This isn’t the first time I’ve blogged about Florida’s bizarre 2019 offseason. The second offseason of the Dan Mullen era in Gainesville was supposed to go much smoother than it has.
It started off well. The class of 2019 for Florida was ranked 9th in the nation according to 247Sports composite ratings. Since then? Transfer CITY.
And today it somehow got worse:
With Arjei Henderson not qualifying to attend Florida, Dan Mullen has now lost five (5!!!!!!!) recruits from the class of 2019 already.
Henderson became the fifth member of the Gators’ 2019 recruiting class to leave. The other four were also four-star prospects: defensive back Chris Steele (transferred to USC), quarterback Jalon Jones (left after being accused of sexual battery), linebacker Diwun Black (going to a junior college) and offensive lineman Deyavie Hammond (junior college). Another signee, Wardrick Wilson, hasn’t yet joined as his visa situation plays out.
What does this do to Florida’s 2019 class?
Take away the departures, and UF’s recruiting class falls from ninth to No. 17, between Notre Dame and South Carolina. That’s three spots lower than last year and would be the program’s second-worst finish of the Rivals era.
As I’ve pointed out time and time again, recruiting is the lifeline of a college football program. In the BCS era, no team has ever won a national championship with less than 50% 4/5-stars on their roster (discluding walk-on players, typically a team has 85 scholarship spots depending on NCAA sanctions).
I’m still high on Florida for the season. They certainly have the talent. Based on current projections for starters, Florida ranks 9th in talent based on recruiting numbers. If you extend that to two-deep projected depth charts, you have yourself a team that also ranks 9th nationwide. Feleipe Franks gets too much hate. I think he has the talent to lead Florida to a 10-2 season.
The problem for Florida may come in the future. Your class of 2019 is not that important for your 2019 season, but you are certainly going to be wishing you had those 5-players who left in 2020/2021. That’s when it will show.