Seven programs that stand to benefit from Florida's transition
Florida parted ways with Dan Mullen on Sunday following a loss at Missouri to drop the Gators to 5-6 this season. Mullen finished 34-15 in Gainesville and did not have a chance to close out his fourth season.
Here is a look at seven teams that could benefit on the recruiting trail from coaching turnover at Florida.
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Florida’s recruiting class is not filled with players Alabama showed much interest in through the recruiting process but there are some high-level receivers the Crimson Tide could circle back on now that there’s a coaching change in Gainesville. Alabama liked four-stars CJ Smith especially and Isaiah Bond early in the recruiting process and four-star receiver Jayden Gibson has been so dominant this season that it wouldn’t be shocking if the Crimson Tide give him a look. This isn’t just about the commits, though, as five-star receiver Evan Stewart is high on Alabama and is giving Florida a very serious look as well. High four-star defensive lineman Quency Wiggins is another one that this could help Alabama more with if it has room for him in the class.
The Tigers were involved with many of Florida’s commitments and now with Mullen out, Auburn’s coaching staff could make an aggressive recruiting pitch to many of them especially since only 13 prospects are committed there. Auburn was involved with four-star linebacker EJ Lightsey, three-star running back Terrance Gibbs, four-star offensive lineman Tony Livingston and others so it wouldn’t be surprising if the Tigers try to get back in the mix with those and others.
Any time there is a coaching change at an in-state school and rival program, it will be of benefit to the others and that’s the case with the Seminoles. A matchup between Florida and Florida State this weekend could further focus that recruiting picture as EJ Lightsey, Tony Livingston and many others were pursued by the Seminoles as well. Florida State has the same record as the Gators but there has been some positive momentum later in the season and if the Seminoles can beat them this weekend then recruiting could pick up more.
Jamarrien Burt had Georgia on his list prior to committing to Florida. EJ Lightsey was in the mix with the Bulldogs. Isaiah Bond has heard a lot from them. Jayden Gibson had them among his favorites and almost picked the Bulldogs in the first place. His outstanding season will only reinforce that he should be a target for the Georgia coaching staff. This is also about high-priority targets like five-star cornerback Jaheim Singletary, four-star safety Kamari Wilson and many others. In no small part does Georgia benefit from this news.
EJ Lightsey, Terrance Gibbs and other Florida commits were on LSU’s radar but the Tigers - who are knee-deep in a coaching search themselves - have a lot of top targets who found some stability at Florida but might no longer with Mullen out. Four-star running back Trevor Etienne, five-star safety Jacoby Mathews, four-star defensive end Quency Wiggins, LSU tight end commit Mason Taylor, who was seriously looking at the Gators, among others are some names that LSU could be closer to getting because of what’s happening at Florida.
Same story here as with Florida State: An in-state rival is going through a tough time, recruiting could be helped elsewhere. There has not been a tremendous amount of crossover recruiting between the Gators and the Hurricanes but eight of Florida’s commitments are in-state prospects and Miami currently has only eight pledges. There is an issue here since Miami coach Manny Diaz could be on shaky ground job-wise as well and that could hinder recruiting.
The Gamecocks were a finalist for three-star defensive tackle Jamari Lyons from Viera, Fla., and so they could become a front-runner again if Lyons decides to look elsewhere. South Carolina was also one of the three finalists for four-star receiver Jayden Gibson and so that could be something to watch although it would be a surprise if he ends up elsewhere since he’s a Florida legacy. Others could look that way as well especially since the Gamecocks crushed Florida earlier this season and beat Auburn on Saturday night.