Way too early 2023 defensive depth chart

With 35 offseason departures, Billy Napier saw quite the roster turnover after his first year as head football coach for the Florida Gators. Transfers, dismissals, and NFL bound athletes forced Florida to turn to the transfer portal and the 2023 recruiting class to fill in key holes throughout the roster.

With Spring football quickly approaching, Gator Country gives you our way too early 2023 defensive two-deep depth chart. 


Starter: Desmond Watson 

Backup: Cam’Ron Jackson

Starter: Chris McClellan 

Backup: Caleb Banks or Jamari Lyons


The offseason additions of Cam’Ron Jackson and Caleb Banks will provide quality depth for the Gators in 2023. Jackson is a candidate to start along the defensive line; I envision Jackson and Watson rotating throughout the games.

This is a position group that could be affected by the talented true freshman in the 2023 class. Will Norman, Kamran James, and Kelby Collins could find their way into the two-deep at some point in the regular season. 

Jaelin Humphries is back for his 5th season but has only played in six games throughout his career, totaling two tackles. 


Starter: Princely Umanmielen 

Backup: Tyreak Sapp or Justus Boone


The defensive end unit is going to look very similar to last season. Umanmielen started 11 games and is back for another season in the Orange and Blue. Sapp and Boone are projected to help provide depth once again. Sapp’s versatility allows him to slide around on the defensive line and play multiple positions. Kelby Collins is another versatile player that could find himself playing the end position. 


Starter: Antwuan Powell-Ryland 

Backup: Jack Pyburn 


This is the thinnest position on the Florida Gators’ roster entering Spring football. Powell-Ryland and Jack Pyburn are the only scholarship outside linebackers on the team. Florida should look to add at least one more in the portal, and even then, they may need to have a player or two switch positions. 


Starter: Derek Wingo 

Backup: Teradja Mitchell 

Starter: Shemar James 

Backup: Deuce Spurlock or Scooby Williams 


Florida’s linebacker unit will look different in 2023 after losing Ventrell Miller and Amari Burney to eligibility. I expect Derek Wingo to start alongside Shemar James, with transfer additions Teradja Mitchell and Deuce Spurlock providing quality depth. Scooby Williams will be in the mix once again, but I think moving him to outside linebacker is the obvious decision. However, I’ve yet to hear the staff’s plans on Williams, so he remains at inside linebacker. 


Starter: Jason Marshall 

Backup: Ja’Keem Jackson 

Starter: Jaydon Hill or Devin Moore 

Backup: Jalen Kimber 


Jason Marshall will remain Florida’s CB1 in 2023. Jaydon Hill and Devin Moore will compete for CB2. This is another area that could be affected by the talented freshman coming into Gainesville. I like Ja’Keem Jackson to find his way into the rotation, as well as Dijon Johnson if he’s not playing the Star/Nickel position. 

Devin Moore is too talented to keep off the field if he doesn’t win the starting job at corner. In that case, a move to star/nickel or safety may be in order.


Starter: Jadarrius Perkins

Backup: Sharif Denson or Dijon Johnson 


Jadarrius Perkins has experience at the star/nickel position and that’s where I expect him to play in 2023. Sharif Denson will give Perkins a run for his money in Spring and Fall camp. 

Other options at star/nickel are Miguel Mitchell and Devin Moore. Moore started the 2022 season at corner and played often before suffering a season ending shoulder injury. The staff may consider moving him to star/nickel in order to get the best players on the field. 

Miguel Mitchell saw some work at star/nickel in 2022, but he’s needed at safety due to a lack of numbers at the position. 


Starter: Kamari Wilson 

Backup: Jordan Castell

Starter: Miguel Mitchell 

Backup: Dakota Mitchell or Bryce Thornton


There’s not much experience in the Gators’ safety room as it sits right now, but it’s an exciting group loaded with young talent. Florida may look to add a more experienced safety via the transfer portal. 

Jordan Castell is a player that could make an immediate impact for the Gators. His height, speed, and cover skills jump out at you on film and in person. 

Patrick Toney and the Gators’ defensive staff have tough decisions to make regarding position changes and playing time ahead of the 2023 season.

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.