Muschamp already hitting recruiting trail hard

By Adam Silverstein
December 14, 2010

With the current Florida Gators coaching staff worrying about the 2011 Outback Bowl (and their jobs) and the Texas Longhorns out of bowl game contention, new Florida head coach Will Muschamp was able to focus on retaining the Gators’ 2011 recruiting class immediately after taking the position on Saturday. Making plenty of phone calls while traveling for in-home visits and to round out his staff, Muschamp has already made an impression on a number of prospects.

COMMIT – Five/four-star quarterback Jeff Driskel (Oviedo, FL): In Gainesville, FL, last weekend for an official visit, Driskel received a call from Muschamp and continues to be fully committed. He will enroll early in January.

COMMIT – Four-star cornerback Nick Waisome (Groveland, FL): Having made it a point to say that he remains “100 percent committed to Florida,” Waisome received calls from and decided to accept visits to Florida State, LSU and South Carolina after head coach Urban Meyer stepped down. He has since only visited FSU and plans to go back to UF this upcoming weekend to meet Muschamp. Also an early enrollee, Waisome will likely stick with the Gators unless something goes horribly wrong in the meeting.

RECRUIT – Four-star wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin (Belle Glade, FL): After visiting Tallahassee, FL, during the weekend of the Florida State-Florida game, Benjamin turned his attention toward FSU, canceled his planned UF visit and decided to announce his commitment on Thursday. However, he spoke with Muschamp Monday evening and has decided to delay his announcement at least one full month so he can take his originally scheduled visit to Gainesville on Jan. 14. Benjamin will also pay another visit to Florida State and take a trip to Miami (FL) as well.

COMMIT – Four-star linebacker Ryan Shazier (Plantation, FL): Muschamp made it a point to immediately visit Shazier, who remains a verbal to UF but opened up his recruitment to LSU and Ohio State when Meyer resigned. OSU head coach Jim Tressel has already paid a visit to Shazier, and he will reciprocate on Thursday by heading to Columbus, OH. He plans to announce his decision on Friday but was impressed with Muschamp when he visited. “He talked about the type of staff he wants to put together, and the type of team he wants to put on the field at Florida,” Shazier told Scout. “He’s in the process of deciding who he is going to keep, and who he might bring in. It was the first time I’d ever met Coach Muschamp, and he has a lot of passion for the job. Coach Muschamp and Coach Meyer are the same in their approach, but they are different in coaching styles. Coach Muschamp is a defensive coach, and his specialty is the linebacker position, and I really like that. I liked Coach Meyer, but I believe I’m more in tune with Coach Muschamp. Tonight’s visit with Florida kind of clarified things for me, and it helped being able to speak to the head coach.”

Read who else Muschamp has already made an impression on…after the break!

COMMIT – Four-star defensive end Clay Burton (Venice, FL): Solidly committed to the Gators, Burton may not have needed any reassurance, but he got it over the weekend when he received a call from Muschamp while on the University of Florida campus. He will enroll in January. “I talked with him last night and he seemed really cool,” Burton said. “He’s a great college coach and I am glad he’s a defensive guy.”

COMMIT – Four-star safety Chris Johnson (Ocala, FL): Another solid commitment seemingly no matter what, Johnson was still impressed when he heard Muschamp was hired. “I just read the paper and got some good background on Coach Muschamp,” Johnson said. “He comes from a great coaching background and he has accomplished a lot. Hopefully we will win a national championship. I will learn, listen and support Coach Muschamp. Mr. [Jeremy] Foley made a great hire. I am solid, excited and happy.” Though it is not known if the two spoke, Johnson appears quite pleased.

COMMIT – Four-star defensive back Louchiez Purifoy (Pensacola, FL): Having planned other recruiting trips in order to see what else is out there prior to head coach Urban Meyer resigning, Purifoy will still take those visits but was happy with what Muschamp had to tell him on Sunday. “He said he’s still committed to me,” Purifoy said. “He seemed like a good person but I honestly don’t know too much about him. I haven’t done any research yet. He did say that he will be his own defensive coordinator. I just need to get to know him. Right now I would still say that I am committed to Florida.”

COMMIT – Four-star running back Mike Blakely (Bradenton, FL): One of the recruits Florida fans are most excited about aside from Driskel, Blakely is more concerned about who is position coach is at this point in time. “My initial reaction is that I see that he’s a good coach although I don’t know much about him yet,” Blakely said. “[RB coach Stan] Drayton said he’s cool. I am trying to speak with him soon or do an in-home visit. I am graduating this Friday so now I just want to get an in-home soon so I can try and get to know him a little.” Blakely plans to enroll in January as of press time; it is not known if he has spoken with Muschamp yet.

RECRUIT – Four-star defensive end Anthony Chickilo (Tampa, FL): Ever since Randy Shannon was fired at Miami, Florida has been hot after Chickilo. With Muschamp now in the fold, the team is expected to pursue him even harder. “I don’t know much about Coach Muschamp other than he was the Texas defensive coordinator,” Chickilo told ESPN. “I don’t know him as a person or how he will run the program. I look forward to meeting him and see if they are going to recruit me.”

COMMITS – Three-star offensive linemen Chase Hounshell (Kirtland, OH) and Tommy Jordan (Ridgefield, CT), two-star kicker Kyle Christy (Brownsburg, IN) and three-star fullback Hunter Joyer (Tampa, FL): All four players have expressed their commitment to the Gators is strong and have said they are excited about the Muschamp hire, at least two of the four have spoken to him.

Photo Credit: Thomas Bender/Sarasota Herald-Tribune

15 Comments

  1. Mr2Bits says:

    I knew Waisome would be tough to hold on to. He would be a moron to jump ship and head to defensive soft FSU. With Blacks departure and most likely Jenkins, now is the time for some studs to step up and fill both corner spots and backup Elam at safety.

    My main concern is getting an offensive and defensive coordinator in place ASAP. Not doing so is going to scare these kids especially the offense and the ruins it is in now. The sooner the better so these kids know what to expect.

    Lastly, I’d be really surprised if we landed Benjamin. I think the sad WR performance and handling of Debose last year is going to keep stud receivers far away from our program until we can prove otherwise.

  2. npgator says:

    Good job Adam! Coach Muschamp is a great recruiter and I think we have a shot at getting Ray Drew now.

  3. brlgator says:

    If we land KSmart the D recruits will be rolling in to the ville.

    Having said that (ala curb your enthusiasm) I expect smart to stay with Bama. Despite having to work under saban, I cant imagine him jumping ship for a lateral position even if the HC would be your buddy.

    Bama can still throw as much $ and a similar assoc. HC title at him like we can so I expect him stay but hope he takes I-10 east to gville.

    just a gut feeling…

  4. Denver Gator says:

    The quote in the Louchiez Purifoy bit, “He did say that he will be his own defensive coordinator”, leads me in the direction that he knows Smart is staying put. I would much rather throw some money at an OC but would of course be happy to have Smart on staff for a year or two before he gets a head coaching job.

  5. Gatorbuc15 says:

    Awesome job so far by Mus’chomp’!

  6. Gatorgrad79 says:

    Boom, Boom, Boom,.. Boom, Boom, Boom, eveybody go boom, boom, boom…

  7. Ken says:

    If he is telling the defensive recruits that he will be h is own D-Coord, doesn’t that pretty much stop the rumors that Smart is heading to G-ville? What exactly would his duties be? Even if named “Assistant head coach” or something like that, what would he do if Muschamp is giong to be the DC?

  8. Gatorbuc15 says:

    boom?

  9. qnt82 says:

    gatorbuc-

    Coach WM’s nickname is Coach “Boom” due to his high energy and enthusiasm.

  10. G8RGR8 says:

    NO his nick name is “Slick Willie”……. because just like getting caught, getting dirty in the Oval office… He pulled off the the Slickest move in history!!!!!

  11. npgator says:

    Slick Willie? Not sure I get what you are saying. If you are suggesting that he is not qualified then I guess you are a lot smarter than everyone else who has endorsed him. NOT!

  12. G8RGR8 says:

    NP
    I don’t know maybe you don’t have TV or access to ESPN. If you did you would have noticed that every one of the experts said “Jermey Foley has the luxury to wait and find a coach that had HEAD coaching expeience. Only 1 person had Muschamp in there Top 5, Jermey Foley, and he had him #1. (That is what I was refering to as “the Slickest move”) He now has the Greatest Job in College football!!! IMO He is a great coach and I love his energy and I think WM and UF are both blessed! Did you get that or do I need to speak even slower for you!!!

  13. gatorfan4life says:

    hey does any one have a clue who might be the next
    Oc

  14. gatorfan4life says:

    wel I agree and if we can get a great offense cordinator I
    think we can start recruiting but if we wait we are going to miss
    out on these recruit

  15. gatorfan4life says:

    wel I agree and if we can get a great offense cordinator I
    think we can start recruiting but if we wait we are going to miss
    out on these recruit WELL I THINK WE NEED A BIG NAME OC WE HAVE A
    COACH THAT REALLY NO ONE NEW BEFORE SO WE NEED SOME ONE WHO WILL
    MAKE THE RECRUITS ON OFFENSE SAY I REALLY WANT TO PLAY FOR HIM AND
    WE NEED SOME WHO IS NOT AFFRAID TO AIIIR IT OUT WE LIKE HIGH FLING
    FOOTBAL IN FLORIDA MUSCHAMP DONT HIRE NO CHUMPS GET THE GUY FROM
    BOISE OR SOME BODY LIKE THAT MUSCHAMP SHOULD KEEP THE DEFENSE
    CORDINATOR WE HAVE OVER ALL THEY DID A GREAT JOB FOR THE GATORS FOR
    THIER FIRST YEAR AND HE NEEDS TO BE HEAD COACH AND HE CAN ADD HIS
    INPUT TO MAKE THEM EVEN BETTER HOPE MUSCHAMS READING SOME OF THESE
    WE ALL LOVE FOLEYS PIC BUT LETS MAKE GATORS PROUD AND GET US A GOOD
    OC

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