September 5, 2014

Take Two: Waiting on Florida

Each Friday in Take Two, we delve deeper into some of the stories of the week in college football and recruiting to examine how things might change moving forward. West recruiting analyst Adam Gorney will set the stage and then get takes from National Director of Recruiting Mike Farrell and a local expert from the network of team sites.
This will be the last Michigan-Notre Dame meeting for the foreseeable future and that is only one reason why this year's rivalry matchup is important.
Tevon Coney will be one of several big-time prospects visiting Notre Dame this weekend.
The recruiting implications are humongous for both programs but especially the Irish who are hosting four-star inside linebacker Tevon Coney, four-star outside linebacker Porter Gustin and four-star running back Soso Jamabo on official visits.

There are extensive lists of unofficial visitors in the 2015, 2016 and 2017 classes as well so a Notre Dame victory could be a tremendous step in the right direction for coach Brian Kelly's recruiting efforts. The Irish currently have the No. 13 class by

For Michigan the stakes are enormous as well. After blasting lowly Appalachian State last weekend, coach Brady Hoke will be in the national spotlight against the Irish. A win could help cool the hot seat a little bit for the embattled coach. A loss, well, turn up the stove because Michigan fans have grown increasingly impatient.

And when prospects hear about coaches on the hot seat or even a possible coaching change then that cannot be good for recruiting efforts. Especially in such a highly publicize game as this.
"Playing Michigan for what appears to be the final time in a good while provides Notre Dame the ultimate recruiting platform. The Irish will have a chance to impress three top targets in four-star linebacker Tevon Coney, Rivals100 running back Soso Jamabo and Rivals250 outside linebacker Porter Gustin. Plus they will bank return trips from a slew of elite juniors, most notably five-star quarterback Malik Henry. Beating one of its biggest rivals will help Notre Dame in its pursuit of not only finishing off the current recruiting haul but also building an elite group in the Class of 2016."
-- Jake Brown,
"It's obviously a big game because it's the last one for quite some time. They recruit the same type of kids, they recruit the same territories, it's a big visit weekend for Notre Dame early in the recruiting process. They need a big victory here to impress the recruits at home and Michigan can use one because it can continue to further their national imprint. They're starting to get kids from North Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey, they're trying to go national and a big win on national television would help that."
-- Mike Farrell, National Recruiting Director
The No. 1 player in the 2015 class, five-star defensive end Byron Cowart, is waiting to see Florida this season. So are other five-star prospects. And four-stars and top 2016 and 2017 prospects.
Byron Cowart lists Oregon as his leader.
There seems to be a wait-and-see approach in and around Gainesville this season. A lot of highly-rated recruits like the Gators but if things go south again this year for the Gators and if coach Will Muschamp is fired, then recruits don't want to be left hanging or searching for a new school come the new year.

Everybody is waiting. Even the current players and coaches who in the most unusual of circumstances had their first game against Idaho cancelled after a lightning storm and heavy downpours made the field unplayable.

A big victory against cupcake Eastern Michigan this weekend should be a nice warm-up for a brutal upcoming schedule which features games at Alabama, at Tennessee, LSU, Georgia on a neutral field, South Carolina and at Florida State.

It's not going to be easy for Muschamp. Recruits -- uncommitted ones and even prospects who are committed to Florida and other schools -- will be watching. The waiting game is on to see how the fall plays out in Gainesville.

This could turn out to be a blockbuster recruiting haul and the turnaround of Florida's football program under Muschamp. Or it could be another disappointing season and time for athletics director Jeremy Foley to conduct another national search.
"There is no doubt that a large portion of Florida's 2015 class weights heavily on their performance on the field this season. Guys like CeCe Jefferson and Byron Cowart like the fact that Will Muschamp is a defensive-minded head coach and are waiting to see if this season full of questions will take some of the head off of Muschamp's chair. A multitude of offensive guys are waiting to see if there is success in the new look up-tempo offense Kurt Roper has installed. Five-star offensive tackle Martez Ivey grew up a fan of UF and likely would have already committed to Florida had the 4-8 season not happened and questions arose of the staff being on their way out. Florida fans are also hopeful of a strong offensive season in hopes of grabbing the attention of Tampa standouts Ray-Ray McCloud III and Deon Cain, who are committed to Clemson but still are keeping tabs on the Gators. If Florida comes out of the gates this season and lights it up offensively the recruitment of those two Rivals100 prospects could get interesting."
-- Blake Alderman,
"They have to see that the offensive improves. They have to see improvements all across the board. They have to see stability among the coaches. If you look in the Southeast, he's the only one on the hot seat, like really on the hot seat. If you look at Auburn, Alabama, Georgia, Clemson, all the big players, Florida State, even Miami, Golden is more secure. He has to show they can win some games and show marked improvement. If they do that, they can get some kids. If they don't, the kids can quickly turn elsewhere." -- Farrell
In a roundabout way, Michigan State could still be studying Stanford game tape even though it's been months since the Spartans beat the Pac-12 power in the Rose Bowl.
Kyonta Stallworth committed to Michigan State in December.
That's because Stanford has beaten Oregon twice in a row and the Spartans head to Eugene this weekend for one of the best, if not the best, early-season showdown in college football.

Michigan State and Stanford have similar playing styles -- tough, grind-it-out, take-no-prisoners and so there could be tremendous value in evaluating what the Cardinal have done to be so successful against their conference counterpart.

This is a national showdown of regional powers. It's big for many reasons and one is so Michigan State can further solidify itself as not only the state's best team but also a legitimate contender on the national stage.

The playing styles of Oregon and Michigan State couldn't be further apart. Their recruiting ways are similar, though. Both go after prospects not solely based on recruiting rankings but what fits their respective system best. And it's paid off in a big way.

Michigan State currently has the sixth-best class in the Big Ten by, an average star rating of 3.15, hardly the stuff of world beaters. Oregon has moved up to No. 3 in the Pac-12 but has no in-state commits, always a difficulty for the Ducks who are isolated from major pockets of football talent.

These two teams do things their own ways. It works. But this weekend is an opportunity for both of them, on a national stage, to solidify their status and that could only help in their recruiting efforts.
"Michigan State has already shown the ability to take advantage of their growing brand on the national college football scene, grabbing several commits in this class from Texas -- a state they have not recruited heavily in the past -- and getting their quarterback of the future from Arizona. A win in Oregon, though, almost certainly will strengthen their brand nationally and regionally. The regional part may be most profound. Pulling off back-to-back wins against Stanford and Oregon in the Pac-12's backyard shows local recruits not only that they will be able to play in big, national games, but they can win them, and expect to win them, consistently."
-- Josh Helmholdt, Midwest recruiting analyst
"Michigan State has the opportunity here to really take the next step. Oregon is Oregon. Everybody knows they play fast, they have great facilities, they're in the corner of the United States so geography is difficult for them but they're used to be being Oregon over the past few years. Michigan State has a chance to win a big game on the road and send a message that the program in the state of Michigan is Michigan State. They were better last year, they won the Big Ten and this is a huge national game for them to take it to the next step. I don't understand why more kids aren't seriously looking at Michigan State. There should be numerous four-stars around the country looking at this program because the coaching is so good." -- Farrell

Adam Gorney
West Recruiting Analyst

Mike Farrell
National Recruiting Director is your source for: College Football | Football Recruiting | College Basketball | Basketball Recruiting | College Baseball | High School | College Merchandise
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