As avid Alligator Army readers, I am sure you will recall the question infamously posed to you at the end of 2016 — would you rather have bowl glory or recruiting success?
The scenario laid out was that the Florida Gators would achieve one or the other, which seemed to be the likely outcome for a program that at the time had finished the regular season with a whimper, and was not exactly cleaning up on the recruiting trail.
Option A involved the Gators easily cruising to victory in the Outback Bowl but losing an important commitment and missing all but one of their big name targets come National Signing Day.
Option B turned those tables. In that scenario, Florida would lose by double-digits to Iowa, but pick up some receiver and quarterback talent, an impressive secondary class, and a big-name defensive tackle commit.
To be certain, this hypothetical choice was a hard one to make. What did you choose? Did you wish for the Gators to be successful on the field in January or with signings in February? It didn’t seem probable, or maybe even possible, that good fortune would smile on Florida in both regards.
On January 2, the first part of Option A came to fruition. And we revisited this conjectural quandary a few weeks later, observing that it seemed more and more likely that the second half of Option A — the anticlimactic recruiting — would also come to pass. That seemed more likely than ever just a few days prior to February 1.
But I’m here to tell you what you already know — Florida closed the hell out of National Signing Day. The good parts of Option A and Option B happened. The Gators got the best of both worlds.
Florida rolled over the Hawkeyes, as recounted in Option A, and the Gators cleaned up on Wednesday as in Option B, picking up the described receiver talent, an impressive secondary class, and arguably two big-name defensive tackle commits.
Did you think that this was possible?
I’m skeptical that many did. I know there might have been a few voices of optimism out there, but the narrative had been overwhelmingly negative and doubting — and not just about the recruiting returns, either (though those gripes were obviously the loudest). I recall a fair bit of doubt before the Outback Bowl that Florida could win, or have a decisive showing.
So now that the Gators have accomplished these twin feats, does it change how you feel about the program? How far did the bowl triumph and the successful signing class go towards improving your feelings about the direction that Florida football is headed in? Tell us in the comments!