Sunday, June 17, 2018
Colleges

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

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 Scout.com. "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.

Comments
Florida’s Brady Singer voted top college baseball player of year

Florida’s Brady Singer voted top college baseball player of year

OMAHA, Neb. — Florida pitcher Brady Singer has won the Dick Howser Trophy as college baseball's player of the year.Singer, who received the award Friday, carries a 12-1 record and 2.30 ERA into the College World Series, which begins Saturday. T...
Published: 06/15/18
Former Plant QB Rex Culpepper cancer-free; ready to return to Syracuse lineup

Former Plant QB Rex Culpepper cancer-free; ready to return to Syracuse lineup

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Rex Culpepper is back. The smile on his face said it all. The redshirt sophomore quarterback had his first full workout with Syracuse on Friday after overcoming testicular cancer. He said he broke down and cried when he was told he w...
Published: 06/15/18
Willie Taggart comes clean on the origin of ‘Do Something’

Willie Taggart comes clean on the origin of ‘Do Something’

During his question-and-answer session with more than 500 Manatee-Sarasota boosters Monday evening, FSU's Willie Taggart was peppered with the normal inquiries about recruiting, offensive scheme and the Seminoles' quarterback derby.All well and good....
Published: 06/12/18
When Willie Taggart filled in for Tommie Frazier at Manatee High

When Willie Taggart filled in for Tommie Frazier at Manatee High

It would have been easy — expected, even — for Willie Taggart to be nervous when he started in place of the injured Tommie Frazier as Manatee High's starting quarterback in 1991.Nope. Taggart wasn't, even though he was the first...
Published: 06/12/18
FSU football coach Willie Taggart gets local hero’s welcome

FSU football coach Willie Taggart gets local hero’s welcome

SARASOTA — He slithered and scrambled his way into the local consciousness in the fall of 1991.Manatee High's Willie Taggart, 145 pounds in a sopping jersey, suddenly found himself with the keys to the Hurricanes' ruthlessly efficient opti...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/12/18
Florida Gators add West Virginia grad transfer Adam Shuler

Florida Gators add West Virginia grad transfer Adam Shuler

Former West Virginia defensive lineman Adam Shuler announced Monday that he plans to join the Gators as a graduate transfer.Shuler, a 6-foot-4, 268-pound Longwood native, started 10 games for the Mountaineers last season. As a redshirt sophomore, he ...
Published: 06/11/18
Florida State’s Jessica Warren lives ‘every senior’s dream’ with Women’s College World Series title

Florida State’s Jessica Warren lives ‘every senior’s dream’ with Women’s College World Series title

OKLAHOMA CITY — Jessie Warren’s career finished just the way she envisioned it. On Monday night, Florida State’s star third baseman made perhaps the play of her career, a diving catch and throw for a double play that helped preserve a 1-0 win over Wa...
Published: 06/06/18
Florida Gators hire former Auburn AD Jay Jacobs

Florida Gators hire former Auburn AD Jay Jacobs

Former Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs is joining Florida as its executive associate athletic director, the Gators announced Tuesday afternoon."Florida Athletics is fortunate to have someone of Jay's caliber joining the (University Athletic Assoc...
Published: 06/05/18
What Mississippi State says about Dan Mullen’s September homecoming

What Mississippi State says about Dan Mullen’s September homecoming

I haven't yet ranked every college football game in the state (as I did last year), but here's a spoiler: Dan Mullen's return to Starkville on Sept. 29 will be very high.The Florida Gators' new coach hasn't shied away from his Mississippi State homec...
Published: 06/05/18
Ray Lewis, Lomas Brown, Simeon Rice among College Football Hall of Fame nominees

Ray Lewis, Lomas Brown, Simeon Rice among College Football Hall of Fame nominees

Eleven former players/coaches with state ties are up for consideration for the College Football Hall of Fame.Notables notables on the ballot, released Monday morning, include:Florida OT Lomas Brown: 1984 All-American and two-time all-SEC talent helpe...
Published: 06/04/18