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 offensive two-deep depth chart.
Starter: Graham Mertz
Backup: Jack Miller
Wisconsin transfer QB Graham Mertz is by far the most experienced of the group as he’s a multi-year starter at the power five level. With only three scholarship QB’s on roster, I expect Napier to target one more in the transfer portal before fall camp starts in August.
Starter: Montrell Johnson or Trevor Etienne
Backup: Treyuan Webb
I expect Johnson and Etienne to be as close to a 50/50 split as you can get in 2023. True freshman Treyuan Webb is third in line for carries as of right now. The Gators will look to add another RB via the portal this offseason, but the pitch for a transfer will be a difficult task due to a lack of playing time. The staff may need to look for a younger back or even a preferred walk-on to get a 4th quality back on the roster. If Johnson and Etienne stay healthy, the duo will be one of the best in college football.
Starter: Ricky Pearsall
Backup: Eugene Wilson or Thai Chiaokhiao-Bowman
Starter: Xzavier Henderson
Backup: Marucs Burke
Starter: Caleb Douglas
Backup: Ja’Quavion Fraziars
The WR room could get interesting as the season progresses. Florida welcomes several talented freshman receivers into Gainesville which could shake things up at some point in 2023. As of right now, Pearsall, Henderson, and Douglas are my starting receivers due to the playing time they received last season.
Douglas out snapped Fraziars 229 to 103, despite being a true freshman.
If the right receiver enters the portal, Florida should take a look. Pairing Pearsall with another elite collegiate receiver could create a problematic WR unit.
Starter: Keon Zipperer
Backup: Dante Zanders
Florida’s TE unit was one of the worst in the SEC last season and it’s shaping up to be that way once again. Zipperer should start 2023 healthy and ready to go; Zanders is back for his final season of eligibility.
The drop off after these two is pretty significant. The severity of Jonathan Odom’s injury is unknown, and Arlis Boardingham received his first snaps as a Florida Gator in a blowout loss against Oregon State. He’s one to watch next season.
Napier needs to target a tight end in the transfer portal.
Starter: Austin Barber
Backup: Jordan Herman
Starter: Micah Mazzccua
Backup: Christian Williams
Starter: Kingsley Eguakun
Backup: Jake Slaughter
Starter: Richie Leonard
Backup: Jalen Farmer
Starter: Damieon George
Backup: Kamyrn Waites
Billy Napier has done an excellent job repairing the Gators’ offensive line throughout the offseason. The additions of Micah Mazzccua and Damieon George go a long way in replacing Ethan White and Michael Tarquin.
Austin Barber, Micah Mazzccua, and Kingsley Eguakun are surefire starters in 2023. The other two spots are somewhat up in the air. Richie Leonard received plenty of work in the rotation last season, and I expect him to start alongside Damieon George on the right side.
Kamryn Waites is one to watch as he can push for a starting spot at either guard or tackle, providing Florida with versatile depth off the bench.
Although not necessary, the addition of one more offensive lineman would be a great benefit for the Gators in 2023. A large portion of the two-deep is with minimal or no experience; that’s going to happen when you have to replace four starters along the offensive line.
Roderick Kearney is a freshman to watch out for as he’s the most likely to crack the two-deep at some point throughout the season.