As I begin to write this, it is 4:17AM. My dog got me up at 3:30 because the raccoons from the woods out back came calling to ravish my trash can. He is the defender of the property and tolerates no one or no things being even close to the property. Since I am up, then, I have to make use of my time as I wait for him to decide that all is clear and he’s ready to come back in. Should I go to sleep, I fear he will break the glass on the patio door. I don’t complain about this routine that happens a lot because my mind is at its sharpest the first few hours after I awaken. I’ve gone through my morning routine of previewing around twenty websites looking for UK recruiting information and notice that, according to the Orlando Sentinel, that we are now at 302 days, 21 Hours and 31 minutes away from Signing Day.
Yesterday, in my recruiting tidbits, I said it wasn’t time to begin the hand-wringing over Denzel Ware’s possible flip to Florida. I guess it is now time to do that if you’re so inclined, according to this piece over at KSR. I think we are supposed to hear something "official" today. Excuse the rolling eyes.
Before we all get our panties in a wad or boxer bunch up, we need to understand that all offers and commitments are verbal until August 1st. This is when written offers can be made by the schools, but commitments are still verbal. Those written offers are somewhat on the bogus side because they are often withdrawn with no penalty to the schools who make them.
This brings me to the conclusion that fans must take early commitments with more than a mere grain of salt. Perhaps a couple of pounds are in order. If you’ll recall, Mr. Ware flipped from a Florida State commitment to a UK commitment. Now, we should be surprised that he’s ready to flip again? If I recall correctly, he "confirmed" his commitment to Kentucky via twitter just a couple of weeks ago.
This brings to mind why I quit asking girls to go to the prom(s) with me in high school. There are always some girls who will take your offer, but then ditch you when a "better" offer is made by one of the school’s football or basketball players. I found this out with my first prom offer back when I was a sophomore. From then on, I found I could dance with all the pretty girls if I went "stag" and I didn’t have to take any of them home, buy corsages, buy dinner or rent a limo. The other benefit was I could get as drunk as I wanted without having a date get all PO’d about it. I’m not sure how or why, but that strategy led to many suggestions that I ask so-and-so to the next prom because she "liked" me. That first spurning hit me deep and hard, so I rejected future overtures by the female flippers until my senior year when I took a good friend to the senior prom. We had a great time because I didn’t feel obligated to get upset when some other schmuck asked her to dance.
Let’s look at Mr. Ware and the Florida flirtation. Ware moved to Opp, Alabama after his junior season in Tallahassee. I can’t recall if he went to Lincoln or Godby, but it really doesn’t matter. He committed to Florida State because he liked the Mark Stoops/T.J. Eliot defense which was ranked #2 in the nation. He also liked both coaches. His flip came almost immediately after Stoops and Eliot came to Kentucky. So now, he thinks he has a better offer to the prom.
Here’s the facts regarding Mr. Ware and Florida. According to Rivals, he has been offered by Florida, but they’ve not yet accepted his commitment which means his offer is non-committable (conditional). Here we go again with the committable/non-committable stuff. Obviously, he holds a committable offer from UK since he committed. Why is Florida not accepting his commitment? You have to look at the defensive end position at Florida and who they are recruiting this year.
In 2010 Florida signed Neiron Ball, a (5.8) 4 Star from Georgia, Ronald Powell; a (6.1) 5 Star from California; and Lyndon Trail, a (5.9) 4 Star from Miami.
In 2011, Florida signed Clay Burton (5.7) 3 Star from Venice, FL; and Tevin Westbrook (5.6) 3 Star from North Broward, FL.
In 2012, Florida signed Jonathon Bullard (6.1) 5 Star from North Carolina; Dante Fowler (6.1) 5 Star from St. Petersburg, FL; Bryan Cox (5.7) 3 Star from Ft. Lauderdale; and Alex McCalister (5.7) 3 Star from North Carolina.
In 2013, Florida signed Antonio Riles (5.7) 3 Star from Georgia.
Of the above players, Florida’s current roster shows Ronald Powell as a redshirt junior having earned two letters at the BUCK position; Nerion Ball as redshirt junior at LB with two letters. Lyndon Trail is apparently no longer on the team. Clay Burton is now a junior TE with two letters and Tevin Westbrook also also junior TE with two letters. Jonathon Bullard is listed as a sophomore DL with one letter; Bryan Cox is listed as a redshirt freshman DL; Dante Fowler shows up as a sophomore letter winner at the BUCK position; and Alex McCalister is a redshirt freshman DL. Antonio Riles is among the incoming freshman class.
So, now we look at the 2014 class. Florida currently has no commitments yet at the DE position. Why haven’t they accepted Ware’s commitment? They have offered and are in the running for the following DEs listed in the Rivals Top 250:
#1 5 Star Da’Shawn Hand from Virginia
#6 5 Star Andrew Brown DT being recruited by Florida as a DE from Virginia
#9 5 Star Lorenzo Carter from Georgia
#14 5 Star Kentavious Street from North Carolina
#21 4 Star Malik McDowel from Michigan
#30 4 Star Jayln Holmes from Virginia
#36 4 Star Myles Garrett from Texas
#42 4 Star Gerald Willis from Louisiana
#85 4 Star Andrew Williams from Georgia
#112 4 Star Justin Thornton from Alabama
#182 4 Star Jessie Aniebonam from Maryland
#207 4 Star Chad Thomas from Miami
#208 4 Star Davon Godchaux from Louisiana
#223 4 Star Denzel Ware from Alabama
#231 4 Star Dewayne Hendrix from Illinois
As you can see, Ware is at the bottom of the totem pole for Florida, but in Ware’s eyes Florida is a "better" prom date. You can’t really blame him. Florida is a contender and he is really a Florida kid. Kentucky, however, has offered him a committable offer and he IS a 4 Star. Therefore, Kentucky would be stupid to take the offer from the table. We can’t be picky…yet. Maybe that will change in a few years. My opinion is that it will be a while before Florida accepts his commitment, if at all.
Since 2010, Florida has never taken more than four DEs. For Florida, there are a lot of prettier prom dates to choose from.