Breaking down the Florida Gators 2015 depth chart: Offense

With the freshmen class enrolled in school, and the football season around the corner, it’s time to take a look at the Florida Gators depth chart heading into the season. Gator Country took a look after spring practice, but with an influx of talented freshmen, things have been shaken up some. Today we take a look at the offensive skill players before turning our attention to the offensive line and defense.

QB: Will Grier, RS Freshman | Treon Harris, Sophomore

Will Grier, University of Florida, Florida Gators, Gainesville, Florida
Redshirt freshman Will Grier gets ready to fire a pass during spring practice. / Gator Country photo by David Bowie

The battle for the starting quarterback job is a two horse race and Will Grier took the lead after the spring and remains there down the home stretch. There is no need for Head Coach Jim McElwain to name a starting quarterback until he has to; and that may not even be before the first game against New Mexico State. A situation where both quarterbacks get playing time in the first two games before a true starter is named prior to the first road trip at Kentucky is a very plausible outcome.

When the smoke clears, Gator Country expects that Grier will be the starter for the Gators.

The Rest: Josh Grady RS Senior | Jacob Guy, RS Junior

Grady spent most of his time at Vanderbilt flip-flopping between quarterback and receiver. McElwain has stated that Grady will play quarterback but with only one year to play and the future of the position in place, it’s tough to see what role Grady will have at signal caller. Jacob Guy enjoyed moderate success during spring camp but his inaccurate arm places him fourth on the depth chart, destined to hold a clipboard this season.


RB: Kelvin Taylor, Junior | Jordan Scarlett, Freshman

Taylor carried the ball 166 times last season (second most on the team) and his six rushing touchdowns were tied for the team high. Heading into his junior season, Taylor is finally out of the shadow that Matt Jones and Mack Brown cast over him the previous two seasons but the question remains to be seen if Taylor has become a complete back. His knowledge of the playbook and blocking kept him out of certain packages in the past and, thus, off the field.

A 4-star recruit out of St. Thomas Aquinas, Scarlett is a complete back. He has a good combination of size, power, agility and speed and he can block, an area where most of Florida’s running backs have failed. Expect Scarlett to earn the backup job and eventually split carries with Taylor as the season progresses.

The Rest: Adam Lane, RS Sophomore | Jordan Cronkrite, Freshman | Mark Herndon, Senior

Lane and Herndon are the veterans in the group. Herndon is returning from a knee injury but should be ready for the season. Lane is coming off of the best game of his career, a game that earned him MVP of the Birmingham Bowl but still figures into this mix as the third running back. Cronkrite could be heading for a redshirt this season or could be a special teams player as a freshman.


TE: Jake McGee, RS Senior | C’yontai Lewis, RS Freshman /DeAndre Goolsby, Sophomore

C'yontai Lewis, Florida Gators, florida gators football, Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, Florida
After taking a redshirt, C’yontai Lewis is ready to leave his mark at the University of Florida. / Gator Country photo by David Bowie

The clear-cut leader here is McGee. As Coach McElwain tries to implement a pro-style offense in 2015 he will be without a true tight end for that style of offense but McGee is far and away the most balanced player at the position. His combination of size, strength and pass-catching ability has him figured in to be a key contributor to the offense. Lewis and Goolsby are very similar players. Neither will be asked to block a ton but both players can be a threat in the passing game. Lewis’s height (6-4) and leaping ability could make him a huge redzone target and Goolsby’s ability to run with the ball could allow McElwain and offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier some room for creativity with his play calling.

The Rest: Moral Stephens, RS Freshman | Bair Diamond, RS Junior

Both Stephens and Diamond are complimentary pieces at this point. Stephens has a lot of developing to do and is likely a year or two away from making an impact. Diamond, a walk on, played in one game last season (Eastern Michigan) and doesn’t really figure into the mix much this season.


WR (X): Demarcus Robinson, Junior | C.J. Worton, Sophomore

Demarcus Robinson, Florida Gators, University of Florida, Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, Florida
Demarcus Robinson had an excellent spring and could emerge as one of Florida’s top receivers in the fall / Gator Country Photo by David Bowie

This could be the last we see of Robinson in Orange and Blue. A junior, Robinson had more than double the receptions of any receiver in 2014, his seven touchdowns accounted for more than 35% of all the receiving touchdowns last year and his 810 receiving yards were more than the next three receivers combined. Robinson is an athletic freak who has a ton of ability. He was hampered some by his quarterbacks a season ago but with an opportunity to impress NFL scouts, he will look to have a breakout season.

Off the field issues kept Worton off of the field for the most part his freshman campaign. If Worton can stay focused off the field he has all the ability to be a very good receiver for Florida. He’s a good route runner and has the best hands on the team. He may not be as physically gifted as Robinson, but Worton may be the best pure receiver on the roster.

The Rest: Raph Andrades, Senior

Andrades played in just two games as a sophomore and didn’t see the field last year as a junior. He continued to find a role on special teams and should fill the same role again this season.


WR (Z): Ahmad Fulwood, Junior | Chris Thompson, Junior

Fulwood played in all 12 games including five starts as a sophomore. He caught just 12 passes for 199 yards, with his highlight coming on an 86-yard screen pass that he took for a score in the Birmingham Bowl. Fulwood has underrated speed for his size and is a big target. He’s improved his route running and timing but he’ll need to fend off some of the younger players and earn his playing time.

Thompson played in 10 games last season catching two passes. He was the special teams player of the game against Vanderbilt but was relegated to special teams for most of the season. He’ll likely be relegated to small packages that can utilize that speed on offense and, once again, will be a mainstay on special teams.

The Rest: Alvin Bailey, RS Sophomore | Kalif Jackson, Freshman

Bailey saw action in six games last season at wide receiver and on special teams. Bailey’s speed is his biggest ally and McElwain showcased that with a flea-flicker in the Orange and Blue Debut. Bailey could get some more time on offense in plays designed to utilize his speed on the edge but will likely continue to make his biggest impact on special teams.

Jackson has a lot of growing to do as a receiver and will likely redshirt this season.


WR (Z/Slot): Brandon Powell, Sophomore | Latroy Pittman, Senior

The coaching staff has fallen in love with Powell as a person and as a player. Powell came to Florida as a running back and you can see that type of vision and ball carrying ability when he has the ball in his hands. Right now, his route running leaves a lot to be desired but McElwain tipped his hand, showing that he will get creative with different ways to get the ball in Powell’s hands in space. Powell is the early front-runner to be Florida’s breakout star in 2015.

The Rest: Antonio Callaway, Freshman | Valdez Showers, RS, Senior | Ryan Sousa, RS Freshman

Callaway is coming off of a knee injury but is close to 100 percent, if he’s not already there. Callaway is a very good slot receiver with good hands but will likely see time on special teams as a freshman. Showers, bounced from offense to defense in 2013 but had just one carry and two receptions as a junior. He has a unique set of skills, he has good hands and is good after the catch, but he really needs a coach who can scheme him into good matchups and positions. Sousa needs to continue to develop. He had a lot of bad drops in the spring and looks like he needs another year or two to develop.

Stay tuned as Gator Country will break down the offensive line on Thursday and the defense on Friday.

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Nick de la Torre
A South Florida native, Nick developed a passion for all things sports at a very young age. His love for baseball was solidified when he saw Al Leiter’s no-hitter for the Marlins live in May of 1996. He was able to play baseball in college but quickly realized there isn’t much of a market for short, slow outfielders that hit around the Mendoza line. Wanting to continue with sports in some capacity he studied journalism at the University of Central Florida. Nick got his first start in the business as an intern for a website covering all things related to the NFL draft before spending two seasons covering the Florida football team at Bleacher Report. That job led him to GatorCountry. When he isn’t covering Gator sports, Nick enjoys hitting way too many shots on the golf course, attempting to keep up with his favorite t.v. shows and watching the Heat, Dolphins and Marlins. Follow him on twitter @NickdelatorreGC


    • Agreed, things do look a little better. I also think that Coach Mac and the offensive staff will bring some imaginative play-calling to The Swamp to compensate for some OL shortcomings. If the ‘injury-bug’ can be kept at bay these guys will start getting ‘the wagon’ out of the ditch!!

  1. There is only one proven player on this list, Demarcus Robinson. The rest have either done little, nothing, or shown flashes of that dreaded word, potential. The one who has to step up his game is Taylor. There have been enough excuses made for why he hasn’t been anything but an average back at UF. His failure to show up, figuratively, for the bowl game is indicative of his career at Florida. He just disappears sometimes. I think that is the reason so much hope is put into a true freshman, Scarlett.
    A similar expectation is made for Will Grier. The only reason he is ahead right now is because Harris missed significant time in the Spring. Harris is the returning starter and he has already beaten out Grier once, and the lack of respect given to the returning starter is amazing. I saw no difference between the two in the Spring game, and Harris was working with the second team. I think the predictions for Grier being the starter is based on the commonplace fan outlook of the guy that you haven’t seen being better than the guy you have seen, if the starter has been less than stellar. I think it’s also a huge plus in Harris’s favor that he has actually been to war, while Grier has done nothing. I know that everyone will say the right things, but it’s normal for players to favor one quarterback over the other, and, until McElwain says differently, the players are going to gravitate to someone who has actually been to war with them, Harris, over some guy that hasn’t done anything.
    As for the receivers, Robinson has the potential to be an All-American. Powell has “potential.” But I believe a good football team has upperclassmen that lead the way, and that means that guys like Pittman and Showers, who are Seniors need to become much better players. Guys like Calloway and Powell have little or no college experience as receivers. I think for Florida to exceed expectations, which is 7-5, the average record of UF the past five years, you need Seniors to lead the way. McGee, if he’s healthy, Pittman and Showers have to become leaders to supplement the talented Robinson.
    Who knows? The team is a complete mystery, particularly on offense, but I think the rush to hand christen Grier as UF’s starting quarterback is premature. As for a true freshman, there is no way to know who is ready. It could just as easily be Cronkite, not Scarlett, who is a difference maker. Coaches have learned a long time ago to not make any predictions about true freshmen, for good reason. You have no idea who is ready to play right away until they show up, and being mentally ready is even more important that being physically ready.

    • Interesting comments. Ah, but will the ECD (Echo Chamber Denizens) condemn SHOWME for the crime of heresy against the Gator offense? Who will be the first to utter ‘troll’ or even worse, SNOWFLAKE!!

  2. SHOWME – Seems like you’re banging on underclassmen as not being people you can trust or build around, but then knock Taylor for not having accomplished much. I think for a RB, having almost 1100 yards in his first two years is not terrible. Considering he had double digit carries only five times last season, I’d say he’s done quite well. There’s a RB at Alabama that is on the cover of most magazines in the south that only has slightly better numbers in all reality.
    Anyway, I think Taylor will be fine, as will the RB position as a whole. Again, the playmakers can only control so much. Robinson caught 53 passes last year. Fulwood = 29. Powell = 16. Showers = 2. We threw more passes to Clay Burton and Westbrook than we did to Powell and Showers. What does that tell you?
    I guess my overall thought is that it’s very hard to be critical of the playmakers when they’ve had limited opportunities. I mean, Debose had the potential to almost take every kick back, but did not catch one pass and had only two carries. Really?!?! Wonder how Auburn or Oregon would have used Debose??
    Mac has a creativity about him that’s promising and his product has proven to work, lets give the players a chance to be playmakers. #GoGators

    • I’ve seen Taylor play, and you also make excuses for him. Last year should have let you, and anyone else, know that it doesn’t take long to see if you have a great back. There were a lot of freshmen running backs that were great last year, but we’re supposed to be content with Taylor not being even in the same galaxy as them? Taylor was a five star running back who has played like a three star. What happened to him in the Bowl game last year? Of course, there’s some excuse made for that as well. As for the receivers, again I hear excuses, but Robinson has done well, so the reasons given for duds like Fulwood are not valid. He’s been at UF the same time as Robinson, and hasn’t been suspended for games as Robinson has. If Debose could play a lick, he would have played. blaming the coaches for him being a bust at receiver is ridiculous. The Raiders took a flyer on him in the seventh round, because of his speed, and have already got rid of him. He was a bad receiver and a great kick returner, in other words a five star bust.
      I still think it’s amazing that coaches get the blame when it’s the players that haven’t performed. McElwain is not anything special. Roper tried to have a wide open offense, the problem was that UF didn’t have the talent to execute it. The Alabama game was the perfect example. UF tried to throw it all around the field and be an exciting offense. But UF didn’t have the quarterback or receivers to make plays. How many times did UF have a receiver open on a deep route, only to see Driskel miss them? If Driskel was accurate, how many times did UF’s receivers drop the pass?
      At some point you have to look at the players, not the coaches. Why do you think Brandon Powell is going to the SEC Media days? He has done very little at UF, yet it’s apparent that McElwain has already placed his faith in him because he’s seen the tape of guys like Fulwood, Taylor, etc. I think Robinson would have been a candidate, but have you heard him speak?
      I have no idea what “creativity” you are talking about with McElwain. His offenses at Alabama were no different than what Muschamp tried to run, the only difference is that Alabama had the horses to run a pro-style downhill running team and Florida didn’t. We’ll see, but I’m of the opinion that it’s not the X’s and O’s, it’s the jimmys and joes, and it’s going to take a while to get the jimmys and joes to be successful at UF.