The rest of Florida’s true freshman class joined the five early entries on campus Monday to begin their careers as Gators.
With their arrival, Gator Country takes a look at the five true freshmen who are most likely to have an impact on Florida’s 2011 season.
No. 1 – P Kyle Christy
As arguably the most overlooked part of Florida’s success over the past few years, punter Chas Henry was a huge weapon for the Gators.
With his outstanding leg, he could instantly flip field position, giving Florida valuable momentum and keeping the Gators from playing on a short field defensively.
Henry’s efforts didn’t go unnoticed, as he was named the 2010 Ray Guy award winner, given to the nation’s best punter.
Versatility was also a huge part of Henry’s game, though. When starting kicker Caleb Sturgis went down with an injury in 2010, Henry stepped right in.
As the team’s primary field goal kicker for most of the 2010 season, Henry connected on seven of 11 field goal attempts, including a thrilling game-winner against Georgia in overtime.
Without Henry, the Gators will likely turn the reins at punter over to true freshman Kyle Christy.
Christy is a 6-foot-3, 189-pound punter from Brownsburg, Ind. He was one of the nation’s top punters as a high-school senior, earning an invite to the Army All-American Game.
In high school, Christy set four school records and led all punters in the state with an average boot of 42.4 yards, not too shy of Henry’s 2010 mark of 45.1 yards.
In addition to his strong leg as a punter, Christy can also serve as a place kicker if necessary. In high school, he notched two 45-yard field goals and was one of the school’s all-time scoring leaders.
With Sturgis’ injury problems last season and his sometimes shaky performance on field goals outside of 40 yards, Christy’s versatility provides a nice safety net for the Gators on special teams.
Christy enrolled early at Florida and has been on campus since January. He’s an outstanding student, having graduated from his high school with honors and a 3.75 GPA.
At Florida’s spring game, Christy flashed off his powerful leg in warm-ups, with a few punts around the 60-yard range.
However, he also hit a few wobblers that wound up well short of his farthest punts.
When the game actually began, he had mixed results, booting one for 55 yards and another for 38 yards.
His main competition for the job, walk-on David Lerner, had a similar performance with punts of 49 and 37 yards.
Christy is expected to beat out Lerner for the starting job, but it could be a tight battle in fall camp.
Regardless, should he win the job as expected, Christy is likely to have the biggest impact of any true freshman for Florida in 2011.
He has the leg strength to be another great punter for a school that has pumped them out routinely over the past few years.