PFF tabs Jake Slaughter a top returning interior offensive lineman

Pro Football Focus tabs Florida center Jake Slaughter a top returning interior offensive lineman in college football. PFF is a sports analytical company that focuses on thorough analysis of the National Football League (NFL) and NCAA Division-I football in the United States. The redshirt junior checks in at No.8 on their list.

Top Returning Interior Offensive Lineman 

  1.  Parker Brailsford, Alabama Crimson Tide
  2.  Tate Ratledge, Georgia Bulldogs
  3.  Tyler Booker, Alabama Crimson Tide
  4.  Donovan Jackson, Ohio State Buckeyes
  5.  Clay Webb, Jacksonville State Gamecocks
  6.  Luke Kandra Cincinatti Bearcats
  7. Jaeden Roberts, Alabama Crimson Tide
  8. Jake Slaughter, Florida Gators
  9. Dylan Fairchild, Georgia Bulldogs
  10. Willie Lampkin, North Carolina Tar Heels

Max Chadwick, a CFB analyst for PFF, explains his reasoning behind the Jake Slaughter hype.

“Slaughter played sparingly for Florida over his first couple of seasons before breaking out in his redshirt sophomore campaign. His 81.2 grade in 2023 ranked second among Power Five centers to Oregon’s Jackson Powers-Johnson. Slaughter’s 82.4 run-blocking grade on zone runs tied for fifth among that same group,” Chadwick said.

“The only reason Slaughter doesn’t place higher on this list is because he wasn’t the Gators’ preferred option at center. In fact, his breakout year was a result of initial starter Kingsley Eguakun missing most of the season due to injury. In the four games when Eguakun was healthy, Slaughter was relegated to the bench. With Eguakun now off to the NFL, expect Slaughter to build on his eye-opening 2023 as a full-time starter.”

The 6’4.5, 297 pound center started eight games a season ago, working on and off with the first team as returning starter Kingsley Eguakun battled an ankle injury all year.

“You know we had all the trust and confidence in Jake, and you know, he just, like you said, he got better and better,” offensive line coach Rob Sale said on Slaughter’s 2023 season. “He really didn’t have much experience before that, and Kingsley battled coming back, he was in and out of the lineup type deal, Jake really got better every single time, you know what you are going to get with Jake, that’s what I like, but the ceiling is really high for Jake.”

“He’s just a great leader, does everything the right way. Communicates. He has presence in there, takes a lot of Graham’s [Mertz] plate,” Sale added.

Slaughter was a three-star recruit in the 2021 class and ranked as the 71st interior offensive lineman in the class. The Gators got involved with the Ocala native late in the cycle and the rest was history. The continued development of Slaughter is something to keep track of in 2024.

“Every week it just kept getting better for me,” Slaughter said on his 2023 season. “It’s one of those things, like you can anticipate, you can see that and have an idea of what’s going on before it happens. So, it just kind of stayed at a steady angle going up a lot.”

Slaughter is expected to start for the Gators at center in 2024. Rod Kearney and Knijeah Harris also have experience snapping the football.

Nick Marcinko
Nick is a recent graduate from the University of Florida with a degree in Telecommunications. He is passionate about all sports but specifically baseball and football. Nick interned at Inside the Gators and worked part time with Knights247 before joining the Gator Country family. Nick enjoys spending his free time golfing and at the beach.