GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Will Muschamp has hit the spring speaking tour around the state, he has pegged Matt Jones as Florida's breakout player in 2013, Billy Donovan adds a transfer who could play right away and has himself positioned well early on for a 2014 five-star power forward. That and more in this Saturday's Swamp Chomp.
Florida coach Will Muschamp appears to have an iron grasp on what he wants the Gators to become.
*** MUSCHAMP THE MACHINE MARCHING STATE, RALLYING TROOPS ***
Sitting in on Will Muschamp's first Gator Club appearance of the circuit on Wednesday night, one thing was crystal clear moments in. Muschamp is locked in with a laser-like focus.
At the TitleTown Gator Club in Gainesville, he spoke for almost 25 minutes uninterrupted breaking down his roster and explaining offseason hires and more in front of a mostly enraptured audience of about 400 fans.
Bottom line: This dude is dialed in.
"This is a four-prong process," Muschamp said. "It’s evaluation, it’s recruiting, it’s development, and it’s coaching."
Real quickly -- if those are the four parts of the process, Florida appears to be in darn fine shape under Will Muschamp.
Muschamp's players, the ones he has recruited and coached up, figure to make up a huge portion of the contributing roster in 2013. Guys like Matt Jones, D.J. Humphries, Max Garcia, Tyler Moore, Jonathan Bullard, Dante Fowler and Antonio Morrison are all players Muschamp recruited who look to be future stars.
Cross evaluation, recruiting and development off that list. Muschamp's got those on lock.
RB Matt Jones has people around the program giddy with anticipation about what he can do.
So now it all boils down to coaching. Muschamp's on-field coaching left a little to be desired in his first two years, but if he learns as quickly there as he has in the other three parts of the process...
Well, let's just say those troops he's rallying now will show up in full force real soon.
*** SPEAKING OF MATT JONES... ***
One of the questions that caught our attention from Muschamp's first stop was this: If you had to pick one player to break out this year, who would it be?
"One player to break out this year? That's very difficult to say, but I would probably say Matt Jones just based on his offseason, his spring practice, his preparation throughout the spring," Muschamp answered.
Muschamp's always been pretty straightforward, but even in answering this question, he seems to be downplaying the expectations for Jones.
Based on what we've heard around the program, there's a good chance Matt Jones is one of the top three backs in the SEC next season. That list includes guys like Todd Gurley, T.J. Yeldon, LaDarius Perkins and Trey Mason.
Each of those guys rushed for more than 1,000 yards in 2012. The buzz around the team now isn't whether Jones will crack 1,000 yards in 2013 ... it's how much he'll crack it by.
Eli Carter is expected to be granted an NCAA waiver for immediate eligibility, but will he still have to fight for minutes?
Simply put, people around the program are expecting a monster year out of Jones.
"He's a guy that I think you've seen his body change, you've seen the commitment level he has of what we're trying to do," Muschamp said. "Very pleased with his progress."
*** CARTER IN, OGBUEZE OUT -- WHERE DO THE MINUTES COME FROM? ***
Florida added Rutgers transfer Eli Carter this week, while Braxton Ogbueze opted to transfer out from the program. Florida now has 12 scholarship players, several of which are expected to contribute next season.
At this point, though, you start to wonder where the minutes come from.
Here are the players that could be major contributors (working on the assumption that Carter is going to be granted an NCAA waiver to play immediately, which is what we're hearing right now): Scottie Wilbekin, Kasey Hill, Michael Frazier II, Eli Carter, Casey Prather, Dorian Finney-Smith, Will Yeguete, Chris Walker, Damontre Harris and Patric Young.
Lost count yet? That was 10 guys.
The only time Donovan has had a rotation that deep in the last decade was 2004-05, when he played 10 players for at least 10 minutes per game. However, three of those players averaged less than 13 minutes per game.
Five-star small forward Kevon Looney has some early interest in Florida.
For the past five years, Florida has played a rotation of only seven to eight guys averaging at least 10 minutes per game.
Basically, Billy Donovan's going to have one of his deepest teams ever (certainly possible) or someone in that above list of names isn't going to play as much as we think. The answer probably falls somewhere in the middle.
Who that player (or players) will be is anyone's guess. But almost certainly somebody's not going to be thrilled next season.
*** LOONEY SINGING FLORIDA TUNES? ***
The 2014 recruiting class for basketball isn't all that great. Simply put, there's nowhere near the level of talent across the board as there was in 2013.
Florida needs to fill some needs, and the Gators appear to be in good shape early on for 2014 five-star small forward Kevon Looney.
Looney had this to say about Florida at the 2013 Bill Hensley Memorial Run-N-Slam Tournament. Thanks to our Indiana site for the scoop!
"I have a great relationship with Florida. They came in about two weeks ago. They stressed how important I was to them, so it was a great visit."
In a class lacking a lot of star power, the Gators are going to have to really blow the doors of his recruitment to land him. But they've got a foot in the door, and Donovan has had his fair share of success with five-star prospects lately.
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