Zach’s Mail Stack: Recruits are concerned with Gators’ coaching search, not their record

“Zach’s Mail Stack” is a weekly mailbag with SEC Country reporter Zach Abolverdi, who has covered Florida Gators recruiting since 2010. This week Abolverdi gives his thoughts on how Florida’s losing record and coaching search will impact the Gators’ 2018 class. 

Abolverdi: Florida’s record and postseason play might matter if Jim McElwain still coached the Gators and his entire staff was returning next season.

Another year of offensive struggles and off-the-field distractions — coupled with a losing season and hot-seat talk — would have been a red flag for recruits if no coaching changes were made.

But with McElwian out and a new staff coming in — save for possibly a few current assistants — recruits are about to see the Florida football program change at its foundation. So the results of this season are irrelevant.

Recruits want to know who the next UF coach will be and when it’s going to happen. The Florida-FSU game will draw interest, but Gators commits and targets won’t care if the team doesn’t make the Birmingham Bowl.

Abolverdi: It is pretty astonishing, Dennis.

I expect the Gators to eventually have a couple de-commitments because that’s just natural during a coaching transition. A few Florida commits are already taking visits and making sure they have a back-up plan in place.

But it’s certainly a positive sign that no class members have backed off their pledges yet. Many of them have said they committed to the school and not the staff, but those relationships still matter. If the new coach cleans house and doesn’t retain anybody, that could cause a few commits to waver.

I’ve said before that Gators QB commit Matt Corral is the glue keeping Florida’s class together, but interim coach Randy Shannon, the assistants and recruiting staffers are pulling their weight as well and staying in contact with prospects.

I think Corral will stick with the Gators if they hire UCF coach Scott Frost. If he’s on board that hire or another candidate, many recruits will follow his lead.

Abolverdi: I got so many questions this week about the coaching search, so here are my thoughts on the candidates.

Most recruits, players and fans would be happy with any of the guys in my top 5. Frost, USF’s Charlie Strong and Oregon’s Willie Taggart would best hires from a recruiting standpoint, but I think the personalities and pedigree of Matt Campbell (Iowa State) and Mike Norvell (Memphis) would both do well on the trail for Florida.

I don’t expect Chip Kelly or Dan Mullen to happen, so they’re not included below.

Scott Frost: 60 percent

Mike Norvell: 20 percent

Charlie Strong: 10 percent

Willie Taggart: 5 percent

Matt Campbell: 5 percent ($9.4 million buyout)

The post Zach’s Mail Stack: Recruits are concerned with Gators’ coaching search, not their record appeared first on SEC Country.

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