- Derek Tyson, RecruitingNation
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- It’s time to dip in to the GatorNation recruiting mailbag and answer your questions. Because of the number of questions we’ve received, we won’t be able to get to all of them today, but we encourage you to ask your questions on our Insider fan forum, The Chompions Club. Astute readers will also notice a new spot on our homepage where you can submit mailbag questions about the Gators and/or UF recruiting at any time. We read every question we receive.
secrocks2000: With Josh McNeil postponing his announcement and not visiting UGA for their camp and coming to Florida's Friday Night Lights camp do you think UF has a chance?
A: Yes, Florida certainly has a chance with the talented tight end. I think it's very telling that he postponed his announcement and did not visit Georgia for Dawg Night. With a successful Friday Night Lights trip, the Gators could be in good position to land McNeil -- if they decide to take a tight end this early.
James (Modesto, Calif.): Why are we struggling to land top D-line men and secondary players across the nation?
A: I would not say that Florida is struggling to land top defensive linemen and secondary players by any means. Jonathan Bullard and Dante Fowler Jr. were two of the top defensive linemen in the nation last year, as is Caleb Brantley this year. The Gators are also in on a few other top defensive linemen such as Ebenezer Ogundeko, Demarcus Walker, Scott Pagano and Jordan Sherit. In the secondary, the Gators landed Brian Poole Jr., the No. 82-ranked player in the country, and Marcus Maye and Rhaheim Ledbetter, the No. 8- and No. 9-ranked safeties in the country for the 2012 class, respectively. Florida is right in the thick of things for five-star corners Vernon Hargreaves III and Mackensie Alexander as well as top safety Marcell Harris. This is in addition to having two ESPN 150 safety commitments from Keanu Neal and Nick Washington.
eastorwestgatorsarethebest: Are we desperate to include fast back/slot receiver in this class? Do you think Josh Mercer can earn a scholarship offer this FNL?
A: At this point I would definitely say Florida is not desperate to land a fast back or slot receiver. If Florida is not able to land the slot receiver or faster back that it was targeting, the Gators likely will not settle for taking one just to fill a role. The fact that Florida has not offered Alvin Bailey, the No. 71-ranked athlete in the country, should tell you that the coaching staff is being very selective in who to take. As for Mercer, he loves Florida and has an offer but would need to have a very impressive showing at Friday Night Lights for the Gators to accept his commitment at that time.
Michael Cassidy (Winter Park, Fla.): Although I'm happy with our recruiting, especially as Will Muschamp needs time to re-build, we seem to be losing out on top players to FSU and especially Alabama. Is it something we're doing wrong or are their recruits just better than ours?
A: Yes, Alabama and Florida State ranked just ahead of Florida in the 2012 ESPN recruiting rankings at No. 1 and 2, respectively, but Florida coming in at No. 4 wasn't too shabby. The Gators are ahead of FSU and Alabama so far in the 2013 rankings. Keep in mind Florida had a lot of holes to fill when Urban Meyer left, and the Gators completely changed their offensive and defensive schemes. In my opinion, by the end of the 2012 season, you should start to see Muschamp's recruiting efforts pay dividends.
IPod King: Is Florida still interested in Stacy Coley? I read he is still wide open!
A: Yes, Florida is very much still interested in Coley and will continue to be. The issue with Coley from the beginning has been grades. If he is able to make improvements, the Gators could very well put the full-court press on for him. That being said, if the Gators take another wide receiver before Coley's grades improve, it would appear unlikely that Florida would continue to pursue Coley.
ThomasLinder: If Sherit picks UF does it help with VH3?
A: If Sherit were to commit to Florida, I believe it would have to improve Florida's chances with Hargreaves. The two are close friends and play on the same 7-on-7 team in Tampa. However, as good a friends as they are, Hargreaves is even closer with his father, who is a coach at USF. This will be the key relationship in Hargreaves recruitment.
eastorwestgatorsarethebest: When is Ogundeko announcing his decision? I heard it's July 18th or 24th.
A: Ogundeko told me on Monday that his announcement will be on Tuesday, July 24 at 4 p.m. ET. He has narrowed down his choices to Florida, Notre Dame and Syracuse. Florida and Notre Dame appear to be at the top though.
Sean CareyLove: Hey DT, it seemed that VHIII loved USC, but USC did just get a big-time DB commit today (Jalen Ramsey). Do you think that UF has an improved chance because of that and if OSU doesn't blow him away?
A: I don't think that will play a factor for Hargreaves at all. He is a very skilled and confident player. No matter where he goes he will be playing as a true freshman. As I said in answering an earlier question, a lot depends on his father, who coaches at USF. The Gators are still right near the top for the talented corner.
1dSam Khan Jr.