Jabari Gorman: The next Ahmad Black?
However, Black isn’t a prototypical safety. The 5-foot-9, 184-pound safety has always been a bit smaller than his counterparts. Most safeties are between 5-11 and 6-2, and weigh between 200 and 210 pounds.
What made Black successful was his great vision, his wrap-up, solid tackling skills, and play-making ability as a blitzer and as a drop-back safety. He would never physically “wow” you; he would just make position plays, which compensated for his lack of prototypical size.
The Gators currently have a great stable of safeties. Matt Elam is poised to have an All-American year, De’Ante Saunders showed flashes last season, Josh Evans has been a solid contributor and Valdez Showers should have a good red-shirt freshman year. However, there is one name that I did not mention, that I believe could end his career at UF similarly to Ahmad Black: sophomore safety Jabari Gorman.
Gorman is a quite similar in a lot of ways to Ahmad Black. Gorman is a 5-9, 183-pound safety (sound familiar?) that is a solid, wrap-up tackler who can drop into coverage or provide great run support.
The rising sophomore and Black, also, had very similar freshmen years, amassing eight tackles and seven tackles, respectively, playing mostly on special teams.
Moving past physical and statistical similarities, Gorman reminds me Black in a few ways. Primarily, during the 2011 Orange and Blue Debut, Gorman displayed good vision and was a solid tackler, leading the team with 10 total tackles. No hit that Gorman made would cause you to jump out of your seat, no, Gorman had a performance that you appreciate on paper, because he was a solid contributor that did his job as the last line of defense.
Moreover, I think Gorman shows great anticipation on the football. What made Ahmad Black successful as a defender, was his ability to anticipate the play and make a move to the football before the ball was thrown, which allowed him to amass 13 tackles and get involved on 244 tackles. Gorman’s speed, coupled with anticipation, will make him a great “ball-hawking” safety. Will Muschamp said of Gorman, “He’s a very instinctive young man, smart.” “He’s a guy that played well on special teams last year, and he’s a guy that can continue to develop and be a good safety prospect.”
Time will tell how well Gorman plays at UF. However, I know that he has the skills, intangibles, and mental capacity to do well at the safety position. Gorman still must battle for playing time against Evans and Saunders this season. But when Gorman gets his shot, he won’t disappoint.