It's time for
Florida football coach Will Muschamp to sell his football program more than any other time in his life today. He has the players on campus; they all came in Friday night.
So the next task, with 10 days remaining before National Signing Day 2012, is to get Stefon Diggs, Nelson Agholor, Tracy Howard and Florida State pledge Dante Fowler to buy into Muschamp's sales pitch long enough to get ink on a National Letter of Intent on Feb. 1.
Fowler has said all along that he's solid with Florida State, but he's was on the Florida campus numerous times this past season and the St. Petersburg Lakewood defensive end was hamming it up with other UF pledges during the five days leading up to the
Under Armour All-American Game.
Fowler is rated the No. 3 rush end in the country by Rivals.com, and was impressive enough inthe all-star game to regain his status among the nation's best after a sub-par senior season that included a 4-game suspension.
It's difficult to say the top priority for the Gators at this point, but a good guess would be a lean in the direction of where UF failed greatly in 2011.
So then, where does one begin? UF began by luring Brent Pease away from Boise State as their new offensive coordinator. Now he needs personnel.
As a team, the Gators had just eight interceptions, with half of those by Pop Saunders and Matt Elam (two each).
Howard had seven by himself this past season at Miramar, and Muschamp witnessed one of them in the 8A state title game while sitting next to Howard's mom at the
Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando.
Some even say Howard is a lock for Gainesville. We tend to agree.
Diggs is another player who could step in and not only bring fans to their feet at the Swamp, but also make an impact right away. His charismatic-bordering-on-flamboyant personality will win over even the most unfamiliar of fans and a market-worthy star like Diggs would never hurt, as long as his antics do not overshadow what's trying to be accomplished by the program.
Diggs was changing his bright, blue-and-orange, Gator-colored shoes at Friday Night Lights at the Swamp in July when an elderly fan leaned over from her front-row seat and asked Diggs what his name was.
"You don't know who I am?" Diggs responded with a big smile, somewhat taken aback, yet recognizing an opportunity for some quasi-sarcasm.
When the woman shook her head in negative response, Diggs laughed and said, "Hopefully, you will."
The Gators sure hope he'll come to Gainesville. They can use him. They can use Agholor, too. Florida's top two receivers last year were a running back and a tight end.
Chris Rainey was the top pass catcher with 31 receptions and Jordan Reed was next at 28.
In fact, of the the Gators' top six pass catchers in 2011, only two -- Deonte Thompson and Andre Debose were actual receivers. The others were two tight ends and two running backs.
And fault does not lie solely in the hands of the receivers. The quarterback play for UF was sub-standard, at best, all season. Gators' QBs threw 13 touchdown passes. Yep, that's right, 13. They also threw that many interceptions.
There were only 17 rushing touchdowns by the Gators, as well, so there were offensive issues all about. Top 10 teams don't score just 30 offensive touchdowns in 13 games. The Gators had 30 rushing touchdowns alone in 2010 to offset the 12 passing TDs.
While Agholor can play multiple positions, the Gators are zeroed in on the Tampa Berkeley star and the No. 1 player in the Sentinel's Florida Top 100 as a wide receiver. He'd pair up nicely with Diggs and Debose, and two other returning contributors Frankie Hammond and Quinton Dunbar.
Special teams and defense can be counted on, usually, for scoring plays, but the Gators had just two return touchdowns in 2011, as well.
Fingers can also be pointed at the offensive line, and even though the Gators were banged up at the line of scrimmage in 2011, there still needs to be improvement and depth. The line gave up 23 sacks -- 21 of which were in
SEC games and 17 of which came in the Georgia (6), Alabama (4), Auburn (4), Tennessee (3) games, and it's eveident the stronger the competition the less successful the blocking.
They allowed just two against
LSU, but that game was so out of hand -- 41-11 in favor of LSU -- the Tigers probably called off the rush of freshman QB Jacoby Brissett.
But against the other top SEC teams, UF averaged allowing more than four sacks a game. Not good.
Current pledges D.J. Humphries and Jessamen Dunker can help there, especially Humphries, the top-ranked OL in the country by Rivals.com.
So the visitors on campus this weekend can help shore up some desperate needs for the Gators, especially on offense, if Muschamp and crew can just lure them into the fold.
They have an excellent chance. It's just time to seal the deal.