Florida Gators ‘DBU’ running dangerously low on numbers

With the Orange and Blue Debut in the rear view, the Florida Gators football team enters the doldrums of the off-season. The team will workout together through the off season 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.

So far we’ve covered quarterbacks, running backs, receivers, defensive ends, defensive tackles, linebackers and tight ends. Today we head back to defense to take a look at DBU, starting with cornerbacks.

The Players
Junior — Jalen Tabor
Junior — Quincy Wilson
Junior — Duke Dawson
Sophomore — Chris Williamson
Freshman — McArthur Burnett

Incoming freshmen
Joseph Putu
Christopher McWilliams


Questions heading into spring

Obviously the Gators are replacing a special talent in Vernon Hargreaves III, but should be in very good hands with Quincy Wilson and Jalen Tabor, but DBU wasn’t built on two, would there be depth?

What we learned

There isn’t depth, a question I posed to junior Quincy Wilson at face value.

“Is there any depth at cornerback, or are Jalen and yourself going to have to play more snaps this season,” I asked.

“No,” Wilson answered during spring practice. “There’s not really that much depth, so we all gotta stay healthy.”

Tabor is an All-American and Quincy Wilson can play at that level as well. Florida’s two starting cornerbacks can matchup with any other two in the country; you roll them out there every week without a second thought or concern. Duke Dawson fits into that starting group as well. Dawson, the lesser talked about cornerback from the 2014 recruiting class has come into his own as Florida’s starting nickelback. You feel as good about these three players as anybody feels about their secondary.

After those three, there’s a huge drop-off, not necessarily in talent, although certainly the younger players are not at the level of Tabor or Wilson yet, but in experience and confidence. You and I have played as many snaps as the rest of the cornerbacks put together on the roster after the three starters.

Chris Williamson really emerged this spring as the fourth best cornerback option but rotating him in won’t be like the rotation last year, when Hargreaves, Wilson and Tabor rotated. Williamson is long and strong, he did a much better job of pressing at the line and being more physical, but he was prone to get beat at times this spring.

McArthur Burnett really struggled at times this spring. He’s a very athletic player but you could tell that he was swimming this spring. Struggling with the mental part of the game led Burnett to have to think more, slowing him down on the field. He was visibly discouraged during practices when he would get beat in a rep and again during the spring game. He has a long way to go before he’s ready to be a real contributor for the defense.

Moving forward

It’s pretty straightforward at cornerback. You have two potential first round talents starting on either side of the field, and maybe one backup. You have a very good nickel, but there just isn’t any depth at the position. That’s what happens when you recruit well and guys leave early, losing JC Jackson and Deiondre Porter unexpectedly before last season didn’t exactly help Florida’s depth this season.

The low numbers do open up potential early playing time for Joseph Putu. It remains to be seen where Florida will play Putu, but given how new Putu is to the game of football, it may be an easier transition for him to play cornerback rather than safety.

Chris McWilliams is a developmental type of prospect. McWilliams best bet to get on the field and avoid a redshirt in 2016 is if he can make an impact on special teams, but he would benefit from a year to grow, mature and get stronger in the weight room.

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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


  1. I think they will end up fine depth wise once Putu,McWilliams,Taylor,and Lenton arrive. Putu and McWilliams play CB, and Lenton and Taylor at safety will mean they can play Gardner at CB more.Putu,Gardner,Williamson,Burnett,and McWilliams will provide enough depth behind Tabor,Wilson,and Dawson.

    • Are you saying Tabor,Wilson,Dawson,Putu,Gardner,and Williamson won’t be enough depth at CB. If Williamson is the 6th CB and Gardner and Putu are the first two off the bench in the CB rotation they will be fine this year. They are gonna need to pick up atleast one big CB commit that can come in an play immediately if Williamson,Burnett,or McWilliams aren’t ready to start next year. Which they might not be.