GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida defensive coordinator Geoff Collins was hired Tuesday as the new head coach at Temple.
The Gators finished in the top 10 nationally in total defense during his two years at UF. On the recruiting trail, Collins’ energetic personally was a hit with prospects and he had a strong reputation for evaluating talent (see Jabari Zuniga).
However, coordinators typically are not assigned as the primary recruiters for a lot of targets, and that was the case with Collins. His departure is not expected to have a negative impact for the Gators in the Class of 2017.
Their top defensive commit, 4-star defensive end Zachary Carter from Tampa, Fla., told SEC Country he is still solid with Florida.
“I’m happy for Coach Collins,” Carter said. “I already knew he was going to get a head coaching job. I’m still a Gator. Nothing will change.”
Defensive line coach Chris Rumph is the primary recruiter for Carter as well as defensive tackle pledge Kyree Campbell (Kingston, Pa.). Secondary coach Torrian Gray recruited linebacker Ventrell Miller (Lakeland, Fla.) and cornerback Elijah Blades (Pasadena, Calif.) was landed by running backs coach Tim Skipper.
Linebackers coach Randy Shannon, a strong candidate to replace Collins, is the primary recruiter for linebacker James Houston (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) cornerbacks Shawn Davis (Miami) and Marco Wilson (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.).
As for targets, it was assumed that Tray Bishop would be the recruit impacted most by Collins leaving. He visited the 4-star safety last Monday and would have been his position coach at UF.
SEC Country asked Bishop for his reaction to the Collins news Tuesday.
“Don’t have one,” Bishop said. “We talked a few times but coach Gray is my main recruiter. This doesn’t hurt Florida.”
Hours later, Bishop decommitted from Auburn so he can reevaluate his recruitment in January. He plans to officially visit Georgia (Jan. 14), Auburn (Jan. 21) and Florida (Jan. 28) before making a final decision on signing day.
“I want to evaluate every little thing and can get to the bottom of it so I can get my mind made up where I want to go,” Bishop told SEC Country. “Coach Gray and Coach Mac, the atmosphere there, everything is good.”
4-star offensive tackle reaffirms Miami pledge
Another recruit Florida was trying to flip has shut down his recruitment.
Navaughn Donaldson, a 4-star offensive tackle from Miami and the No. 2 prospect at his position in the state, reaffirmed his commitment to the hometown Hurricanes on Tuesday. He officially visited Florida (Nov. 11), Mississippi State (Nov. 18), Florida State (Nov. 25) and North Carolina (Dec. 2), but his final trip to Miami last weekend won him over.
UF had already flipped one 4-star offensive tackle from Miami, stealing Kadeem Telfort from the Hurricanes in the summer of 2015. Telfort is ranked the No. 3 prospect at his position in Florida.
The state’s top offensive tackle, 5-star prospect Alex Leatherwood from Pensacola, Fla., reaffirmed his commitment to Alabama on Monday. With Donaldson and Leatherwood off the board, the Gators will now turn their attention to 4-star OT Kai-Leon Herbert from Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
On Friday, the Michigan commit told SEC Country he’s officially visiting UF in January. Herbert also plans to take a trip to Miami, but Donaldson’s decision could hurt the Hurricanes’ chances.
— Navaughn Donaldson (@JD_55RB) December 13, 2016
Unless otherwise indicated, ratings and rankings come from the 247Sports Composite.