Why Will Muschamp's Florida Gators Are Built to Last
Florida's resurgence back to the national title picture came quicker than most expected, especially following last season's 7-6 record.
But the rebuilding effort that first-year head coach Will Muschamp was facing last season was much larger than most people recognized, as explained in April's feature by the Sporting News on how Urban Meyer broke the Gators.
They aren't broken anymore.
In just his second year at the helm, Will Muschamp has built the Gators back to the national power that Gator fans have been craving ever since Meyer retired—for the first time—following the 2009 regular season.
Don McPeak-US PRESSWIRE
But just how sustainable is this success?
Defensively, it's very sustainable.
Recruiting rankings aren't perfect, but of the 11 starters on Florida's most up-to-date depth chart, every single player was rated four stars or higher by Rivals.com coming out of high school. Of those players, only four are seniors, all of whom are backed up by players who also were rated with four or more stars coming out of high school.
That's some quality depth.
It should also be expected from Muschamp, who made a reputation for himself as one of the top defensive minds in the college game before coming to Florida.
Offensively, the Gators are very much a work in progress. But if we've learned anything about the Gators this season, it's that running the ball and playing defense is the path of least resistance.
Running back Mike Gillislee will be gone after this season, but the Gators are still high on redshirt sophomore Mack Brown, who was a 4-star prospect coming out of high school.
That gives him two more years with sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel, who has established himself as an effective dual-threat quarterback that doesn't make mistakes with the football, even though his passing stats aren't exactly stellar.
This is only the beginning, though.
Florida currently has the nation's No. 6 class in 2013, according to Rivals.com, and that class is littered with players who can step in and make an immediate impact.
Vernon Hargreaves III is a 5'11", 185-pound cornerback who's rated as a 5-star prospect. He is fast, closes on the ball well and is good in press coverage, possessing all of the skills needed to be a star cornerback in the SEC.
How many SEC East championships will Florida win between 2012 and 2015?
If Brown doesn't work out at running back, help is on the way. Kelvin Taylor, the son of former Florida and Jacksonville Jaguar great Fred Taylor, is also committed to the Gators in the class of 2013.
Taylor is a 4-star prospect who's widely regarded as one of the top running back prospects in the country. The 5'11", 216-pounder is already built to be an every-down running back in the SEC and has 4.6 speed in the 40-yard dash to go along with it.
In Year 2 of the Muschamp era, the 2012 Florida football team is eerily reminiscent of the 2008 Alabama Crimson Tide team, which was also in the second year of a defensive-minded head coach: current head coach Nick Saban.
The Gators are fast, physical and recruiting well, which means that the best may be yet to come in Gainesville.
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