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2011 Florida Gators Football: How News at Miami and Texas A&M Can Help UF

GAINESVILLE- Coach Will Muschamp may see two areas that produce major prospects open up for his Gators.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
GAINESVILLE- Coach Will Muschamp may see two areas that produce major prospects open up for his Gators. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
John PattonContributor IAugust 28, 2011

This very well may have been the busiest college football offseason in the history of the game.

With a scattered amount of opening kickoffs set for Thursday night and a ton more scheduled for Saturday, wins and losses will begin replacing violations and movement in the headlines.

But before we look ahead, let's take a peek into how two of the biggest off-field stories could affect the Florida Gators in the future.

The expected arrival of Texas A&M into the Southeastern Conference coupled with what looks like it will be a beat-down of the Miami Hurricanes by the NCAA can only help the Gators.

So, how can a school on the periphery of these two stories become benefactors?

In a word, recruiting.

The hiring of Will Muschamp away from Texas immediately meant UF probably was going to have more of a presence in the Lone Star state. Now, throw the Aggies potentially joining the SEC and the door is opened further.

Texas is right there with Florida and California on the list of the nation's most fertile recruiting states. And while the Gators probably could do quite well by just establishing ownership of Florida, Jimbo Fisher and Florida State no doubt have the same goal in mind and, like UF, the Seminoles are going to get theirs.

But Texas A&M in the SEC means more kids in Texas will be watching teams from college football's best conference more on Saturdays in the fall and winter. And more eyeballs mean more interest which very well could mean more of Texas's top prospects leave home for far-away outposts like Gainesville.

What could become even more of a major deal is the situation in Miami.

If the result of the NCAA's probe into the 'Canes involves serious probation or (gasp!) the death penalty, suddenly, there will be a recruiting free-for-all in what most likely is the country's top prospect producing county (Miami-Dade). It also will open up slightly north Broward County.

In recent seasons, UF and FSU have done pretty well in south Florida, but the resurgence of UM can be attributed in great part to re-taking its home base in recruiting.

With "the U" out of the picture, the Gators and Seminoles will sink their cleats firmly into the sand and many of the nation's top recruits will have no choice but to look north.

Right around the same time players in Texas will start looking east more often.

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