After hauling in a second consecutive top-five class, Muschamp has obviously adjusted well since taking over for Urban Meyer. There is no question Meyer is one of the top recruiters in the country and brought some phenomenal players to UF, but he missed a bunch, too. And it's no secret that many of his players had serious character issues (see arrest records).
The reason is because Meyer relied much more on the star system and the opinion of others than he did his own evaluation system. Meyer's final class in 2008 is a perfect example. It was ranked No. 1 in the nation by Rivals.com but turned out to be an awful class.
"Two years later, that No. 1 class drove Urban Meyer to retirement," South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier pointed out when asked about the recruiting rankings Wednesday.
Here's the difference between Meyer and Muschamp: Meyer was famous for signing highly rated recruits (see busts such as former cornerback Josh Shaw and former safety Jeremy Finch) even if it meant overruling the evaluations of his own assistant coaches. In contrast, it's not uncommon for Muschamp to turn down highly rated recruits because the rankings don't jibe with the evaluation of his coaching staff.
When asked how much consideration he gives the recruiting rankings before pursuing a prospect, Muschamp just smiled and said: "Absolutely no consideration at all. We get most of our guys committed before they [rankings] ever come out. Maybe they look at our ratings."
A few minutes later, Muschamp left his signing-day news conference to head upstairs to his office, where his coaches had already taken down the 2013 recruiting boards and replaced them with evaluation boards for the 2014 recruiting class. Believe it or not, the Gators already have five commitments for next year.
It should come as no surprise that Muschamp and his coaches celebrated their massive recruiting haul Wednesday night, but planned to be back in the office early Thursday morning working on next year's class.
In the SEC, the recruiting trail is an endless road littered with bearded, bedraggled men drinking cheap wine from a paper sack.