Florida Football Recruiting Analysis: The Gators' String Of Decommitments

JACKSONVILLE, FL - JANUARY 02: Head Coach Will Muschamp of the Florida Gators celebrates with his players after defeating the Ohio State Buckeyes 24-17 in the TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl at EverBank Field on January 2, 2012 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

You may have noticed the spree of decommitments from Florida in recent days: First, there was Dillon Lawson in July, then Tre Bell, Roderick Johnson, Rodney Adams, and Joshua Outlaw in quick succession. And you may be a bit worried about those decommitments, given that they made up about a fifth of the prospects that have committed to Florida this cycle.

But if you know a little more about all of those decommitments, you know that while there might be a little to worry about here, freaking out about these decommitments is not necessary — especially since more of the decisions were mutual than not.

Let's examine the decommitments one by one.

Dillan Lawson

Committed: February 19th, 2012, the day after Florida's massive Junior Day.

Decommitted: July 19th, 2012.

Reason for Decommitment? Academics. Lawson's coach told The Gainesville Sun that Crestview, his Panhandle high school, was trying to get his grades up.

Mutual Decommitment? Yes, inasmuch as any academics-based decommitment is. Florida wanted Lawson, Lawson wanted Florida, but the earlier an iffy-grades recruit decommits and opens options up, the better — for both sides.

Recommitment Possibility? Not insignificant. Lawson told ESPN's Derek Tyson he'd still love to go to Florida.

Pain of Decommitment: Significant. Lawson's a four-star player, the kind that would fit snugly at the Buck position. In terms of PR pain, minimal; no one blames a school for saying "Look, your grades need to be better."

Tre Bell

Committed: April 7th, 2012, the day of the Orange and Blue Game.

Decommitted: August 2nd or 9th or 10th, 2012.

Reason for Decommitment? Apparently, inability to make good on a "contingency offer." We detailed the messy saga, but it seems more than anything like Will Muschamp and the Gators wanted Bell to come to Friday Night Lights and work out, Bell didn't work out at Friday Night Lights because of his high school's team rule, and then he worked out at Gridiron Kings the next day.

Mutual Decommitment? It depends on how you see it: Bell not working out was a de facto failure to live up to terms of a vaporous verbal contract, but he probably wanted to stay committed to Florida; Florida didn't love Bell, who was the least-regarded of the secondary's four recruits at the time of his decommitment, and may have told him to seek other opportunities. It's less mutual than a handshake, more mutual than one side spurning the other.

Recommitment Possibility? None. Bell is committed to Vanderbilt and Florida has moved on to other DBs..

Pain of Decommitment: Minimal. Bell was going to be a project for the Gators even before Vernon Hargreaves III's commitment pushed him down the projected depth chart.

Roderick Johnson

Committed: February 19th, 2012, the day after Florida's massive Junior Day.

Decommitted: August 12th, 2012.

Reason for Decommitment? Comfort, after the resignation of Aubrey Hill, his lead recruiter.

Mutual Decommitment? Not exactly? 247 Sports' Luke Stampini got a quote from Johnson saying Muschamp okayed the decision ($), which doesn't really make it mutual.

Recommitment Possibility? Unlikely. Johnson's drawn interest from West Virginia and Florida State, and improved from his three-star rating since his commitment, so he might find the second go-round of being on the market more interesting.

Pain of Decommitment: Minor — at the time. Florida knew he and Joshua Outlaw were keeping their options open, and so the Gators secured a commitment from Octavius Jackson while both wavered.

Rodney Adams

Committed: February 18, 2012, the day of Florida's massive Junior Day.

Decommitted: August 15, 2012.

Reason for Decommitment? A combination of academics and horrific medical luck. Adams was told by doctors he could not play football around the time of his decommitment, which, alone, would have been reason for Florida to part ways, but there was also enough murmuring that his grades were not up to par to scare the Gators off.

Recommitment Possibility? Low. Florida has other targets at wide receiver, like Demarcus Robinson, Marquez North, and Alvin Bailey, and Adams might simply not be healthy enough to play college football.

Pain of Decommitment: Minor. Adams was looking like the third- or fourth-best receiver in this class. While Florida could use some restocking at the position, it's got a good chance to restock with blue-chippers like Ahmad Fulwood, and Adams didn't look like one.

Joshua Outlaw

Committed: April 7th, 2012, the same day as Bell.

Decommitted: August 19th, 2012.

Reason for Decommitment? An interest in taking official visits. Outlaw told ESPN's Tyson ($) and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Michael Carvell that he wanted to take other official visits, and Florida didn't want him to. Trying to discourage multiple official visits is a tactic I don't agree with — recruits ought to do whatever they want, both because finding a fit matters and because these free trips to see college campuses are among the only perks recruits (legally) get — but I do understand it from the Gators' side.

Mutual Decommitment? No. Florida clearly didn't want Outlaw to decommit.

Recommitment Possibility? Decent. Outlaw told Tyson that Florida's not eliminated, and it's unclear where he'll even be taking official visits. Georgia's a good bet, as the home state school, and Outlaw did go to Dawg Night.

Pain of Decommitment: Significant. Outlaw's a good guard, one who could compete in the SEC as a sophomore after adding some weight. And his decommitment coming after Johnson's made it more painful.

Tally those up, and at least three of the decommitments were ones that Florida wanted to happen, and all five seem like ones that Muschamp and the player in question had a talk about. Is that reason to doubt Muschamp's ability as a recruiter? I don't think so, especially because he's well ahead of where Urban Meyer's final class was at this point in 2010, and about where he was in August 2011, when 17 players were Florida commits.

Meanwhile, I wouldn't worry too much about the rest of Florida's class. Look at what Keanu Neal, Nick Washington, and Kelvin Taylor tweeted (and Ahmad Fulwood retweeted) on Sunday night:

There's a fairly good chance someone at UF told them to tweet something to that effect — to show solidarity, and make a public comment on recruiting that Florida coaches can't make, perhaps — but it's still heartening to see that some commitments do stick.

Oh, and there's this:

It's still a very bright future for Florida's recruiting.

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