Florida's offensive struggles have been well documented over the course of the 2013 football season. Brent Pease's offense has failed to develop any product resembling a competent offensive scheme both in the run and pass game. Still, Florida fans take pride in the offensive recruits headed to Gainesville in 2014, including Will Grier, Ermon Lane and Dalvin Cook.
But Cook, who flipped to the Gators in April of this year after being committed to Clemson, recently admitted to 247Sports' Ryan Bartow ($) that FSU was his new leader, despite maintaining that he's committed to Florida. Although Cook also remained adamant that Florida is still in the hunt, ranking the Gators No. 2 behind the 'Noles at the moment, he seemed to rave about his visit to Tallahassee in late October for the N.C. State game.
Cook has set an announcement date for December 14th, which could be the day his Miami Central team plays for a state championship.
And while there's still plenty of time for decisions to be made for most recruits, Cook intends to enroll early, meaning that his window is shorter, and that this news should worry Gators fans. The fact that Cook set an announcement date also suggests that he will announce something has changed: Why announce he's sticking with Florida while he's still committed?
Not all is lost for Florida's 2014 class, even if Cook does flip. Lane, a talented wide receiver from Homestead, still seems pretty solid to his commitment to UF, as does the majority of the class, with the exception of J.C. Jackson, who's been on many trips to Miami in recent months. And though Cook is a rare breed of athlete, with electrifying speed and the ability to get up field in a hurry, it's possible he will become merely an exellent niche player. The goal for any team would be to get him in open space, in a variety of positions and ways, but I wouldn't consider Cook an "every-down back" like Miami commit (and Cook's high school teammate) Joseph Yearby or Georgia commit Sony Michel, just a general athlete, and every-down backs are more important in Florida's current system.
Lane, meanwhile, should see the field for many more snaps, and is poised to play early, at a position of need. If there is silver lining in any of this, it's that Lane is probably a better remedy for Florida's ailing passing game than Cook is for Florida's plodding running game, and Lane is still a Gator. Lane has all the physical tools to succeed, and has been producing in one of the most competitive high school environments in the country.
In the meantime, cross your fingers and hope that Cook, who's been known to change his mind quite a bit, and originally flipped to Florida from Clemson, will be calling Gainesville home in 2014.