Make us your home page
Instagram

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

For Will Muschamp, recruiting Florida Gators starts slowly

GAINESVILLE — New Florida football coach Will Muschamp has had less than one month to sell himself to high school players who had previously built relationships with other members of the Gators coaching staff.

Some recruits had no idea who Muschamp was when he was hired Dec. 11 to replace the retiring Urban Meyer. And during part of that time, the new coach was still trying to hire key members of his staff.

He recently acknowledged it hasn't been an easy task.

"Recruiting is about building relationships," said Muschamp, the former defensive coordinator at Texas. "As early as recruiting is nowadays, that's the hardest part, and a lot of these young men have been recruited for two and three years. We're coming in here in a month's time to try to flip a decision or convince them that Florida's the best place."

The Gators have lost some high-profile players since Meyer's departure. And this week, Chase Hounshell, the Kirtland, Ohio, offensive lineman who was scheduled to be among the Gators' spring enrollees, decided to delay enrolling, citing, among other things, that he has never met his position coach.

"Florida has lost a couple of highly ranked commitments in Scout four-stars(-rated) Jeoffrey Pagan (defensive end; Asheville, N.C.), Ryan Shazier (linebacker; Plantation), and Nick Waisome (cornerback; Groveland) while other teams have been adding players," said Scott Kennedy, director of scouting for Scout.com. "I don't think there's any doubt there's a direct correlation to the coaching change and Florida having 18 commitments on Nov. 15 and only 16 commitments two months later."

Muschamp hired former NFL assistant and Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis as his offensive coordinator, 28-year veteran coach Frank Verducci as his offensive line/running game coordinator and NFL assistant Dan Quinn as his defensive coordinator. So far, that hasn't been much of a boost for recruiting.

"I think it will take some time for these kids to get to know the two new Florida coordinators and vice versa," said Jamie Newberg, recruiting analyst for ESPN.com. "Some may know of Weis, but I am sure once they learn about him and his background it will help with the offensive recruits they are recruiting. Certainly flashing those Super Bowl rings and saying he coached Tom Brady will help. At the same time, I still don't know how active Weis will be in the recruiting for Florida."

Weis has not yet arrived in Gainesville, and Quinn is still in the NFL playoffs with the Seahawks.

Then there's the X-factor: Florida State. During most of Meyer's tenure, the Seminoles were struggling, which helped Florida land more of the state's top recruits. But coach Jimbo Fisher has resurrected FSU, and the competition for the state's best is again fierce.

""The Seminoles … are in the running of the No. 1 class in the country," Scout.com's Kennedy said. "That certainly has an effect on Muschamp's ability to come in and hold on to or sway the top talent in Florida. Florida State has gotten several players that were once considered key Florida targets, including Waisome. Having the Seminoles back in the national picture will make it much harder for Muschamp to duplicate the success that Meyer had on the recruiting trail."

Florida's recruiting class is currently ranked No. 19 by Rivals.com and No. 23 by Scout.com. The analysts agree that Muschamp can't be judged on this class, and his best bet at this point is to survive this round, then get ready for next year.

"Florida will still be a top 15 class, which is a good accomplishment in a transition year," Kennedy said.

Antonya English can be reached at english@sptimes.com.

For Will Muschamp, recruiting Florida Gators starts slowly 01/13/11 [Last modified: Thursday, January 13, 2011 10:32pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays morning after: Secret to Alex Colome's success is staying cool, calm, collected

    Blogs

    The ninth inning couldn't have started much worse for Rays closer Alex Colome on Tuesday, who took over with a 6-4 lead and quickly allowed a single and a double to bring the tying run to the plate.

  2. How will former USF assistant Tom Allen fare at Indiana?

    Blogs

    Big Ten Network analyst Gerry DiNardo doesn't sound particularly optimistic about Tom Allen's chances of keeping Indiana competitive in his first year as the Hoosiers' head coach.

    "He has some challenges," DiNardo said.

  3. ESPN cites safety in removing Robert Lee from UVA broadcast due to name (w/video)

    College

    ESPN has removed an announcer from its broadcast of the University of Virginia's first football game next month because he has the same name as a Confederate general memorialized in statues that are being taken down across the country.

    Louisville lines up for a play against Virginia during an NCAA college football game in Charlottesville, Va., in 2016 ESPN broadcaster Robert Lee will not work Virginia's season opener because of recent violence in Charlottesville sparked by the decision to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. A spokeswoman for ESPN says Lee has been moved to Youngstown State's game at Pittsburgh on the ACC Network on Sept. 2. The network says the decision was made "as the tragic events in Charlottesville were unfolding, simply because of the coincidence of his name." [Associated Press]
  4. Celtics were only team in position to deal for Kyrie Irving

    Nba

    The Cavaliers found themselves in a seemingly impossible situation when it came to trading Kyrie Irving. Not only did Cleveland need to try to extract the kind of price a team looks to get to trade its star — some combination of cap relief, young players and draft picks — it also needed to acquire talent to …

    Kyrie Irving, left, is guarded by Stephen Curry during the NBA Finals last season. [Associated Press]
  5. Browns, who visit Bucs this week, take a courageous step toward social change

    Bucs

    CLEVELAND — The laughingstock of the league during a 1-15 season in 2016, the Browns took a dramatic step forward Monday night.

    Browns players kneel as others stand to support their circle during the national anthem before Monday night's preseason game against the Giants. [Associated Press]