Saturday, August 02, 2008

Zook's last class a dud?

There was an article in the Gainesville Sun about Ron Zook's last recruiting class at UF but it appears to be down. Luckily there is Google Cache:

Zook's last class a dud?

By Robbie Andreu
Sun sports writer

Recruiting rankings are nice (and seem important) when the classes are signed, but everybody knows the only way to accurately assess a class is to take a look at it four or five years later to see what those prospects actually did in college.

With that in mind, veteran Sun college football beat writer takes a look at Ron Zook's final Florida recruiting class (2004).

The class was ranked No. 7 in the nation by in 2004, but based on what's happened since, it turned out to be sort of just an OK class. It produced what could be considered 10 full-time starters, but it also was a class hit heavily by attrition, especially on the defensive side.

This diminished class is one reason the Gators now have only one senior defensive player on scholarship (tackle Javier Estopinan) heading into the 2008 season. On the positive side, this class produced three starters on the 2008 offensive line and a standout tight end.

Here's a player-by-player look at what has happened to Zook's final Florida recruiting class:

Michael Brown, OL: He transferred to Mississippi State in 2005 and was dismissed from the team after being arrested on gun charges.

Tate Casey, TE: A redshirt senior and No. 3 tight end at UF who is coming off a medical hardship year.

Branden Daniel, DT: Dismissed from the team in 2005 and transferred to Georgia Southern.

Javier Estopinan, DT: Redshirt senior at UF who missed 2007 after undergoing knee surgery. He has started nine games in his career.

Dawayne Grace, CB: Was dismissed from the team in 2005 and transferred to Georgia Southern.

Dane Guthrie, TE: Transferred to Arizona State, where he is battling for a starting role this season.

Derrick Harvey, DE: Only five-star recruit in the class was a two-year starter at UF. Drafted in the first round by Jacksonville last spring.

Cornelius Ingram, QB: Fifth-year senior at UF who has emerged as a standout pass-catching tight end.

Kyle Jackson, DB: Backup player who had a handful of starts in his UF career.

Tony Joiner, SS: Starter at UF his junior and senior seasons.

Mike Mangold, DE: Failed to qualify academically.

Markus Manson, RB: Gave up a final year of eligibility at UF to transfer to Valdosta State.

Mike McIntosh, WR: Backup player who left the team in 2006.

Derrick McPhearson, WR: Failed to qualify academically and signed with Illinois (and Zook) a year later. He was tossed at Illinois after being charged with larceny, breaking and entering and obstruction of justice.

Drew Miller, OL: Three-year starter at UF who is now a rookie with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Jeremy Mincey, DE: The junior college transfer was a two-year starter at UF who is now with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

McIntosh Nicolas, CB: Failed to qualify academically and never played Division I football.

Eric Rutledge, RB: Became the starting fullback at UF last season as a senior.

Brandon Siler, LB: One of the most productive players of the class. Entered the NFL after his junior season in 2006 and is now with the San Diego Chargers.

Jim Tartt, OL: One of UF's most experienced players, with 29 starts at left guard. He enters his senior season as a potential all-star candidate.

Markell Thompson, DE: The junior college transfer was a backup at tight end in his two years at Florida.

Phil Trautwein, OL: The Gators' starting left tackle. He missed the 2007 season with a stress fracture in his foot. He's started 15 games in his career, 14 at left tackle.

Jason Watkins, OL: In Trautwein's absence, he started all 13 games at left tackle last season as a junior. He is now the starting right tackle. His other two career starts came at tight end in 2006.

Plenty ammunition for "Not Baghead".

H/T: GatorBearGirl


Gator KGB said...

That post and article bring up what is in my opinion, the biggest factor in recruiting classes...attrition rate.

I've never understood the front end focus. What matter is: How many get in, how many suffer serious injuries that permanently decrease or eliminate playing ability, how many DQ academically once in school, how many transfer and how many grow out of their speed as their 18 yr. old bodies complete the maturation process.

What you've got left contributing is the ultimate litmus test.

It is absolutely true that the odds of superior talent surviving to contribute increases when all the recruits are of superior talent.

Henry Louis Gomez said...

Agreed. But in evaluating a coach's recruiting prowess I think you have to take injuries out of the equation. But recruiting a 5-star that doesn't qualify academically doesn't do any good. And I think that's where Zook is a miserable recruiter. Many of his players don't seem to qualify or stay eligible.

Gator KGB said...

Ah...the "5-star Flyer Factor."

I agree a coach must judicially use that scholarship offer to an ultra-talented but academically risky prospect.

Zooker certainly overused it in his last class.

But, looking at it as though I were the Zookster at the time. I know that my job is on the line if I get lucky with a couple of those high risk offers, they might play right away and save me. If they don't, I lose my job just as anticipated.

In short, under the circumstances, no risk to him, just risk our program.

Henry Louis Gomez said...

I disagree. What you described is Zook's modus operandi in any situation. Dude is dumber than a box of rocks.

Gator KGB said...

That's funny.

I was wondering as I wrote it if Zook was capable of going through that sort of cost-benefit analysis, but figured it was so obvious, I'd give him the benefit of the doubt.

jj gator said...

What Zook overlooked in many of these recruits is overall QUALITY - and that's where Meyer is sweeping him under the rug. Why bring somebody in knowing that they have a lot of extra baggage, in particular academic and behavioral issues, only to have the choice backfire? As far as I'm concerned, that's foolhardy as well as taking unnecessary risk.

The attrition rate of Zook's last two classes has had an impact on our 2007 and 2008 teams, especially where the lack of senior leadership is concerned. Meyer didn't being in a full class for 2005, but keep in mind that we were going through the coaching transition at that time and had he had time to effectively recruit, chances are we would have signed a much better class quality-wise as well as quantity-wise.

If Zook was such a "master recruiter", then WHY was Meyer forced to make so many roster moves to cover depleted areas on the depth chart in 2005? This, combined with all the other factors (performance on the field, low team GPA and lackluster academics, disciplinary issues, lack of leadership, etc.) ultimately cost Zook his job - but try getting the Zook apologists to see beyond the tips of their noses and read into the necessity and logic of the final decision made.

The bottom line is that Zook did the Gator football program a hell of a lot more harm than he did good, and damage control was direly needed on 10/25/04 to prevent further disintegration.

Anonymous said...

whats that website that has all the Gator games archived? I wanna watch the 05 LSU game. I forgot how it turned out.

Anonymous said...

*I obviouisly know how it turned out. I forgot the game/score, just remember the loss.