Florida’s Troubles Start with Meyer’s Recruiting

Urban Meyer

Urban Meyer was a great recruiter; there is no doubting that.  In 2005, the Gators had the 15th best recruiting class, 2006 the 2nd, 2007 the 1st, 2008 the 3rd, 2009 the 11th and 2010 the 1st (According to Rivals.com).

However, with the Gators 5-5 this season, many are quick to blame Will Muschamp, Dan Quinn and Charlie Weis for the Gators problems.

I argue, however, that despite great recruiting classes by Urban Meyer, he left the team depleted.

In order to back my claim I need to re-evaluate every player that has been signed from 2007 until now.


2007 (#1) – Graduated or Redshirt Seniors

Ahmad Black, S – Great career at UF. Graduated.
John Brantley, QB – Current starting QB
John Brown, DT – Transfer
Torrey Davis, DT – Transfer
Carlos Dunlap, DE – Great career at UF. NFL.
Lorenzo Edwards, LB – Minimal Impact at UF
Jerimy Finch, LB – Transfer
Joe Haden, DB – Great career at UF.  NFL
Chas Henry, P – Great career at UF. NFL.
Aaron Hernandez, TE – Great career at UF. NFL.
Brandon Hicks, LB – Solid career at UF. Graduated.
Jerry Howard, DE/DT – Redshirt senior. Starting DT.
Moses Jenkins, DB – Poor career at UF. Redshirt Senior.
John Jones, LB – Transfer.
Duke Lemmons, DE – Mediocre career at UF. Graduated.
Cameron Newton, QB – Transfer
Maurkice Pouncey, OL – Great career at UF. NFL.
Michael Pouncey, OL – Great career at UF. NFL.
Chris Rainey, RB – Starting RB. Redshirt Senior.
Deonte Thompson. WR – Stone hands. Starter for three years. Redshirt Senior.
Justin Trattou, DE – Solid career at UF. Graduated.
Bryan Waggener, QB – Transfer
Steve Wilks, DB – Little career at UF. Graduated.
Bo Williams, RB – Transfer
James Wilson, OL – Part-time starter. Redshirt Senior.
Paul Wilson, WR – Little career at UF. Graduated.
Major Wright, S – Great career at UF. NFL.

Review: Urban Meyer’s best class.  Seven players made it to the NFL. However, of those who are redshirt seniors: John Brantley has underperformed, James Wilson has underperformed, Deonte Thompson has underperformed and Moses Jenkins has underperformed.  Only Chris Rainey and Jay (Jerry) Howard have performed well of those still on UF roster. Three QBs recruited; two transfer.


2008 (#3) Senior or Redshirt Junior

Brendan Beal, LB – Transfer
Jeremy Brown, DB – Part-time starter. Injury prone.
Adrian Bushell, DB – Transfer
Jeffrey Demps, RB – Starter. Great career at UF.
Troy Epps, DT – Little career at UF. Graduated.
Dee Finley, LB – Went to JUCO; enrolled in 2009.
William Green, DE – Starter.
Frankie Hammond, Jr., WR – Part-time starter
Will Hill, S – Left for NFL
Omarius Hines, WR – Part-time starter
Omar Hunter, DT – Part-time starter
Janoris Jenkins, DB – Kicked off team. Transfer.
Byran Jones, DT – Transfer
T.J. Lawrence, WR – Transfer
Lerentee McCray, LB – Part-time starter
Carl Moore, WR – Graduated.
Earl Okine, DE – Little career at UF.
Matt Patchan, OL – Starting Offensive Line.
T.J. Pridemore, LB – Graduated.
Sam Robey, OL – Starting Center.
Caleb Sturgis, K – Starting Kicker
David Young, OL – Little career at UF.

Review: Of this class, only one player left for NFL (Will Hill). Five players have transferred. One player graduated early.  Only five players currently are full time starters.  Of those that did not transfer, David Young, TJ Pridemore and Troy Epps did not do much in their career at UF. No QBs recruited.


2009 (#11) Junior or Redshirt Sophomore

Nick Alajajian, OL – Little career at UF
Stephen Alli, WR – Little career at UF
Jon Bostic, LB – Starting LB.
Gary Brown, DT – Transfer.
Andre Debose, WR – Part-time starter
Joshua Evans, S – Part-time starter
Dee Finley, S – Transfer.
Mike Gillislee, RB – Part-time starter.
Jon Halapio, OL – Starting Offensive Line
Jonotthan Harrison, OL – Former starting Center
Edwin Herbert, DT – Transfer.
Jelani Jenkins, LB – Starting LB
Kedric Johnson, DE – Little impact at UF
Kyle Koehne, OL – Part-time starter on Offensive Line
Xavier Nixon, OL – Starter on Offensive Line
Desmond Parks, TE – No longer on team
Jordan Reed, QB – Moved to TE. Starter.

Review: Three transfers. Only five full-time starters. Nick Alajajian, Stephen Alli, Andre Debose, Kedric Johnson and Xavier Nixon have underperformed.  Edwin Herbert and Desmond Parks did not have any career at UF. Mike Gillislee has struggled with blocking and learning the offense. Jon Bostic and Jelani Jenkins only bright spots. One QB recruited and moved to TE.


2010 (#1) Sophomore or Redshirt Freshman

Gideon Ajagbe, LB – No impact.
Neiron Ball, DE – Non-football injury. No impact.
Mack Brown, RB – No impact.
Trey Burton, QB – Moved to TE. Struggling to find role.
Gerald Christian, TE – Transfer.
Robert Clark, TE – Transfer.
Adrian Coxson, WR – Transfer.
Jonathan Dowling, S – Transfer.
Quinton Dunbar, WR – Minimal Impact.
Chris Dunkley, WR – Transfer.
Dominique Easley, DT – Solid Starter.
Matt Elam, S – Great player.
Sharrif Floyd, DT – Solid starter.
Chaz Green, OL – Former starter.
Jordan Haden, DB – Transfer.
Darrin Kitchens, LB – Minimal impact.
Michael McFarland, TE – Transfer
Tyler Murphy, QB – No impact.
Leon Orr, OL – Minimal impact.
Ronald Powell, DE – Starter with little impact.
Cody Riggs, DB – Starter. Will be great for Gators.
Joshua Shaw, S – Starter. Decent.
Ian Silberman, OL – Minimal impact.
Michael Taylor, LB – Minimal impact.
Lynden Trail, DE – No impact.
Jaylen Watkins, DB – Starter with decent impact.

Review: Dubbed the “Best Recruiting Class Ever.”  Seven transfers. Six starters. Neiron Ball, Tyler Murphy, Gideon Ajagbe and Lynden Trail have had no career at UF. Ronald Powell and Mack Brown have underperformed.  Too early to judge many of these players.  One current QB recruited and one moved to TE/FB.


Final Review: It is quite clear and quite evident that while Meyer’s classes were great on paper, they left much to be desired. Twenty-two (22) players transferred. Nine players had no career or no legitimate playing time at UF. At least seven players have drastically played below their rankings. Six QBs were recruited, only two are currently on the roster as QBs, two are TEs and two transferred, leaving UF with a Redshirt Senior QB, a Redshirt Freshman QB and two Freshmen QBs. The Gators have struggled to recruit talented Wide Receivers. The Gators have struggled to find a “Power Running Back” that can block and knows the playbook.  The Gators have struggled mightily recruiting Defensive Ends. The Gators Offensive Line has been considered “small”. The Gators have struggled to recruit and retain blocking Tight Ends. UF currently only has 69 players on their roster (85 is the maximum).

It should be quite clear and quite evident why UF is playing poorly this year.  While UF owes Urban Meyer and staff a debt of gratitude, UF really struggled retaining and developing talent, especially for a “Pro-Style” Offense.

The Gators are currently on track for a top-3 recruiting class, but this is not a one-season fix.  There are MAJOR holes on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.  Please be patient with Will Muschamp and staff as they try to build depth AND develop talent.


Daniel Thompson is a graduate of the University of Florida, with degrees in Political Science and Economics. During his time as an Undergraduate, Thompson worked at the University of Florida Football Recruiting Office for three years. He can be found on Twitter @DK_Thompson and @SND_Gators and manages TheGatorsDaily.com.
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27 Responses to Florida’s Troubles Start with Meyer’s Recruiting

  1. great post. give muschamp some time to recruit. the talent deficiency is glaring, but we are a young team with a new scheme. next year we should play with much more technical skill, which would have one us at least 2-3 more games than this season. I still can’t believe that TD Rainey dropped, then a couple plays later we turn the ball over for UGA to take the lead. what a terrible turn of events!

  2. What fresh hell is this? says:

    Yes, surely poor recruiting must be the reason. It couldn’t possibly be that Muschump is better at giving guarantees than he is at coaching or that your self proclaimed genius/sack of shit OC is actually average at best…..seems to me he proved that by squandering several top recruiting classes at ND.

  3. Chris says:

    I know that Tyler Murphy has pretty much been forgotten, but Burton wasn’t the only QB recruited in the 2010 class

  4. Dan Thompson says:

    Thanks Chris. I have clarified in the article.

  5. Bevans78 says:

    I think that another part of the problem is that Meyer mailed it in for the last year and didnt bother to develop any quarterbacks because he knew that he was leaving. He would have done us a huge favor by quitting in 2009 when he wanted to instead of sleep walking through another season. He set us back two years by staying for one more.

    • Dave says:

      Exactly!!! In theory this would be year 2 of the Muschamp era with Brantley and the o-line (as well as the rest of the team for that matter) in the second year learning the new system. Also, we would already have a freshman class made up entirely of Muschamp’s recruits that might be contributing right now (the way Percy Harvin and Tim Tebow contributed as freshmen in Meyer’s second year on a National Championship team). Recruiting is an inexact science, and clearly Florida is down on pro-style talent. But more than that they are down on pure numbers. That’s completely due to Meyer staying that extra year and all the additional attrition of players leaving that occurred as a result.

  6. Scott in So Cal says:

    Thank you! Finally the answers I have been looking for. Meyer did many great things but he left a pretty empty cupboard for Muschamp to say the least.

  7. Jay says:

    What a load of crap. Meyer was the best coach UF will EVER see. On paper and in the record books he has no equal. He was worn down by the constant whining and nagging
    of fans and supporters while winning National Championships. Muschamp is a bad choice and a bad fit. In the next two years UF will be lucky not to finish last in the SEC East . Gators will wish they had Zook back. If you think UF issues are because Meyer stayed another year what do you think this year will do for recruiting?

  8. Dan Thompson says:

    Jay. I am sorry you disagree.

    I never disagreed about Meyer being a great coach. But the recruiting speaks for itself in regard to development and recruiting to build depth.

    It is not all Urban Meyers fault. I never said it was.

    UF will be fine with Muschamp.

  9. George Scarlett says:

    I agree with your blog, but you left off one glaring item. The character of many of those that were recruited. Many in trouble with the law and club house cancers. It takes it toll. There is no getting around the fact that many of them, because of their character flaws should never have been offered a scholarship.

  10. NOLEFAN1 says:

    I have been telling Gates what you posted for 2 years now. You are thin on talent and basically on probation with all the guys arrested that transferred. It feels like the Gates have scholarship limitations due to the lack of depth. Thnx for pointing it out. In fact my Rivals Fan Page say and I quote, “I see the Gates are now up to 13 (4*) & 8 (5*) lost since 2009. (Scout rankings) Ouch! That is like a whole class almost since Cam Newton left.” :p (updated 10/25/11)

    That said, as a Nole I hope Jabba the Cheeseburger Weis, Muschump, and whatever you DC’s name is stick around for at least a decade. They are great! 😉 Muschump looks like a lost puppy dog with 5 minutes left in the 4th and makes stupid decisions that cost you some games imo.

  11. Trey Davis says:

    Meyer is the best coach that we have ever had at Florida! Every school that he coached at has a good story to tell as a result of his coaching! Muschamp and the boys have sold the Gator Nation a bill of goods! ND was poor at best under Weis!!!! That’s why they ran him out! We have a rookie head coach, rookie DC, and sorry OC! Zook did a much better job his first year with absolutely no talent! To suggest that Meyer did the program a big injustice is simply false! Wake up Nation! This experiment will continue to fail if we keep going down this path!

    Get out while you can!

    Fire Muschamp!!!

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