Re-Evaluating Florida's 2012 Recruiting Class
While Florida fans wait for the 2015 recruiting class to improve, it’s time to hand out grades to a class that took place a couple of years ago. It’s always fun to see which players lived up to the hype, who proved the recruiting analysts wrong and who was just a downright bust.
After looking at the Gators’ 2012 recruiting class, it’s clear it didn’t fulfill expectations. The class was considered the fourth-best class by 247Sports and included 14 players rated as at least 4-stars. However, many of the players aren’t even on the roster anymore, and others are still trying to reach their full potential. There are a couple of guys who panned out, but they were few and far between.
Of course, these grades could change as early as this season.
Let’s recap Florida’s 2012 recruiting class knowing what we know now.
Note: All rankings are courtesy of 247Sports.
Skyler Mornhinweg (3-Star)
Mornhinweg saw the first action of his career last season due to the injury to Jeff Driskel and the Florida coaching staff desperately searching for answers offensively. He completed 69.8 percent of his passes for 344 yards and three touchdowns. Certainly not bad numbers, but it’s important to note that Mornhinweg was the starter when the Gators lost to Georgia Southern.
It’s safe to say he’ll be a career backup at Florida, especially with the new guys the program just recruited at the position.
Matt Jones (4-Star)
Despite seeing limited playing time in his first two years, Jones has 614 rushing yards and five touchdowns. Last season, Jones had 339 yards and two touchdowns in five games before suffering a season-ending injury. In other words, if Jones didn’t get hurt, there’s a good chance he would have been Florida’s leading rusher.
Along with Kelvin Taylor, Jones can form a solid 1-2 punch at running back this season and really have his breakout season. There’s no point to give up on him just yet considering his solid production in his first two seasons.
Part of the reason Florida’s offense is at the bottom of college football is because top-tier wide receivers are going elsewhere.
Pittman has just four catches for 24 yards in his career, while some Gator fans have probably never heard of Andrades, who has two career receptions. Pittman will have his chances to make a splash this season in possibly a starting role. Andrades will likely continue to be buried in the depth chart and probably won’t even see the field for a second straight season.
It’s no secret that the Gators need to do a much better job in recruiting elite wide receivers.
Another reason Florida’s offense has struggled to move the ball the length of a Dixie cup is the lack of production at tight end. Neither Thompson nor Taylor have helped in that department.
Taylor had two catches for five yards before transferring to Kansas, while Thompson has had issues staying healthy and will need surgery that sidelines him for an extended period of time. Although Taylor had the potential to have a successful career, it’s fair to say that the offense got almost nothing out of either one of these players.
Once again, Florida strikes out at the skill positions in this recruiting class.
One of the more successful players in this recruiting class has been D.J. Humphries, who has been a key piece to Florida’s offensive line the last two seasons. He started three games his freshman year and held down the fort in six games at left tackle last year before suffering an injury that ended his season. Humphries is a possible NFL draft pick if he remains healthy and has the season many expect from him this year.
Dunker redshirted his freshman year and then decided to transfer to Tennessee State.
Even with the transfer, Florida did hit a home run with the signing of Humphries, and it’s going to pay off in a big way this season.
I think Florida was targeting defensive linemen in this recruiting class.
When you recruit this many players at one position, you’re bound to strike gold somewhere. Florida did that with the additions of Bullard and Fowler. Fowler is a potential first-round draft pick and an elite pass-rusher, while Bullard is just tapping into his skill set and is due for a breakout season. The duo combined for five sacks last season and should easily double that number this year. Jacobs had a solid career with six tackles for loss in a limited role.
What makes this group of players intriguing is that the verdict is still out on guys like Cox and McCalister. If either can contribute to the defensive front this season, Florida’s defensive line will be scary good.
Williams and Mann transferred, while Phillips was denied admission due to poor academics.
Even with a handful of misses, Florida did land two legit players in Bullard and Fowler, two guys who will play key parts in this season’s success. That’s good enough for a solid grade.
Morrison has been a success since day one when he played in all 13 games as a true freshman. Last year, he finished second on the team with 56 tackles, and that was with missing four games due to injury. For an underrated 3-star player, Morrison has more than fulfilled expectations.
Powell has been somewhat of a disappointment, considering he was the 4-star recruit and hasn’t been able to climb out of a special teams role. He had four tackles last season.
It’s not Jon Bostic and Jelani Jenkins, but Florida found a nice under-the-radar player in Morrison, who could have his best season yet in a Florida uniform. That alone is worth something.
Florida’s most success in this class may have come in the secondary despite two of the four players transferring from the program.
Poole was excellent last season in a nickelback role, racking up 32 tackles and two interceptions. He brings versatility and physicality to the defensive backfield and should have another big year this season. Maye lost his starting job early in the season, but he showed promise at times and should finally live up to the hype of his star rating. Remember, Maye was mainly recruited as a linebacker out of high school.
Bailey and Ledbetter transferred from the school despite neither picking up a single statistic.
Poole and Maye have been successful players and are part of the reason why Florida has one of the better secondaries in college football.
Austin Hardin (3-Star)
Hardin didn’t leave a great impression in his first year as the starting kicker, making just 33.3 percent of his field-goal attempts. Last season, Hardin missed his last five field-goal attempts. The good news is that Hardin did make four field goals in the spring game and that he can’t possibly be any worse than he was a year ago.
This grade is likely going to improve, but if we’re basing the grades off of what each player has done so far, you can’t be pleased with what Hardin has shown.