envisioned at the end of the season.

"At the end of the day, we're the University of Florida, and we're going to be fine," he said.

Coach Will Muschamp counts on recruiting to remold Florida Gators football roster 01/18/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 11:34pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Late Holy Names swimmer Cailin Cannella was a fighter until the end

    Swimming Preps

    At swim meets, Cailin Cannella would race side-by-side with her breastroke competitors, their heads bobbing in near unison.

    Holy Names swimmer Cailin Cannella, here at age 13, still was practicing last year after finding out she had osteosarcoma (bone cancer). [Times 2016]
  2. Gators roundtable: Was that really a Hail Mary?


    Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks' last-second heave beat Tennessee Saturday in Gainesville, but was it a Hail Mary, typically a pass made in desperation with little chance of success? The Times' college football coveage team weighs in:


    Feleipe Franks #13 of the Florida Gators celebrates with his teammates after he threw a 63-yard pass at the end of the game to defeat the Tennessee Volunteers 26-20 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 16, 2017 in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
  3. Mikhail Sergachev to debut for Lightning tonight


    For touted prospect Mikhail Sergachev, his audition to make the Lightning takes another big step tonight in his exhibition debut in Carolina.

    Touted prospect Mikhail Sergachev will make his exhibition debut tonight in Carolina.
  4. Commitment to change already evident for Wesley Chapel


    WESLEY CHAPEL — One stands 6 feet 9, holds numerous college offers and has already verbally committed to play at Florida State. The other goes about a foot shorter and could stand to put on a few pounds.

    Wesley Chapel's Chaz Neal (60) pumps his team up before a football game against Land O' Lakes in Wesley Chapel, Fla., on Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017.
  5. Rick and Tom podcast: Annoyance with the Cubs fans at Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tom Jones talks about how he shares Chris Archer's annoyance with all of the Cubs fans at Tropicana Field for Joe Maddon's return in the latest edition of our Rick and Tom podcast.

    "W" flags fly in the stands after the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Rays Tuesday at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]