If Dan Mullen doesn’t see the chasm in talent between Florida and Georgia, then that’s part of the problem for the fourth-year Gators coach.
“We were better last year, and they were better this year,” Mullen said after Florida’s 34-7 loss to No. 1 Georgia on Saturday when asked about the talent gap between the programs.
If Mullen doesn’t change Florida’s trajectory in recruiting, Georgia is going to be better in most years when Mullen goes up against Kirby Smart – because Smart assembles better players, and more talent usually prevails.
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Florida (4-4, 2-4 SEC) is 4-7 in its last 11 games. That doesn’t change my belief that Mullen is one of the smartest Xs and Os coaches in the sport, but this isn’t the NFL. Recruiting and stockpiling talent is the path to sustained success in college football, and Smart is recruiting at a clip matched only by Alabama.
That’s why Georgia (8-0, 6-0) is running roughshod over the SEC despite starting a former walk-on at quarterback. Five-star talent is scattered throughout its roster.
Mullen’s four signing classes during his Florida tenure featured a total of two five-star recruits. During that same four-year span, Smart signed 20 five-star prospects.
Five-star signees separate programs like Alabama and Georgia from others in the SEC. Lots of SEC programs sign plenty of four-star prospects, but Alabama and Georgia stockpile the elite recruits.
And Mullen is on pace for his worst signing class of his Florida tenure. Georgia’s 2022 recruiting class ranks No. 1 in the 247Sports Composite, while Florida’s ranks 22nd.
The Gators likely will move up the recruiting rankings as the December signing period approaches and they gain more commitments – they only have 13 right now – but a top-10 recruiting finish looks like a longshot.
Mullen has never been regarded as a top recruiter, but Florida’s recruiting class should never be ranked as low as 22nd nationally entering November. Mullen resides in a state that is deep on talent, and Florida State and Miami are mired in bad seasons. The Gators should be cleaning up. But none of the state’s top 15 prospects in the 247Sports Composite are committed to the Gators. Compare that to Georgia, which has commitments from seven of the Peach State’s top 15 prospects.
“There’s no coach out there that can outcoach recruiting,” Smart said Saturday.
That’s Mullen’s problem.