Take Two: How much will Mullen's Mississippi ties help at Florida?
Take Two returns with another offering tackling a handful of issues in the college football landscape. Rivals.com National Recruiting Analyst Adam Gorney lays out the situation and then receives takes from Rivals.com National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell and an expert from the Rivals.com network of team sites.
RIVALS RANKINGS WEEK
Monday: Top 10 revealed
Wednesday: Rivals250 released
Thursday: Position rankings released
Charles Moore emerged as one of the best defensive linemen in the 2019 class after a great performance at the Under Armour All-America Game, and now Florida has emerged as the front-runner for the former Mississippi State commit.
Dan Mullen coached in Starkville for nine seasons before returning to Florida as coach, so he developed tremendous recruiting contacts in the state of Mississippi during his nearly decade-long stop with the Bulldogs.
Should Mullen harness those resources even more in recruiting for the Gators or should he primarily focus on in-state prospects and top players in states closer to him in the Southeast?
Moore could really be the first case study for the Gators hitting up Mississippi prospects even more. In the 2018 recruiting class, Mississippi State absolutely dominated with in-state recruits. In 2019, Georgia landed LB Nakobe Dean, Mississippi State got new five-star OL Charles Cross and Florida did not have much of a presence, except in Moore’s case.
Five-star DT McKinnley Jackson, who had been committed to LSU but recently backed off that pledge, leads the way in Mississippi’s 2020 class. Florida is trying to stay involved in his recruitment as well.
Will Mullen use his Mississippi contacts to recruit there more or just cherry pick when he sees a top prospect who could help the Gators?
FIRST TAKE: COREY BENDER, GATORSTERRITORY.COM
“Defensive line is UF's top priority to close out the 2019 class, especially after missing out on the likes of Derick Hunter, Quashon Fuller, Siaki Ika and Brandon Dorlus. So, reeling in Moore's commitment would certainly boost UF's recruiting class into the top 10, if it is not there already. The Rivals250 prospect was arguably the top defensive lineman during Under Armour All-America week, and possesses the versatility and frame to wreak havoc in Todd Grantham's 3-4 scheme.
“Multiple underclassmen from the state of Mississippi are also sitting high on UF's big board, but I don't expect the staff to rely on those connections as much in future classes. Since he arrived in Gainesville, Mullen has stressed that Florida is a national brand on the recruiting trail, with the staff planning to attack each region.
“Being in the Sunshine State, the Gators also have a countless amount of qualified prospects at their disposal, so I expect them to capitalize on that proximity in future classes. The connections in Mississippi will always be there, but I don't think Mullen will need to rely on them as much as he did in year one, especially while being at a nationally recognized school like Florida.”
SECOND TAKE: MIKE FARRELL, RIVALS.COM
“He’s definitely picking and choosing. They’re not offering a string of Mississippi kids. Moore is special. Everybody is going to offer that kid. He’s a Southeast prospect who everybody wants. It’s important for Mullen to use those ties to Mississippi State to his advantage to try to get a guy like Moore.
"Florida is doing a good job on the field, but needs to step it up in recruiting, which they did in the Early Signing Period by finishing pretty strong, but there is still work to do. The Gators need to turn kids on visits. That’s what Urban Meyer used to do at Florida, and that’s when they became really dangerous. They visit and fall in love and that’s it. The Mississippi connection is important there, and it’s probably one of the reasons why they lead.”