The best recruiters in Miami, Florida, FSU? Has USF given up on Tampa? mail sack from the sunshine state

With less than a week to go until the next signing period, there may not be many more additions to the rosters in Florida, Florida State and Miami other than those added through the transfer portal.

That’s not to say you don’t have some general questions. Let’s get to them.

Who is the fourth best team in terms of recruiting in Florida? Who is the best recruiter for each roster (Florida, Florida State and Miami) other than the head coach? —Curtis H.

Clearly, the answer is UCF to your first question, Curtis.

If you look at the 2023 scouting rankings on 247Sports, Miami offensive line coach Alex Mirabal (#7), Florida co-defensive coordinator Sean Spencer (#14) and Florida receivers coach Florida State, Ron Dugans (#27) were ranked highest. last cycle.

However, most experts would tell you that Mario Cristóbal is the anchor of Miami’s recruiting efforts. I did an opinion poll among beat writers, talent scouts, and analysts, and they all agreed that Cristóbal is the one. When I pushed for the names of Miami’s personnel, tight ends coach Stephen Field, running backs coach Kevin Smith, linebackers coach Charlie Strong, defenses coach Jahmile Addae, defensive analyst DeMarcus Van Dyke and Mirabal all received something. of affection But there was no clear number 1.

At Florida State, offensive coordinator Alex Atkins received the most love with veteran defensive line coach Odell Haggins and co-defensive coordinator Randy Shannon receiving recognition.

In Florida, it was defensive backs coach Corey Raymond who was the overwhelming selection.

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What is the timeline, who are the central figures in the Jaden Rashada-Florida saga?

Is the Jaden Rashada situation the first in the new era of NIL, or just the most public and costly failure? Also, I read that Rashada’s deal was a four-year deal, the supposed $13 million to be paid out over the course of that time. In addition to finding it hard to believe that such a number could be coupled with four years to pay it off, wouldn’t you think there would also be a clause to decrease that number if he paid the NFL bailout a year early? —Elliot T.

It’s definitely the most public, Elliot, considering that all these talks about money and recruits had always been kept private until NIL came along. But is it the first mistake involving a recruit not having his financial needs met? I’d say no. We’ve seen interesting last-second changes over time, and I’m sure money played a role in at least some of those scenarios.

As for the structure of NIL contracts, all of them, if drawn up by professional lawyers and approved by a university board whose job it is to review such agreements, are written in a way that groups and students protect themselves in the event of a breach or if certain requirements are not met. So yes, it’s safe to assume Florida wouldn’t have had to pay the full amount if Rashada’s stay in Gainesville had been only three years.

Is the prolific use of the portal by the state of Florida hurting the recruitment of top high school players who want to play sooner rather than later? —Todd T.

Excellent question Todd, and while on the surface your thought process makes perfect sense, recent results along the way suggest otherwise. First, some facts. Since Mike Norvell took over as coach (and beginning with the recruiting class of 2020), FSU has signed 73 high school recruits, two players from the junior college ranks, and 45 transfers. So the high school recruits haven’t been scared off. In fact, Norvell has signed eight top-tier recruits in the 2023 cycle, more than each of his first three recruiting classes, suggesting that highly touted prospects are buying more after the 10-win season. of FSU.

Here’s something to keep in mind, though: 17 of the 39 high school recruits from the first two recruiting classes have already accessed the portal, including nine of the 14 top-tier prospects the Seminoles signed in the classes of 2020. and 2021. That’s not a good look. He also wouldn’t lose 2022 top pick Sam McCall to Texas A&M this offseason. Now, if FSU continues to win and progress, no one will care how Norvell does. But it’s fair to at least be alert to the fact that this roster hasn’t had many shining examples of Norvell high school recruits becoming stars.

Left tackle Robert Scott leads the way with 29 career starts. Cornerback Kevin Knowles has started 18 games. And linebacker DJ Lundy had 11 of his 13 career starts in 2021. But that’s it for the double-digit starters among Norvell’s recruits still on the team. Again, if FSU wins, the recruits won’t care how Norvell is doing. It’s obvious that the class of 2024 is in love with what happened last season. FSU has five top-tier players among the cycle’s opening eight commitments (and one non-top-tier is a kicker).

What are the Canes going to do to land an experienced QB as insurance for next season? Really disappointed that they didn’t attract a top portal transfer. Jake Garcia transferred to Missouri, ex-engagement Jaden Rashada is Kryptonite, and incoming freshman Emory Williams is green. Unless Tyler Van Dyke and Jacurri Brown stay injury-free, and show a miraculous turnaround from last season, we’re in deep poop! – Ray.

Cristobal needs to figure out who his offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach will be before combing the transfer portal for possible additions.

Look, I know it’s going to take a while to get used to this new portal schedule, but it’s still very early in the roster building process for the 2023 season. Why? Because we should expect a lot of movement across the country after spring football. A good one should be available, and by then we should have a better understanding of the coaching staff.

Any new potential QB signings for UCF? Having a converted WR at QB who might miss spring practice due to the baseball season is not the most ideal situation before Big 12 Year 1. — Christopher S.

Not a fan of John Rhys Plumlee, Chris? Obviously, the offensive coordinator change makes Plumlee’s decision to play baseball this spring a little more interesting than it would have been without a coaching change. As it is, Plumlee has told UCF reporters that he plans to play football and baseball this spring with the teams reportedly trying to fit his schedule by practicing at different times.

I will say this, if Gus Malzahn thought he needed a quarterback, a move would have been made by now. He appears to be happy with USF transfer Timmy McClain and future sophomore Thomas Castellanos vying for Plumlee. This sounds like a “We’ll wait and see what happens this spring and go from there” scenario. The most interesting thing to watch will be Plumee’s state of health and his hamstring. He spent the last month of the season dealing with it, and a heavy workload this spring might not be in his best interest.

USF largely abandoned recruiting from the Tampa area under Jeff Scott. Will that change with Alex Golesh? —David W.

Based on a couple of brief conversations I had with Tampa-area 7v7 coaches last weekend at the Battle Miami tournament, I’d say there’s some confidence that it’s already happening. But let’s step back for a second and think about what USF would look like if Golesh turns the Bulls into a Group of 5 powerhouse.

Take this, for example: If USF signed every frontline recruit within 80 miles of campus in the 2023 cycle, the Bulls would have drawn five five-star recruits (running backs Keon Keeley and Damon Wilson, tackle Francis Mauigoa and cornerbacks Cormani McClain and Desmond Ricks) and 19 other four-star recruits, including six top 100 players (running backs Samuel M’Pemba, Gabriel Harris and Jayden Wayne, receivers Carnell Tate and Tyler Williams and linebacker Troy Bowles). Those 11 aforementioned recruits would have made the 16th-best recruiting class in the country alone, slightly better than where USF’s transition class under Golesh (92) sits.

So there is a lot of talent at hand and a vision of what USF could be in a dream setting.

Here’s a fact: The highest-ranked player Golesh signed within weeks of landing the job was three-star cornerback Jarvis Lee from Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy, ranked 941st nationally, 133rd in the state. and the top 36 (by my count) of players within an 80-mile drive of campus.

In his three seasons at USF, Scott signed 36 transfers and 39 high school recruits. Of the high school recruits, only eight played within 100 miles of campus. The highest ranked of those eight: 2022 three-star receiver Javohn Thomas of Tampa (Fla.) Sickles, who was No. 1,385 in his cycle. So, early on, Golesh already did something Scott didn’t: He signed a prospect who was ranked in the top 1,000 nationally and was just a short drive from campus. In fact, he signed two, if you count Tampa (Fla.) three-star offensive lineman James Jenkins (No. 967) Carrollwood Day. He attends high school 8 miles from USF and also signed last month.

Look, the only way we’ll really know if Golesh is changing the narrative is if he hires guys from the Tampa area in a full recruiting cycle. Landing all five stars of 2024 from the area, such as Sarasota Riverview cornerback Charles Lester III or any elite player from the IMG Academy, is a tall order. Scott signed only seven top-1,000 high school recruits in his time there (including one top-500). But dabbling in places like Tampa Wharton, Catholic, Jesuit and Carrollwood Day shouldn’t be difficult for Golesh.

(Mario Cristobal Photo: Eric Espada/Getty Images)