In the hearts and minds of many loyal Gator fans, February 1st will be a first step in a road to redemption, or a colossal failure for Head Coach Will Muschamp. Coming off the high of the Tim Tebow/Urban Meyer years, Gator fans are definitely going through withdrawals. As a group, we aren’t used to going 7-6, or seeing what could be construed as nothing less than a dismal performance by our beloved team. National signing day offers not only the possibility of enhancing the Gator’s struggling depth-chart, but perhaps a glimpse into the team… and the coaching staff, that will put the Florida Gators back at the top.
If you have been following this year’s recruiting class, you already know that Muschamp and friends seem to be doing a pretty decent job. So far, Florida has 21 total commitments, including two 5-Star Athletes, and eleven 4-Star Commitments. The Gators are currently ranked #4 in overall recruiting by Rivals.com and ESPN, #5 on Scout.com, and #6 on 24/7sports.com. By way of pure outside observation, the Gators have a real shot at sitting pretty in the number one spot at the end of signing day. It is rumored that Will Muschamp has even gone as far as traveling to Valdosta to attend church with a top recruit, attempting to sway him the way of the Gator. If this tenacity is truly a reflection of Muschamp’s resolve, and not fairytales perpetrated by overzealous sports journalists, Gator fans should have high hopes for seasons to come.
Size and depth seemed to be the major issues with last year’s team. Fortunately, these issues seem to be acknowledged by this year’s recruiting class. Some of the current signings that Gator fans can get fired-up about are: 5-star recruit D.J. Humphries (Offensive Tackle: 6’5, 265Lbs)(Pictured Below) who never allowed a sack in high school; and 5-Star commit Jonathan Bullard (Defensive End: 6’4, 290lbs) may give fans some fodder for excitement. Expect to see 4-star recruit Matt Jones (Running Back: 6’3, 225 Lbs.) in to supplement Florida’s ground game. Tight-Ends Kent Taylor (6’5, 220 Lbs.) and Colin Thompson (6’5, 225Lbs.) should make up for some of the Gator’s size issues. Offensive Tackle Jessamen Dunker, (6’6, 315Lbs.), highly touted for his footwork and run blocking ability may just end up making some waves. At wide receiver, recruit Latroy Pittman (6’1, 190Lbs.) fits perfectly into Will Muschamp’s attempt at implementing a pro-style offense into the University of Florida playbook. A defensive coach all the way, Muschamp has a couple of solid Linebackers as recruits, Jeremy Powell (6’2, 200Lbs.) and Antonio Morrison (6’3, 220Lbs.). Staying on the defensive side of the ball, 4-star Safeties Marcus Maye (6’1. 196 Lbs.), Rhaheim Ledbetter (5’11, 190 Lbs.) and 3-star commit Willie Bailey (6’1, 165 Lbs.) will strengthen the Gator Secondary.
So, if Muschamp manages to nab the number one spot for college football recruiting on Wednesday, or even maintain a spot in the top five, the upcoming class of Gator athletes has the potential to do amazing things. However, talent is wasted if not properly developed. In simple closing, great coaching will be key to the Gator’s success or failure in the next few years. Hopefully, for the sake of the Gator Nation, fans, and athletes, a great recruiting season is only the beginning.