Florida football fans have been waiting for spring practice to start ever since the clock hit zero in New Orleans and the Gators fell to Louisville.
Now Gators fans only have to wait one more day for the 2013 football team to take the field for spring practice in preparation for the 2013 football season.
All of the freshmen haven’t enrolled at Florida yet so they won’t get the chance to go through spring ball.
With all of that being said, GatorCountry.com is going to take a look at ten players to watch this spring as they will be competing for a starting job next year.
1.) Kicker Austin Hardin
With Caleb Sturgis graduating, the kicking job is up for grabs and redshirt freshman Austin Hardin is the guy who heads into the spring with the best chance to start. Hardin has hit field goals over 60 yards in high school and a few game winning field goals. The key for Hardin is to calm the nerves and relax on the field.
2.) Tight end Kent Taylor
Sophomore Kent Taylor played some last season but never started a game at tight end. Now with Jordan Reed gone to the NFL, Taylor will be competing for the starting job. Last season Taylor had 2 catches for 5 yards and a touchdown, but receiving has never been a question for Taylor it’s his blocking ability that will be challenged this spring. If Taylor can block, the tight end job could be his to lose.
3.) Tight end Colin Thompson
Much like Taylor, Thompson will be competing for the starting job at the tight end position this year. Thompson was forced to redshirt last year due to a foot injury but he has since fully recovered. The redshirt freshman is a better blocker than Taylor, but Taylor is a better receiving tight end. Thompson will have to show the coaches this spring that he is capable of being the receiving tight end Pease needs for his offense.
4.) Running back Matt Jones
Mike Gillislee’s top replacement is sophomore back Matt Jones. Jones had a lot of playing time last year, accumulating 52 carries for 281 yards and six touchdowns. The biggest question for Jones is will he be able to carry the load as a starter, and whether he can pick up the pass blocking aspect of his game.
5.) Safety Marcus Maye
The safety position is one of the few positions who return zero starters, as both Matt Elam and Josh Evans have both graduated. Redshirt freshman Marcus Maye was injured last year with a knee injury but has fully recovered and looks to be ready to go. Maye is an athletic player who can play in the box as well as play centerfield.
6.) Receiver Demarcus Robinson
The Gators have been looking for an elite receiver for years now and freshman early enrollee Demarcus Robinson hopes to become that guy. Robinson is a big 6-foot-3 receiver who averaged over 20 yard per catch last season in high school. Robinson will have to adjust to the college game speed, but if he can he will have an opportunity to play a lot.
7.) Offensive lineman Max Garcia
Offensive line play has been a position of need the last few years for the Gators.Transfer Max Garcia will come in and compete for the left guard position immediately that is vacated by James Wilson. Garcia started 12 games a sophomore at Maryland before transferring, so he has experience on the offensive line in college already under his belt.
8.) Defensive tackle Darious Cummings
Shariff Floyd is gone at defensive tackle, leaving early for the NFL draft. JUCO signee Darious Cummings is a guy that will try to fill Floyd’s void next season. Cummings once signed with FSU but went to JUCO and since, has gotten bigger and stronger as a lineman. Cummings will have to adjust to the SEC, but if he does, he should be in contention for playing time.
9.) Offensive lineman Tyler Moore
Moore is a transfer from Nebraska and took this fall off as he went to a community college. Moore played a lot at as a freshman at Nebraska and was one of the top high school prospects in the country his senior year. Moore should compete for the right tackle job alongside Chaz Green.
10.)Safety Valdez Showers
With Elam and Evans gone at safety, Showers now has the opportunity to compete for a starting job. Showers has showed glimpses of his athletic ability in the past but will need to be consistent moving forward.