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Football roster article

Discussion in 'Awesome Recruiting' started by Kerrdog, Feb 11, 2018.

  1. Kerrdog

    Kerrdog GC Hall of Fame

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    The status of Florida football’s roster post-National Signing Day
    By
    David Wunderlich
    -
    February 10, 2018
    Now that the 2018 signing class for the Florida Gators is in the books, we can begin to get an idea of what the football roster will look like in 2018. UF has not released an official roster for this year, so there is a little bit of guesswork here, but this is what we know right now.

    First up, here are the scholarship players who are gone from last year:

    • Graduated/Left Team: Duke Dawson, Cristian Garcia, DeAndre Goolsby, Marcell Harris, Brandon Powell, Joseph Putu, Antonio Riles, Luke Del Rio, Jordan Sherit, Mark Thompson, Johnny Townsend, Nick Washington, Malik Zaire
    • NFL Early Entrants: Taven Bryan, Antonio Callaway, Eddy Piñeiro
    • Transferred: Kalif Jackson, Richerd Desir-Jones, Jordan Smith, Kadeem Telfort
    • Medical Disqualification: James Robinson
    Riles’s status is a bit in the air, as he participated in senior day and has graduated but still has one more year of eligibility left. I’m counting him as having moved on, but if he hasn’t, he’d go into the offensive line pool as a redshirt senior.

    Florida said goodbye to 21 players from last year’s roster, and it just signed 18 new players (not counting Randy Russell, who had a cardiac condition disqualify him like Robinson did). UF also brought in four transfers in the last calendar year. Marlon Dunlap and Jean DeLance came in early enough to sit out 2017 and be eligible this year, while Trevon Grimes and Van Jefferson are petitioning the NCAA to allow them to forgo sitting out a year and play right away.

    Now, let’s run through the positions.

    Quarterback (4)
    RSO Feleipe Franks, RSO Kyle Trask, RFR Jake Allen, FR Emory Jones

    The position is entirely up in the air. Jones is the only real dual threat who fits what Mullen likes to do, but he’d be Mullen’s first freshman starting quarterback.

    Some amount of attrition is likely because of the offensive scheme change. It wouldn’t surprise me to see whoever is third among the returning guys after spring transfer out.

    I also expect that whoever is the lower of the remaining two holdovers during the fall will transfer after the year. Mullen will probably sign another dual threat guy in next year’s class, so the writing will be on the wall. For what it’s worth, Franks and Trask will probably graduate in time to be grad transfers for the 2019 season, potentially facilitating a clean exit should either want one.

    Running Back (6)
    RJR Jordan Scarlett, JR Lamical Perine, SO Malik Davis, SO Adarius Lemons, FR Iverson Clement, FR Dameon Pierce

    This is the position that gives me the fewest concerns heading into next year. The only real question is when Davis will be recovered enough from his season-ending knee injury to participate.

    Wide Receiver (11)
    RSR Dre Massey, JR Tyrie Cleveland, JR Josh Hammond, JR Freddie Swain, JR Van Jefferson, RSO Rick Wells, SO Kadarius Toney, SO Trevon Grimes, SO Daquon Green, FR Justin Watkins, FR Jacob Copeland

    In contrast, nothing is settled here. Partly that’s due to not knowing if Jefferson or Grimes will be able to play. Mostly it’s because so few of them have played well enough to lock down a starting role. Cleveland probably has, and it’s not hard to imagine Toney getting such a nod. Hammond and Swain could easily be passed up by new players, while Toney’s spot would come at Massey’s expense. Wells and Green are complete question marks right now, and Copeland is probably too good to keep off the field.

    Watkins, who UF listed as an athlete in its signing day materials, is an interesting subplot. UF didn’t sign a true cornerback this year, and he moonlighted at corner in addition to his offensive heroics in high school. If the transfers can play right away to provide depth, Watkins could end up on the other side of the ball.

    Tight End (5)
    RSR C’yontai Lewis, RSR Moral Stephens, RFR Kemore Gamble, FR Kyle Pitts, FR Dante Lang

    Lewis will play on account of his experience. Stephens has never been a consistent contributor. Gamble was going to play last year but couldn’t get fully healthy. Pitts and Lang have a chance to play right away if they can impress.

    Offensive Line (16)
    RSR Kavaris Harkless, RSR Andrew Mike, SR Martez Ivey, SR Tyler Jordan, SR Fred Johnson, RJR T.J. McCoy, RJR Nick Buchanan, RJR Noah Banks, JR Jawaan Taylor, RSO Brett Heggie, RSO Stone Forsythe, RSO Jean DeLance, RFR TJ Moore, FR Richard Gouraige, FR Chris Bleich, FR Griffin McDowell

    The Gators have a good overall number at 16, but it’s more like 13 as Harkless, Mike, and Buchanan aren’t going to become SEC-caliber players at this point. Now account for the fact that four are brand new to the Power 5 level (the three freshmen and the JUCO transfer Banks) and DeLance appeared in all of two games at Texas before transferring, and there are a lot of questions for this unit to answer.

    Defensive Line (14)
    RSR Khairi Clark, SR Cece Jefferson, RJR Jabari Zuniga, RJR Luke Ancrum, RJR Keivonnis Davis, JR Jachai Polite, JR Antonneous Clayton, RSO Marlon Dunlap, SO Elijah Conliffe, SO T.J. Slaton, SO Kyree Campbell, RFR Zachary Carter, FR Malik Langham, FR Andrew Chatfield

    More uncertainty lurks here. Davis is the lone member of the credit card scandal bunch still in suspension limbo, and if he does return to the team, he may not be able to play at all because of a scooter accident last fall. Plus, some number of the guys listed as defensive ends in 2017 will move to outside linebacker for the new 3-4 scheme. Chatfield, who was listed as a defensive end in the post-signing day materials UF handed out, is also a possibility at the edge rushing outside linebacker spot.

    I’m leaving them all as DEs for now, but once a real roster comes out, there’s a good chance that there will be fewer than 14 scholarship defensive linemen.

    Linebacker (11)
    RSR R.J. Raymond, RJR Kylan Johnson, RJR Rayshad Jackson, JR Vosean Joseph, JR David Reese II, RSO Jeremiah Moon, RFR James Houston, RFR Ventrell Miller, RFR Nick Smith, RFR Lacedrick Brunson, FR David Reese

    Like with offensive line, the headline number is a bit large. Raymond is a former walk on who earned a scholarship for his special teams play. He’s listed as a linebacker, but his non-special teams work last year was as a fullback. There’s a good chance he won’t be listed as a linebacker on Mullen’s first official roster. Also, Jackson is in the Harkless/Mike/Buchanan category of upperclassmen who aren’t going to play barring an emergency, while Brunson was a lightly regarded recruit that Randy Shannon stole from FIU who may or may not be an SEC player.

    The nice way of putting it is that this position grouping has the most to prove in 2018. With Houston and Miller being reinstated, Smith returning from injury, a couple of good signees arriving, and some defensive ends switching, reinforcements are on the way.

    Defensive Back (14)
    JR Chauncey Gardner, JR Jeawon Taylor, RSO Quincy Lenton, RSO C.J. McWilliams, RSO McArthur Burnett, SO Marco Wilson, SO CJ Henderson, SO Brad Stewart, SO Brian Edwards, SO Shawn Davis, SO Donovan Stiner, FR Amari Burney, FR Trey Dean, FR John Huggins

    The starting lineup is going to feature Gardner, Wilson, and Henderson, but everything else in this grouping is up in the air. Corner is particularly thin with McWilliams and Burnett, a pair of players who haven’t proven anything, the top returning backups and Dean the only of the signees who might play the position some. Burney is listed as an athlete in the signing day press from UF, but he projects as a defensive back that might play a hybrid LB/DB kind of role sometimes.

    Special Teams (2)
    SR Ryan Farr, FR Evan McPherson

    Farr is a former walk on who earned a scholarship as the top long snapper. Piñeiro’s vacated spot is McPherson’s to lose.

    Adding It All Up
    The sum of all the numbers in parentheticals is 83. This includes a pair of former walk ons who got scholarships under Jim McElwain, but as they are seniors this year, I see no reason to assume they won’t continue to have them. If Riles does return for one more year, the number will be 84.

    If any current walk ons are going to get a scholarship, the top candidate is Tommy Townsend. Johnny’s little brother signed with Tennessee as a 3-star punter recruit out of high school but transferred to UF. He will be eligible this year and will probably hold down the primary punting job. The Gators also added two preferred walk ons this past recruiting cycle in long snapper Marco Ortiz and athlete Jaylin Jackson. They might compete for scholarships at some point down the line.

    Looking ahead to the 2019 recruiting cycle, the Gators will be at 71 scholarships once this year’s seniors are gone. It’s tough to tell this early, but I think three Gators are possibilities to leave early for the NFL: Scarlett, Van Jefferson, and Zuniga. Transfers are even harder to predict, but I think one or two quarterbacks will transfer at minimum. There’s a possibility that Keivonnis Davis won’t be back, and I can imagine as many as three redshirt juniors who aren’t real contributors ending up transferring or otherwise not returning after having graduated (Rayshad Jackson, Ancrum, Buchanan).

    If all of those potential exits happen and no walk ons earn scholarships that persist past this year, that would leave the Gators with 22 or 23 spots under the 85-man limit for 2019 signees. The actual number is a complete mystery this far out, obviously, but the bottom line is that Florida is almost certainly not going to sign a full 25-man class next year since UF doesn’t allow oversigning. There would have to be a noticeable amount of unexpected attrition to even get to 25, much less go above that by counting 2019 early enrollees backwards towards the empty spots from the 2018 class.

    We’ll have more on the roster as the offseason goes along, but this is Florida’s starting point after National Signing Day.


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    David Wunderlich

    David Wunderlich is a born-and-raised Gator and a proud Florida alum. He has been writing about Florida and SEC football since 2006. He currently lives in Naples Italy, at least until the Navy stations his wife elsewhere. You can follow him on Twitter @Year2


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  2. themistocles

    themistocles VIP Member

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    Good summary of what is Most Likely the Roster this spring and next fall, although my guess is that at least 3 and possibly as many as 5 or 6 of the lower caliber players will transfer after spring work shows where they stand.

    Fortunately, right now, at least, depth does not appear to be very much of a problem anywhere, although quality depth is a completely different story. At least there should be bodies to throw at the enemy to paraphrase SOS back when his OLine was INCREDIBLY THIN in 1995 - 5 kids who could play SEC quality ball. Great fortune followed that very thin team, until they ran of healthy quality DE's (only had 2) in the bowl and Nebraska destroyed them.
     
  3. Kerrdog

    Kerrdog GC Hall of Fame

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    I was at that game oh man the plane ride home the next day wasn’t fun
     
  4. T3goalie

    T3goalie Premium Member

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    Great article... it would be nice if Riles comes back. Seems to be a Pretty big group of non competitive SEC players. It will be fascinating to see how much Mullen's staff can develop these kids in 8-9 months..
     
  5. kryptonite

    kryptonite GC Legend

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    I am really interested in how the OL shakes out, and that is probably a thread of its own. I don't see Riles coming back, though scholarships for this year are not going to be an issue, as there are usually so many transferring in the first year of a coach. I think the article was a bit harsh on Harkless. I would not play him against LSU, FSU, and Uga but otherwise he has filled in with a lot of minutes. If younger ones are equal or better to him, then he should sit.

    The biggest part of the intrigue with the OL, as with other positions, is that Hevesy has no allegiance to any of the upperclassmen. They will have to pull their weight or sit. There will be opportunity for Banks, Delance, Moore and Forsythe to show what they have, although I do not see Forsythe having the mobility for the new scheme. With a healthy Heggie, I would be worried about my playing time if I were McCoy and Johnson. In my most optimistic hopes, I would want Taylor playing with more aggression again, Heggie healthy, Banks or Delance taking over LT, Ivey sliding to LG, and someone coming on strong to challenge Johnson for the RG position.
     
  6. theghost

    theghost GC Hall of Fame

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    I think the article was very fair to Harkless. To his credit, he did earn some PT after the injuries to last year's line....but he's simply not SEC talent and was a "reach" by the previous staff (as were the other mentioned). What surprises me is that Gatorcountry allowed one of their writer's to write that! Very rarely are they "critical" (even if it's true and/or warranted).

    As the article suggests, we have bodies....but many are either not SEC talent or are young (freshman). We have about 9-10 that seem SEC ready. I hope Delance and Banks are ready....and I'd like to see Riles return, as he's more talented than the 3 mentioned in the article.
     
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  7. crl

    crl GC Hall of Fame

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    It was great in 2007. Although stressful making the flight due to how f'd up that airport is. :)
     
  8. kryptonite

    kryptonite GC Legend

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    I am surprised by how critical the article was too, regardless of whether it was warranted or not. I still stick to my position that he is serviceable against the lesser SEC teams but should not supplant a younger player who should be developed. We aren't in crisis mode if he has to get playing time unless it is against a really talented defensive front. He graded out surprisingly well when he played. I agree UF should not have to rely on a player like Harkless, but I think he is in a whole different category from Buchanan and Mike, and his contribution against SEC opponents he has exhibited already that he is at least serviceable (which is not what we want of course).
     
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  9. GameTime1

    GameTime1 GC Legend

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    Unless it's Ivey's choice, I don't think he would want to come back his last year to slide inside. Now if he has been told his NFL future is at G, I could see it working out well.
     
  10. theghost

    theghost GC Hall of Fame

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    Everything I've read is he's been told he's a future NFL OG (not that I'm advocating him moving, just pointing that out).


    I'm surprised Mike hasn't transferred out yet. I know we're not supposed to speculate on that around here, but he literally has no chance to be a contributor. He's gotta be nearing his degree by now. Regardless, I expect at least (repeat, at least) two more transfers before school starts back in August - not on the OL, but throughout the team. I wouldn't be surprised to see as many as five transfers, but more likely two or three.
     
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  11. fox

    fox GC Hall of Fame

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    I would expect several transfers soon. If not it is either an incredible sign of heart and will, or a question mark for Savage.
     
  12. GameTime1

    GameTime1 GC Legend

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    In that case slide over Big Guy! Don't Let ego get in the way of a bright future.
     
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  13. rpmGator

    rpmGator GC Hall of Fame

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    You don’t predict the future looking at the past during four years of growth. It is always behind the growth

    New HC and position coaches along with a new fitness coach there will be some surprises.

    With the language wide enough to say the same thing in many ways I would have found my way around absolutes on players working to get better.
     
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  14. kryptonite

    kryptonite GC Legend

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    It was my thinking that OG is Ivey's future in the NFL, but I could be wrong.

    Mike has had 4 years, so he can get the boot. Do you remember when supposedly giving 4 year scholarships was going to give UF a recruiting advantage, meanwhile, Spurrier was not giving them as USC? Mike has been a big recipient of guaranteed scholarship. If he really wanted to play ball, he should have left by now. I expect there will be significant attrition, so giving up his scholarship will be irrelevant to recruiting or rewarding walk-ons with scholarships. So does Mike have something that he contributes to the team if he has no drive to be a football player at the FCS level? If he doesn't, I would think CDM does not want someone around who is a potential distraction for work ethic or any other number of reasons.
     
  15. apkgator

    apkgator Premium Member

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    Bear in mind senior transfers really don' help us, just diminish depth and hurt competition. The roster spot will be available for next recruiting class regardless....better to just keep seniors on the off chance they improve or become needed thru injury
     
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  16. Kerrdog

    Kerrdog GC Hall of Fame

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    I was deployed that year had to watch the game in the middle of the night
     
  17. crl

    crl GC Hall of Fame

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    Bummer. The game was great and it was fun hanging out with fans and watching players at the team hotel afterward.
     
  18. Kerrdog

    Kerrdog GC Hall of Fame

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    Yea i got photo with uf president in the desert. I went to New Orleans title game. Overseas i was in the minority as a gator fan with a lot of osu fans in the room. There was an Ohio NG unit on base.
     
  19. DieAGator

    DieAGator GC Hall of Fame

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    Strange how all these players leave and most of us do not realize they are gone. Seems like some talent and good people leaving.

    They leave so quietly.
     
  20. apkgator

    apkgator Premium Member

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    Who are you referencing?
     
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