It didn’t take long for Florida’s staff to get in touch with Michigan safety transfer R.J. Moten after he entered the portal on April 24th, 2023.
Following Moten’s three-day visit to Gainesville, the 6-0, 219-pound junior committed to the Gators on May 2nd, fulfilling a position of need on the back end of Florida’s defense.
Moten’s father, Ron Moten, was a linebacker at Florida before being selected in the 6th round of the 1987 NFL Draft.
“His dad obviously was a good player here, and they come down for their official visit and about three hours into it we kind of moved on and were ready to go,” Gators’ defensive coordinator Austin Armstrong said on the recruitment of R.J Moten.
Moten’s offer to the University of Florida was not something he took lightly.
“I think in today’s college football climate that having guys that have a sentimental value or a geographical value to your team is really, really important,” Armstrong said. “I started recruiting him, get on the phone with him and we offered him, per se, you know how unique that is. The guy was almost in tears because it meant a lot to him.”
The Delran, New Jersey native totaled 65 tackles, six pass breakups, 2.5 TFL, and two interceptions in his year two years at Michigan. Moten’s veteran presence is already making a difference in a young Gators’ safety room.
“Guy has over 25 plus starts at a place that we have a lot of respect for, University of Michigan, and two College Football Playoff starts, and he brings a lot of maturity to that room,” Armstrong said.
Moten’s flexibility is something that the Gators’ staff is excited about with their latest safety addition. From 2021-2022, Moten saw 925 defensive snaps, totaling 562 at safety, 221 snaps as a box safety, and 86 reps as a slot corner. Moten even saw 45 snaps on the edge and 10 as an outside cornerback.
“He’s going to probably be to the boundary, does a good job,” Armstrong said. “He’s got some flexibility. We’re glad to have him.”
Moten didn’t join the Gators until June, while the other eight scholarship safeties were in Gainesville for spring camp. Typically, this would indicate that Moten is behind the rest of the group in terms of understanding the scheme, different concepts, and word association, but the veteran safety has made up ground leading into fall camp.
“He’s done a great job with the transformation of his body,” Armstrong said. “The guy got here in June, and everybody else had gone through install in February and the spring, and he had to catch up in a really competitive room. I commend him and everybody in that room’s work right now, so he’s a great addition for us, and we’re glad to have him.”
Teammates Jaydon Hill and Justus Boone also spoke highly of Moten during the first few days of fall camp.
“I feel like he made our secondary better on the day he arrived with just like how he approaches it,” cornerback Jaydon Hill said. “He’s very smart in the film room, and he understands. He knows we have a lot of doubt, and he plans on coming in and helping us win games.”
“RJ Moten got a motor, a very smart guy in the backfield,” defensive end Justus Boone added.
Moten will likely be an immediate impact player for the Florida Gators in 2023.
Here are three things that stood out to me when going over R.J Moten’s analytics.
1- According to Pro Football Focus, Moten hasn’t allowed a TD pass in his career (534 coverage snaps).
2- Moten has not been penalized on defense in 925 career snaps.
3- Moten allowed 13 receptions on 20 targets with a long of 16 yards in 2022.