Prior to the 2019 season, the Florida Gators had just one player selected to a preseason All-American list. Heading into the 2020 season that number has already doubled.
Thursday T.J. Slaton was named a Sporting News preseason Second Team All-American, joining Kyle Pitts, who was named a Third-Team All-American by Athlon Sports. Pitts and quarterback Kyle Trask was also named to Athlon Sports’ All-SEC teams.
Slaton is entering his senior year and finds his way to the list despite not logging a start in 2019. The big man from South Florida flashed during his junior season with 29 tackles, 12 quarterback pressures, four tackles for a loss, and two sacks. Slaton projects to move into the starting role at three-technique for the Gators in 2020 and if he builds off his 2019 finish could live up to the lofty preseason ranking.
Kyle Pitts is being mentioned, along with Penn State’s Pat Freiermuth, as the favorites to win the John Mackey Award — given to the best tight end in the nation. Pitts would be the second Gator to win the award (Aaron Hernandez, 2009). Pitts led the Gators with 54 receptions in 2019 and was second on the team with five touchdowns and 649 yards. Pitts was also named a First Team All-American by Walter Camp and a Second Team All-American by Lindy’s.
Trask is in the middle of his first offseason as Florida’s starting quarterback. Trask took over for the injured Feleipe Franks in 2019 and exceeded all expectations. Trask completed 66.9% (237-354) of his pass attempts for 2,941 yards, 25 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Trask has been named to a First Team All-SEC quarterback (Street and Smith, College Football News), a Second Team All-SEC quarterback (Athlon Sports).
Athlon Sports littered their All-SEC teams with Gators. Receiver Kadarius Toney (all-purpose) and sophomore cornerback Kaiir Elam joined Trask on their second-team. Zach Carter, Marco Wilson, Shawn Davis, and Evan McPherson made the third team, while Trevon Grimes and graduate transfer Stewart Reese made the fourth team.