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May 8, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Mike DiRocco

Michael DiRocco
  (3:00 PM)

Hello everyone. Thanks for being flexible with the time for today's chat. We'll go until 4 p.m. Let's get started.

Gary (Ruston)

Mike, what's the deal with the two florida transfers in the past week? I know that we have some decent guys coming in but did we also lose two great ballplayers?

Michael DiRocco
  (3:02 PM)

Gary -- I don't think losing either player was that much of a blow, although the coaching staff seemed to be optimistic about DeVon Walker's potential. Braxton Ogbueze probably wasn't going to play much next season. Walker would have played a little more, but UF's front court is pretty crowded.

Mike (Florida)

Which Freshmen either early enrollee or summer do you see possibly starting either at the beginning of the season or during?

Michael DiRocco
  (3:05 PM)

Mike -- Several guys could potentially start at some point during the season: LB Daniel McMillian, WR Demarcus Robinson and CB Vernon Hargreaves. McMillian probably has the best shot because there's not a lot of depth at linebacker.

Tyler (Tampa)

MD - I just read your article about freshman receivers making and impact and it seems like you and other Gator sports writers have made the assumption that Latroy Pittman and Raphael Andrades will not produce much this year because they didn't produce much last year. Don't a lot of players make a noticeable improvement from their freshman to sophomore years? I don't think we can judge any player based just on what they did their freshman year. Just because we couldn't depend on them last year, doesn't mean one can't step up this fall. Thoughts?

Michael DiRocco
  (3:08 PM)

Tyler -- Players do make significant jumps from their freshmen to sophomore seasons. And maybe Pittman and Andrades have improved, but until I see that on the field I'm not going to expect it. And even if they do get better, neither one is a big-time, stretch-the-field playmaker, which the offense desperately needs. And UF certainly needs more than just one consistent WR. Right now, they have none.

Mark Kwiatkowski (Indiana)

In regards to the 2014 recruiting class what are the chances the Gators finish the top class in the country? Who are the guys that Will and Company are going after the hardest that will make immediate impacts there freshman season!?

Michael DiRocco
  (3:12 PM)

Mark -- UF's class right now is ranked No. 2. It might be hard for the Gators to be No. 1 because the class will be small (less than 20). As for who the Gators are going hard after five-star prospects Leonard Fournette, Da'Shawn Hand, Andrew Brown, Jabrill Peppers, Adoree' Jackson and Speedy Noil. Those guys could make immediate impacts.

Mike (Atlanta)

Do you think all the 7 on 7 tournaments help develop receivers quicker than what it used to take pre 7 on 7 popularity?

Michael DiRocco
  (3:14 PM)

Mike -- I'd generally agree with that, but it also depends on the player. There's one area in which high school WRs struggle when they come to college: press coverage. They have a hard time dealing with physical corners. Plus, some of the high school offenses are pretty simple and some struggle with a more complicated system. But I do think in other aspects the 7-on-7 stuff has been good.

Mike (Atlanta)

Do you know if Muschamp or Weis was more instrumental in recruiting Brissett seemed to me like they really put the press on after Weis came to Florida

Michael DiRocco
  (3:16 PM)

Mike -- Muschamp put Weis on Brissett as soon as he got hired. He was more of a pro-style QB than Driskel and on the surface appeared to be a better fit for what Muschamp wanted his offense to be. But obviously it didn't turn out that way.

Mike (Atlanta)

Do you think the coaching staff would consider moving Chaz Green to a different position on the line or keep him as a backup/fresh bodied tackle?

Michael DiRocco
  (3:18 PM)

Mike -- Green is pretty much a tackle, although I guess you could move him to guard if needed. But Green will play a lot whether he starts or not because the Gators will use their jumbo package.

Mike Williams (Beaufort, SC)

Will the Gators have a full compliment of offensive lineman for the fall or will we still have depth issues now that Dunker has(or will be) transferred?

Michael DiRocco
  (3:20 PM)

Mike -- Provided everyone returns healthy -- and right now they are all on track to do that -- there will be plenty of depth along the line. Don't forget, there's five more linemen who will enroll this summer.

Tyler (Tampa)

MD - Alabama and Georgia have taken a lot of high profile recruits from the state of Florida the past few years. What does UF need to do to consistently reel in their top-priority guys against big-time out-of-state programs?

Michael DiRocco
  (3:23 PM)

Tyler -- UF has gotten its share of the big-time players, too (Driskel, Hargreaves, Taylor were sought after by big programs across the country). There's enough to go around in this state. Muschamp has done a good job of getting big-time players.

Thomas (Jacksonville)

Mike, what are your expectations for this season. Do you think the Gators make the jump and win the east? I'm holding back somewhat because i think better qb and wr play are something that is needed when we get behind late in games. I dont think we'll ever have problems on defense with champ as our coach.

Michael DiRocco
  (3:25 PM)

Thomas -- I agree with what you said about the QBs, WRs and the defense under Muschamp. As for winning the Eastern Division, I think UF and Georgia are the best teams in the division and the 2013 season will be decided in Jacksonville, just like it was in 2012.

Thomas (Jacksonville)

The coaches have been raving about Matt Jones. Do you think it's warranted? Will he put up top RB numbers?

Michael DiRocco
  (3:28 PM)

Thomas -- One of the assistant coaches has said privately that he believes Jones will be the league's best back. And the defensive player that I have spoken with all gushed about Jones. We'll have to see how he does in the fall, but all indications are that the Gators won't have trouble replacing Mike Gillislee.

Tony (Richmond, CA)

Who will replace Jelani Jenkins and Jon Bostic at the linebacker positions?

Michael DiRocco
  (3:29 PM)

Tony -- Antonio Morrison will replace Bostic in the middle. Darrin Kitchens and Mike Taylor are battling for the top spot at weakside linebacker. I think Daniel McMillian is a wild card there, too.

Mike (Tampa)

Mike, Predict the starting O-line and whether you think Driskel will have anytime in the pocket to make reads? Having only six healthy O-Linemen this spring did not help the progression nor bring ease to the fan base, yet Muschamp doesn't seemed concerned...

Michael DiRocco
  (3:31 PM)

Mike -- Here's how I think the starting line will look: LT Humphries, LG Garcia, C Harrison, RG Halapio, RT Moore. I think the left side is an upgrade over last year's left side (especially at tackle). That should give Driskel more time in the pocket. Plus, he'll be more confident in the protection, which should mean he'll be more confident with his reads and throws. All the injured linemen are scheduled to return in time for August practices and there's five players coming in. The depth will be fine.

Mike (Atlanta)

Do dual sport players miss more Spring or Summer practice than other players?

Michael DiRocco
  (3:32 PM)

Mike -- Depends on the sport. If they're playing baseball, like Andrades, they'll miss some practices. But they work with the coaches from both sports to minimize the problems.

Garry Smits (Ponte Vedra Beach)

Just saw your boy Pat Young at The Players Championship. He said to tell you hello

Michael DiRocco
  (3:32 PM)

Garry -- He's very tall.

Garry Smits (Ponte Vedra Beach)

Does powerhouse Bolles have any decent prospects considering UF in 2014?

Michael DiRocco
  (3:35 PM)

Garry -- I'm assuming you're asking this question at the behest of someone else, but I'll answer anyway: No.

Jeff (Tampa, FL)

Do the Gators have a good shot at landing Travonte Valentine or Andrew Brown?

Michael DiRocco
  (3:39 PM)

Jeff -- With Muschamp, the Gators always have a shot, but our RecruitingNation experts believe Valentine will sign with Miami and Brown will sign with Virginia Tech.

Mike (Atlanta)

Will the tight end position put up any significant numbers this year or are we looking at that position more as extra blockers?

Michael DiRocco
  (3:39 PM)

Mike -- None of the TEs did much in the spring, and Muschamp said the group has to get significantly better. I don't see a lot of production as pass catchers from the group in 2013.

Paul (NJ)

Does Uf have any NFL draft hopefuls for 2014? and if so who?

Michael DiRocco
  (3:43 PM)

Paul -- DE/LB Ronald Powell, DT Dominique Easley, CB Loucheiz Purifoy, CB Marcus Roberson, C Jonotthan Harrison, G Jon Halapio, DB Jaylen Watkins, DT Damien Jacobs are the players who will be drafted.

Keenan (Atlanta, GA)

Are there any Lakeland prospects on the Gator radar? I know Florida was very successful with kids from this school during the Urban Meyer Era?

Michael DiRocco
  (3:50 PM)

Keenan -- They've offered Ja'Von Harrison (Kathleen) and Kendall Gant (Lake Gibson).

Paul (NJ)

Do you see UF landing any of the top 10 prospects on the current ESPN top 150

Michael DiRocco
  (3:52 PM)

Paul -- Our RecruitingNation experts didn't predict that UF would land anyone in the top 10.

Ryan (Live Oak)

Why has Matt Jones been so underrated by others around the league? I think he is going to surprise alot of people.

Michael DiRocco
  (3:53 PM)

Ryan -- Well, Jones really didn't do that much last season so there's really no reason for any hype around the league. UF's coaches are excited about him, but they see him every day.

Mike (Atlanta)

Do you think the Basketball team will try to go inside more this year with more size in the front court?

Michael DiRocco
  (3:53 PM)

Mike -- The front court will be the strength, so I do think the team will play inside-out. However, UF has several players in the back court who can really shoot and are capable of taking over games, too.

JD (Lakeland)

I enjoyed the article about Gator QB's in year 2. Based on what you've seen, do you think Driskel can make the jump?

Michael DiRocco
  (3:54 PM)

JD -- He looked more comfortable in the pocket to me. But, and I've said this before, it depends on how the WRs develop. If he gets help there, then I think he can have a good season. If not, then it'll be a lot like last year.

Ram (Columbus,IN)

Why are the top middle linebackers not interested in Gators, even though they have a chance to play rightaway ?

Michael DiRocco
  (3:55 PM)

Ram -- Well, Antonio Morrison is the starter for at least two years, so I don't think they're going to come in and push him out of the starting job. Without knowing each kid's thoughts, I can't tell why they aren't interested in UF. Sometimes it's about fit, or not liking the coach, wanting to stay close to home, etc.

Chris (Orlando)

What linebackers do you expect to be in UF's class?

Michael DiRocco
  (3:57 PM)

Chris -- That's pretty tough to answer. Long time between now and February. Christian Miller is already committed, but the Gators have offers out to more than 15 others.

Bill (Jax beach)

Mike do you see W Grier coming in and playing alot in the backup role next year,seems to me he's going to be the QB for at least 3 full years

Michael DiRocco
  (3:58 PM)

Bill -- I think Grier may redshirt in 2014 then be ready to take over as the starter in 2015. But he could win the backup job next year because it's not like there's any world beaters behind Driskel.

Chris (Orlando)

Who is Muschamp targeting to replace Bullard and Fowler when they leave after their junior year?

Michael DiRocco
  (3:59 PM)

Chris -- UF is going after a ton of DEs, including Da'Shawn Hand, the top DE on the board.

Mike (Atlanta)

Which receiver either currently on the team or entering this summer do you think is the greatest deep threat

Michael DiRocco
  (3:59 PM)

Mike -- I like Ahmad Fulwood out of Jacksonville. Big kid (6-4) who can go up and get the ball. He's not as fast as some of the other guys, but he's got good body control and is probably quicker than people think.

Joe (Orlando)

The players you mentioned that will be drafted some are underclass men do you expect all of them to go

Michael DiRocco
  (4:00 PM)

Joe -- I expect all of those guys that I mentioned to get drafted.

Tony (Richmond, CA)

Who joins Andrew Moten on the Gator defensive line?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:01 PM)

Tony -- Hard to say, because they're going after so many guys (more than 20 have offers). But I expect UF to sign 3-4 more defensive linemen.

Victor (Palo alto)

Why move Watkins to safety instead of Purifoy, who seems to be a better tackler?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:01 PM)

Victor -- Watkins has played the position before. Purifoy never has.

Jeff (Tampa, FL)

Would the Gators take Wade Freeback if he wanted to commit?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:02 PM)

Jeff -- I would imagine so, even with Grier committed. You can't ever have too many QBs on the roster, since it's so hard to project how they'll turn out.