Over the next 67 days, GatorCountry will preview the players that make up the 2013 Florida Gators football team as we inch closer and closer to the season.
Each day we will count down using the player whose jersey number corresponds with how many days there are left until Florida kicks off against Toledo in the Swamp on August 31.
Today we take a look at redshirt senior offensive guard Jon Halapio.
Sometimes scouting services get their projections wrong. It’s especially hard to project offensive linemen in high school because most linemen are not physically ready to play at the next level and scouts are faced with having to predict how these players will progress at the next level.
Jon Halapio is one of those players that was vastly underrated in high school. Ranked as a 3-star recruit, Halapio played in three games as a true freshman before earning a medical redshirt.
As a redshirt freshman in 2010, Halapio played in 12 games for Florida, including seven starts at right guard. Halapio continued to progress in 2011 when he became the permanent starter at right guard and started every game for the Gators. He was the only player on the roster to start every game the entire season at the same position for Florida.
Halapio was named a team captain prior to last season and he again started every game of the season at right guard. His 27 consecutive starts are the most of any player on the roster and barring something unforeseen; he is poised to start every game again this season.
Offensive linemen love to run the football and Halapio is no different. He really excels as a run blocker – which works well for the Gators’ style of offense.
At 6’3”, 315-pounds, Halapio has great size for an interior lineman. He uses his hands well to deliver a punch in the run game and regularly drives his man off of the line of scrimmage.
He moves well for a player of his size and has no problem pulling when he is asked to. He couples those assets with quick feet for an interior linemen.
While he is an adequate pass-blocker, Halapio struggled at times last season in this aspect of his game. He and whoever was at right tackle had trouble picking up stunts and need to communicate better for Florida to have success. Too many times, Halapio and the right tackle would mix up their assignments and give up a negative play as a result.
He plays with good leverage most of the time but he could be more consistent in his technique overall. He can tend to get too high at times and not play with enough leverage.
What to Expect
Like we said before, you can expect Halapio to line up at right guard every time the Gators take the field, barring an injury of course. Florida brought in a solid offensive line recruiting class and players like Tyler Moore and Chaz Green could slide inside and challenge Halapio for his starting spot.
In the end, Halapio is more experienced at the position than anyone on Florida’s roster, which is an easy statement to make because nobody has started at right guard other than Halapio in the last two years.
Halapio will give Florida a solid, reliable player on what should be a much improved offensive line in 2013.