- Derek Tyson, RecruitingNation
GatorNation brings you the latest installment of Chomp Confidential, a look inside Florida football recruiting for GatorNation subscribers only. As with anything exclusive, what's reported in the weekly Chomp Confidential must stay here. A few things discussed in this week's update:
• Behind the Jordan Jenkins decision
• Gators back in it for Johnson
• Brent Pease the recruiter
• Latest on Kent Taylor
Check out the weekly Chomp Confidential.
As the world turns in recruiting
Defensive end Jordan Jenkins (Hamilton, Ga./Harris Co.) surprised many by selecting Georgia over Florida and Alabama on Monday night. A lot of analysts, including myself, thought Jenkins would choose Florida -- and for good reason.
Jenkins father told me several months ago, before Florida’s Friday Night Lights camp, if his son enjoyed his visit to Florida for the camp that he would more than likely commit to the Gators. He did enjoy his visit, but for whatever reason chose not to commit at that time.
During the Under Armour practices in Lake Buena Vista (Fla.), several Florida commits told me they thought Jenkins was headed to Gainesville. Jenkins, however, chose the Bulldogs in the end.
Similarly, over the summer I had a chance to interview Jonathan Bullard (Shelby, N.C./Crest) up in Shelby. After the interview concluded, Bullard told me that if he had to pick a school it would have been South Carolina. He said he loved the family feel and it was close to home for him.
After speaking with Bullard, I was convinced he would stay closer to home and choose either South Carolina or Clemson. The Florida coaches did an excellent job of making Bullard feel at home in Gainesville, and ultimately they were able to persuade the big defensive end prospect.
My point: This is the ever-changing world of college football recruiting. Recruits change their minds frequently. High school kids are surrounded by many outside influences, many of which are never made public. Florida may have lost out on Jenkins, but they were able to reel in Bullard.
Avery Johnson wavering?
LSU wide receiver commit Avery Johnson (Pompano Beach, Fla./Ely) liked Florida early in the process before pledging to LSU. On Wednesday, the Tigers lost wide receivers coach and Johnson’s primary recruiter Billy Gonzales to Illinois, which opened the door for the Gators to get back in on Johnson.
With Florida hiring former Boise State offensive coordinator Brent Pease as its new coordinator, it appears the Gators are back in the mix for Johnson.
Johnson, the younger brother of Arizona Cardinals defensive back Patrick Peterson, remains committed to LSU, but is now strongly considering the Gators. He will receive an in-home visit Florida head coach Will Muschamp and wide receivers coach Aubrey Hill on Jan. 20
With the lack of depth at the receiver position and not many receivers on Florida’s recruiting board, Johnson would have a chance to play early in his career if he were to make a switch. This will be worth watching as we head down the home stretch of the recruiting season.
Brent Pease the recruiter
One question I’ve been asked several times over the last two days is how is Brent Pease as a recruiter? Well, the jury is still out.
It’s hard to judge how Pease is as a recruiter when his coaching stops consisted of Kentucky, Baylor and Boise St. Though BSU has had success on the field, none of those schools are known for being nationally recognized programs with top recruits.
Pease will have his work cut out for him immediately. With top wide receivers Stefon Diggs and Nelson Agholor still on the board, Pease will have an opportunity to make his mark on the Florida program and set the bar as a recruiter.
Diggs told me on Tuesday night that he thinks this was a good hire by Florida, and he is looking forward to meeting Pease.
Kent Taylor firm to Florida
Florida tight end commit Kent Taylor (Land O’Lakes, Fla./Land O’Lakes) confirmed to me on Tuesday night that he is solid in his commitment to the Gators.
After Florida lost Charlie Weis to Kansas, Taylor started pondering other visits. He now said it’s unlikely he will take those visits.
“I probably won’t visit anywhere else,” Taylor said. “I’m happy with [Brent] Pease and I’m 100 percent solid.”
Taylor was a standout in the U.S. Army Bowl. Playing out of position, he caught three passes for 21 yards, including an incredible diving catch.
Watch out for McCalister
With Florida missing out on Jordan Jenkins, the Gators will likely make a big push for four-star defensive end/outside linebacker Alex McCalister (Clemmons, N.C./West Forsyth).
McCalister is set to visit Florida this weekend and will make his final decision on Tuesday.
At 6-foot-6, 220 pounds, McCalister will need to put on weight to contribute on the next level, but he has a huge upside.
McCalister has liked Florida for some time, and if the Gators push for a commitment from him this weekend, I wouldn’t be surprised if makes his pledge to Muschamp. The announcement, however, won’t come until Tuesday.
Quinteze Williams to enroll in the summer
Four-star defensive end/defensive tackle Quinteze Williams (Tyrone, Ga./Sandy Creek) will not enroll for the spring semester and will instead enroll during the summer with the rest of Florida’s incoming freshman class.
Some of Williams’ credits were not accepted by the NCAA Clearinghouse. He has to retake a few classes before he can enroll at Florida.
Williams is slated to play strong side defensive end, but at 6-4, 295, he will certainly be a candidate to move inside to tackle.