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.