Top performers from Florida’s Orange and Blue game: Offense

Florida’s offense totaled 648 yards between both teams during the Orange and Blue spring game. The split teams combined for 15 explosive plays in the contest.

Gator Country gives you the top performers on the offensive side of the ball this afternoon.

WR Eugene Wilson

Sophomore receiver Eugene Wilson stole the show on Saturday afternoon, leading both squads with 122 yards (111 at halftime) on eight receptions. Late in the second quarter, Graham Mertz connected with Wilson on a deep post, resulting in a 60-yard touchdown. The scoring drive was two plays, 80 yards, both to Wilson.

Wilson led both teams in yards after the catch with 77.

Wilson put on 11 pounds in the offseason and looks even more explosive than he did during his freshman campaign, when the Tampa native hauled in 61 passes for 538 yards and six touchdowns.

The 5’10, 181 pound receiver feels like he left a lot on the field in 2023 and is looking to prove himself as a star receiver in the SEC. He certainly looked the part today.

QB Graham Mertz 

Returning starting quarterback Graham Mertz threw for 243 yards passing on 15-27 passing along with one touchdown and one interception. His lone interception came after wide receiver Chimere Dike slipped at the top of his route following his plant, allowing Sharif Denson to jump the route and come away with the ball.

Mertz had a pair of completions go for 50+ yards with Eugene Wilson and Kahleil Jackson grabbing one each. This was a breath of fresh air after Florida totaled two just passing plays of 50 yards or more yards 2023 (one against D1 teams).

Mertz led the game-winning drive with three passes of 11-plus yards including
a pair of 18-yard passes to WR Chimere Dike and TE Arlis Boardingham.

Escaping the pocket and extending the play was something Mertz struggled with in 2023, but I thought the 6th year quarterback did a much better job of that today. On team Blue’s first drive of the game, Mertz felt pressure coming from his left side and was able to roll out right and find Eugene Wilson, who fought back to the ball, giving Mertz a safe place to throw it. The duo picked up 11 yards and a first down on a critical 3rd and 4.

Mertz’ decision making was quick and decisive, taking only one sack in the contest which happened late in the 4th quarter. Last year, Mertz admitted to hanging on to the ball for too long at times; that didn’t happen nearly as much in the spring game.

QB DJ Lagway

DJ Lagway showed Gator Nation exactly why he was a five-star quarterback coming out of high school, completing 12-21 passes for 173 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception in his first game in The Swamp.

Lagway was a part of five explosive plays, including a 22-yard strike to Aidan Mizell for team Orange’s first touchdown of the game.

The 6’3, 241-pound dual threat quarterback showcased his ability to move around in the pocket and avoid pressure. Lagway was sacked ‘six’ times, but in game where touch sacks are not being called, you’ll see Lagway shed tackles and take off more often than not. He did record a 12 yard rush during the contest.

Lagway’s arm talent and play making ability is undeniable, but the freshman QB did make a few ill-advised throws in the game, which you can fully expect from a true freshman quarterback after 14 practices. Outside of a few dangerous throws, Lagway stayed in control and seemed unfazed throughout the game.

Lagway confirmed one thing for us today; his ceiling is very high. Most of us probably expected that, but still great to see him make explosive plays against much stiffer competition.

RB Jadan Baugh

True freshman Jadan Baugh ran for 77 yards on just 12 carries, averaging an impressive 6.4 yards per carry in the contest. Baugh was moving very well for a 237-pound running back, displaying quick lateral movement followed by respectable acceleration through running lanes.

Perhaps his most impressive trait this afternoon was his vision. The Atlanta, Georgia native showcased his ability to stop on a dime and switch directions into the correct gap.

It may be difficult to take Jadan Baugh off the football field if he continues to run like he did throughout Florida’s spring game.

RB Ja’Kobi Jackson

Redshirt junior Ja’Kobi Jackson ran for a team Orange high of 60 yards on five attempts, leading both teams in average yards per carry (12). He also collected the longest rush of the game with his 32-yard dash in the second quarter.

Jackson also led both teams in explosive plays with three, all of which came in the second quarter.

The former JUCO transfer put his speed on display today and it did not go unnoticed.

WR Marcus Burke

Redshirt junior Marcus Burke has put together a really nice spring and that carried over into the Orange and Blue game.

The 6’4, 193-pound receiver led Team Orange with 63 receiving yards, hauling in three of his four targets, two of which were explosive plays.

In the second quarter, Lagway delivered a low ball to Burke in the middle of the field in which he was able to come up with and take for 37 yards. This play converted a 2nd and 18 and allowed team Orange to find the endzone just three plays later to regain the lead.





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.