The State of the Swamp – 5/28/13

A look at the past week in the land of the Florida Gators.

I embark on a new mission. One which consists of scheduled articles that actually post when promised. As discussed many times in the past, these types of posts don’t make it very far here at The Bull Gator. Life has a way of wanting your attention just when you sit down to let you mind focus on the task at hand. Over the past 10 and a half months, life has been a blessing for me. I have spent that time with the most amazing son a man could ask for. Lil’ TBG is doing well and making me smile every day.

They say you make sacrifices when you enter the world of parenthood. For me, that sacrifice has been this website. That’s not a complaint; it’s actually a sacrifice I would make over and over and over again. I’m fine with that, even if that does mean less time with my outlet for all things Florida Gators. But time and time again, I come crawling back to the comfort of this now five-year-old blog. This is one of those times.

I hope to turn The State of the Swamp into a weekly column in which I take a look at recent orange and blue news and offer my opinion. I wouldn’t put money on it popping up every Monday if I were you, but I’m taking my shot. At the least, I can offer this one piece. At the best…well, we have yet to see what the best might be. With that, here’s the first of The State of the Swamp.

Dominique Easley - Florida Gators

Happy Memorial Day. I’m a day behind, hence the reason for this piece posting on a Tuesday and not a Monday. I hope you all had a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend. For those that made the ultimate sacrifice for this great country, our hats are off and are hearts are with you.

David Lee, All-NBA. I’ll move outside of The Swamp for the first bit of Gator news. (That’s something that’s not new here, but will continue. Men’s basketball right alongside football.) The Golden State Warriors forward made the All-NBA team for the first time in his career. Lee was named to the third team after averaging 18.5 points and 11.2 rebounds. He also led the NBA with 56 double-doubles over the course of the regular season. Lee was the first Warrior named to the All-NBA team since the 1993-94 season and the first to lead the league in double-doubles since 1963-64. With Lee and others like Bradley Beal, Al Horford and Joakim Noah performing night in and night out in the NBA, the Gainesville to the pros pipeline looks alive and well. Kudos to Lee on a great season. One that saw the Warriors in the playoffs for the first time since 2006-07.

Two decommitments in five days. Christian Miller and Ryeshene Bronson are no longer members of the Gators’ 2014 football recruiting class. In a span of five days, both decommitted from Florida. Miller’s decommitment stings the most because it could be considered a true decommitment. However, don’t count out Miller just yet. Florida is still in the picture along with Alabama, South Carolina and Tennessee. Miller believes he reacted a little too soon and would like to take some more time to think about his final decision. Bronson, on the other hand, may have been a forced decommitment. There were concerns over the academic side of things with the wide receiver and many believe when new WR coach Joker Phillips recently visited Bronson it was to tell the recruit that he should look elsewhere. Expect the Gators to fight long and hard for Miller, but we’ve probably heard the last of Bronson being associated with the class.

Take two away, bring one in. While the Gators lost Miller and Bronson, they were hard at work adding a tight end to the class. C’Yontai Lewis–a TE from Tuscaloosa, AL–committed to Florida ($), becoming the eighth member of the 2014 class. 247Sports gives Lewis three stars while Rivals gives the TE two. While Lewis’s rankings may not impress, his 6’5″, 212-pound frame has Florida interested. He could be a climber and won’t be the only TE the Gators look to add to the class. It doesn’t hurt that Lewis’s cousin is Bo Scarbrough, one of the nation’s top athlete prospects. Scarbrough is committed to Alabama, but will visit Florida this summer. I’m not extremely confident we can pull him from the Crimson Tide, but Lewis’s commitment at least cracks open the door.

Jarran Reed isn’t coming to Gainesville. Yet. The junior college defensive tackle won’t be joining his classmates in Gainesville for the Summer B semester, but Reed plans on making his way to Florida eventually. Reed is 25 credit hours short from earning his AA. Those required hours will keep him at East Mississippi Community College through December, but he’s confident he will one day be a Gator. We should see the DT in orange and blue one day, but not as soon as we may have once thought.

It’s going to be a hot one. Those of you planning to make the trip to Miami to watch the Gators take on the Hurricanes on September 7 better be prepared for the heat. Due to a NASCAR event and another choice for the night game, ESPN has put Florida and Miami in the noon slot. It’s going to be a little toasty, so keep the water coming for this one. Although those of you attending the season opener in Gainesville against Toledo won’t have any sympathy for those making the drive south. Kickoff time hasn’t been announced for the opener, but there’s a good chance it will be an early game as well.

Urban Meyer doesn’t regret leaving Florida, but regrets the way he did so. Meyer’s departure will continue to come up as long as he’s still involved with college football. The Ohio State head coach recently said that the way it all happened wasn’t ideal, but it was time to move on. We just can’t quit you Urban Meyer. Or, actually, we can. And most of us have. I won’t bring up the Meyer debate yet again, but as we enter year three with Will Muschamp at the helm, we have other things to think about.

2013 Football Recruiting: Florida Gators NSD Ends With Two Commits

If you watched any portion of National Signing Day, you saw coverage dominated by late-risers in the recruiting rankings, as the likes of Alabama, Ole Miss, Ohio State, and others dominated the late NSD decisions.

You didn’t see as much from the Florida Gators (The number 1 recruiting class on ESPN at the beginning of the broadcast) as you thought you would have. And, despite the fact that many of you would categorize that as “Boring,” it doesn’t necessarily suggest anything to make the Gators’ recruiting class anything less than great.

Let’s look at the Gators’ commitments on National Signing Day. Will Muschamp’s day started well with defensive tackle Jay-nard Bostwick from Port Saint Lucie, Florida near Miami. The Gators won this battle against mainly Miami and Alabama.

Below is Bostwick’s commitment. Listen to the interview after if you don’t think that playing in the SEC impacts some of these recruits.

In Bostwick, Florida gets a somewhat raw defensive tackle who has only been playing football for a few years. At 280 pounds, Bostwick already has some of the size needed to be a DT in the NFL, and the next few years will be spent building more muscle (Jeff Dillman), while adding technique (Bryant Young).

And here are some highlights from Bostwick’s junior year:

While many of Florida’s commitments were sending in their LOIs, there was a rumor that Tashawn Bower, an Auburn commit had sent his LOI to the Gators. He was widely thought by many to be headed to either Auburn or Florida, but in the end, none of those rumors proved to be true. And, well, Bower chose LSU.

The next news for the Gators came in the afternoon when another DT, this time a JUCO from East Mississippi Community College, Jarran Reed picked the Gators over Ole Miss and Alabama. EMCC continues to be very good to the Gators, where Florida gets DTs Reed and Darious Cummings this year, and where they got immediate-impact Damien Jacobs from last year.

After National Signing Day, the Florida Gators signed the No. 2 punter in the nation Ryan Townsend, who had been previously committed to Ohio State. And not long before that, OL/TE Trevon Young determined that he wished to be a Gator when he decided against a scholarship offer to play basketball, his true passion, at Eckerd College. Young is VERY raw, so we’ll see how his development at Florida goes.

The Florida Gators’ 2013 recruiting class, should end up at a final number of 30, the most in school history. But the Gators didn’t just add depth for no reason. With recruits at nearly ever position on the team, the Gators filled their needs well with talent that could serve as a building block for future Will Muschamp teams. Though time will tell, this years recruiting class looks like it could end up being one of the bests in school history.

Fox Force Five: 2013 Recruiting Cycle Coming To An End For The Florida Gators

Florida Gators commentary in five parts, as in there’s one, two, three, four, five of them.

It all comes to an end on Wednesday. The Florida Gators will announce their 2013 football recruiting class and that will close to door on another hard-fought cycle. Commits came early and often and, as the class currently stands, things are looking up. The Gators are always a player in the world of recruiting and this year is no different. But coming off of a season when expectations were exceeded accelerates the future and has us looking for big things in 2013—on the field and off.

Jaynard Bostwick

Here are just a few of the stories still being written.

1. Mainland (Daytona Beach, FL) linebacker Quinton Powell was a Gator and then he wasn’t. In the weeks following his decommitment, he again became a possibility for the Gators. Then suddenly James Hearns was out of the picture and many thought Powell was a lock to choose the orange and blue again. That may have been the case as he was down to Florida and Southern Cal. Well, Powell is no more. Over the weekend, he was told by head coach Will Muschamp that the Gators don’t have a spot for him. Powell was disappointed, but also understands the business side of recruiting and college football. Florida has moved on and now Powell will too.

2. West Centennial (Port Saint Lucie, FL) defensive tackle Jaynard Bostwick will announce at 8:00am on National Signing Day. The DT will decide between Alabama, Florida and Miami. Bostwick’s high school coach has said that Bostwick thinks highly of all three and that nothing would surprise him. Considered an early Miami lean, some think the Gators now have the best shot. Bostwick would be a fine addition along the defensive line.

3. Also on the defensive line is Immaculata (Somerville, NJ) defensive end Tashawn Bower. Bower is committed to Auburn, but it’s considered to be a very, VERY soft verbal. He has received a Letter of Intent from the Gators and will announce a decision on Wednesday between Auburn and Florida. Behind the scenes, the Florida coaching staff if very confident they can get Bower to make the switch. Many believe he will end up in a different shade of orange and blue and come to Gainesville in the end. Don’t count out the Tigers just though as Bower never technically decommitted.

4. Might as well stick with the defensive line for one more. East Mississippi CC (Scooba, MS) JUCO defensive tackle Jarran Reed is down to Alabama and Florida. The Gators may hold the advantage and are hoping Reed will join his former teammate Darious Cummings in Gainesville. Reed isn’t a lock, but with the Gators pushing hard, the stars are aligning for Florida.

5. Also announcing on NSD will be New Smyrna Beach (New Smyrna Beach, FL) wide receiver James Clark. Clark is down to Clemson, Florida and Ohio State and will announce his decision at 9:00am. For a while, it seemed the Buckeyes posed the biggest challenge to the Gators, but that may now be the Tigers. Clark would make a great addition to an already impressive wide receiver class.