With the Orange and Blue Debut in the rearview, the Florida Gators football team enters the doldrums of the offseason. The team will workout together through the offseason with the strength and conditioning staff but Jim McElwain and his coaching staff are solely focused on recruiting with the spring evaluation period beginning.
With that in mind Gator Country will go over where the current roster stands, what the depth chart looks like, and how the 13 incoming freshmen will fit in at their positions when they arrive on campus in June.
RS Senior — Mark Herndon
Junior — Mark Thompson
Sophomore — Jordan Cronkrite
Sophomore — Jordan Scarlett
Questions heading into spring
Kelvin Taylor carried the ball 259 out of 346 (75%) carries by running backs in 2015. With Taylor leaving Florida for the NFL who would make up three quarters of the carries lost? The Gators returned both Jordan Cronkrite and Jordan Scarlett and brought in junior college transfer Mark Thompson to contend for those reps. The biggest question they faced this spring was which one, if any, would be able to separate from the pack and take over as the starter.
What we learned
This was and still is the closest position battle on the team. Based on the reps that the media could see during practice, it would appear that Cronkrite, if anybody, has a leg up on the competition here but none of the running backs did much in the way of distancing themselves.
The biggest thing we learned and saw this spring is that the position, overall, will be much better in the passing game. All four running backs looked good catching the ball out of the backfield as well as in pass protection.
All four running backs can also break tackles and the addition of Lamical Perine this summer gives Florida a true stable of backs to play with. The depth that Florida has could lead to a redshirt for Perine, but that’s something that the incoming freshman isn’t thinking about right now. He wants to play as a freshman and will do everything he can to make that happen.
We’ve said it over and over: despite McElwain saying that you need a lot of running backs to make it through a season in the NFL, his past shows that he likes to find one bell cow in the backfield and stick with him. That means four guys will likely be left looking on from the sidelines.
Cronkrite might have a slight advantage at the moment, but this battle is far from over with a lot of guys who are all capable of being productive for the Gators.