Florida Football: What Do the Gators' Recent Decommits Mean for UF Long Term?

Stephen SheehanCorrespondent IAugust 30, 2012

Florida Football: What Do the Gators' Recent Decommits Mean for UF Long Term?

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    After wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Aubrey Hill abruptly resigned, Florida coach Will Muschamp suffered a few more losses as several high-profile recruits decommited from the program. 

    Among the more notable players is 4-star receiver Rodney Adams of St. Petersburg, Fla. 

    The 6'1" speedster checks in at No. 34 on Rivals.com's 2013 wide receiver rankings, but Adam Silverstein of Only Gators Get Out Alive reports that the loss of Hill factored in Adams' decision to decommit from the Gators. 

    Besides Adams, the Gators also lost out on a pair of 3-star offensive linemen, a 3-star linebacker and Tre Bell—a 3-star cornerback from New Jersey. 

    Muschamp is no stranger to losing talent. Remember, this is the same man who cut Janoris Jenkins before he coached his first game at UF. 

    However, for a team that's not quite ready to be in national title contention, losing early commits isn't something to take lightly. 

    So what does this all mean for the Gators' long-term plans? Let's take a look. 

Must Upgrade at Wide Receiver

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    Despite some prolific offenses, Florida has continually struggled to recruit elite wide receivers in recent years. 

    The depth chart features a few former 4-star players in Frankie Hammond Jr., Quinton Dunbar and Solomon Patton, but those three have totaled just 62 career catches. 

    Andre Debose—a former 5-star prospect and the expected replacement for Percy Harvin—has just 26 career catches even though he's a dynamic returner. 

    Florida was in the mix for several of the elite receivers of the 2012 recruiting class but ultimately came up short. 

    In losing out on Stefon Diggs—who ended up signing with Maryland—the Gators missed out on a potential All-American receiver and kick returner. 

    With Rodney Adams decommiting from the program, bringing in more talent at the wide receiver position will have to be a priority for Will Muschamp and his staff. 

    Although this is mostly a run-first team, it'll take more than Matt Jones and Mack Brown to take down LSU and Alabama. 

Make Offensive Line a Priority

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    Last year's struggles along the offensive line should be gone this year, but that doesn't mean the Gators are in great long-term shape up front. 

    In fact, the Gators could potentially enter the 2013 season with a completely new offensive line if the right side of the line declares early for the NFL draft. 

    Redshirt juniors Jonotthan Harrison (center) and Jon Halapio (right guard) could have NFL aspirations in sight after this year, and tackles Xavier Nixon and Matt Patchan and left guard James Wilson will have exhausted their eligibility after this season. 

    That isn't to say the Gators don't have some building blocks remaining. 

    Starting right tackle Chaz Green is just a redshirt sophomore, and the Gators have two potential studs in freshmen D.J. Humphries and Jessamen Dunker. 

    However, the Gators don't boast tremendous talent along the interior, especially at the center position. 

    To battle the rugged defensive lines of the SEC, Florida will have to continue to bring in big bodies to play the guard and center spots. 

More Scholarships to Offer

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    If we're looking at the glass half full, Florida now has the chance to be more flexible in its recruiting process. 

    After losing five commitments, the Gators have extra scholarships available to fortify areas of weakness. 

    Luckily for UF, receiver Rodney Adams was the only 4-star prospect who decommited, which means the Gators could conceivably bring in higher-rated recruits down the line. 

    Considering Florida is expected to have a rebound year in 2012, uncommitted recruits could be swayed to join the Gator Nation in 2013. 

Need to Find Recruiting Coordinator

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    Losing out on a few 3-star recruits doesn't help, but what hurts more is the loss of recruiting coordinator Aubrey Hill. 

    The longtime Gator abruptly resigned from the program, leaving behind a big void in one of the program's most important areas. 

    According to Adam Pincus of The Independent Florida Alligator, graduate assistant Bush Hamdan will replace Hill as Florida's receivers coach. However, the Gators won't look for a new recruiting coordinator at this time. 

    Replacing Hill constitutes a critical task for Will Muschamp, especially if he hopes to bring in a top-five recruiting class next year. 

    It may not be easy to do now that the season is about to begin, but it's not something the Gators can afford to neglect. 

Retain the Stars of 2013 Class

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    Despite the recent decommitments, the Gators still check in at No. 6 on Rivals.com's 2013 recruiting rankings

    Much of that has to do with their strong class of 4-star prospects, which includes: Caleb Brantley, the No. 6 defensive tackle; Ahmad Fulwood, the No. 12 wide receiver; James Hearns, the No. 7 inside linebacker; Daniel McMillian, the No. 4 inside linebacker; Kelvin Taylor, the No. 5 running back; and Jordan Sherit, the No. 5 weak-side defensive end. 

    Florida also snagged Vernon Hargreaves III—the No. 2 corner in the country—to go along with top-10 safety Keanu Neal. 

    It's clear the Gators have done some serious work to continue pipelining talent into the defense, so it's critical Will Muschamp retains those elite players. 

    With starters Jon Bostic, Jelani Jenkins, Matt Elam and Sharrif Floyd on track to be in the 2013 NFL Draft, UF must re-stock on defense by retaining their current commits.