Aside from the preparations for the Gator Bowl against Penn State, one of the areas most immediately impacted by Urban Meyer‘s stunning resignation/retirement is Florida’s recruiting efforts.
And, already, it appears the Gators have lost out on a player they were favored to add to the 17 verbal commitments they currently have in their pocket for the 2011 class.
Thomas County (Ga.) Central football coach Bill Shaver told USA Today that one of his players, defensive lineman Ray Drew, will likely cross the Gators off his list in the wake of Meyer’s departure. Drew is currently rated by Rivals.com as the No. 1 player in the country at his position.
“They’ll be out. Ray’s biggest draw to Florida was Urban Meyer,” Shaver told the paper. “His schools now are Clemson, Georgia, Auburn and LSU. At first he was hot and heavy to go to Florida, but they signed a lot of defensive linemen. But he and coach Meyer really hit it off well.”
The nation’s No. 1 pro-style quarterback, one of UF’s 17 verbals, has for now taken a wait-and-see approach to the turnover in Gainesville.
“I just heard about the press conference a minute ago,” Florida high school QB Jeff Driskel said. “I don’t even know if it’s true yet. I’ve established a good relationship with Coach Meyer. I’ve also established a good relationship with (quarterbacks) coach (Scott) Loeffler. That I’m interested to see how it plays out. I never really thought about (Meyer’s departure). I always assumed he would be there.”
Just a guess, but we’re thinking that, if somebody whose name rhymes with “Schman Schmullen” were hired in the coming days, he’d be able to solidify Driskel’s commitment without much effort. And a whole helluva lot of other commitments as well given his familiarity within both the state and the program.
Regardless of who it is, though, it would behoove athletic director Jeremy Foley to find Meyer’s replacement sooner rather than later. As far as recruiting goes, this is bad, bad, bad timing on Meyer’s part. You can almost hear the negative recruiting going on as I’m typing this.
Foley needs to stop the potential bleeding of the talent pipeline as soon as possible.
UPDATED 4:38 p.m. ET: Tampa running back Hunter Joyer, one of those 17 commitments, is remaining true to his verbal for now.
“I’m still solid with them,” Joyer told the Tampa Tribune. “I don’t know who will replace (Meyer) but I’m solid with my commitment