Watch for these freshmen making an impact early for Gators

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Cardinal Gibbons defensive end Khris Bogle does the Gator Chomp during a National Signing Day ceemony at the school in Fort Lauderdale earlier this month. The top recruit had been expected to sign with Alabama, but instead signed with UF. (Joe Cavaretta/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

The 16 true freshmen joining the Florida football team this summer will come in a little behind the rest of the 2019 recruiting class, those nine early enrollees who are already going through the strength and conditioning program and will participate in spring practice.

But among the 16 late arrivals, there is plenty of star power and potential for some of those guys to catch up to (or even surpass) their classmates who have gotten a headstart on their college careers.

Here are the summer arrivals who are most likely to have an impact once preseason camps opens in August:

Kaiir Elam, cornerback

Recruiting ranking: 4 stars.

August appeal: Elam and Chris Steele give the Gators one of the nation’s best CB recruiting classes. Steele, of course, is already here and expected to get some reps with the No. 1 defense in the spring. Elam is similar to Steele — long, athletic, quick and fast — but will be at least a little behind starting out. If Elam picks up the defense quickly, he and Steele have a chance to have an immediate impact this fall at the two depth-shy corner spots.

 

Jaelin Humphries, defensive tackle

Recruiting ranking: 4 stars.

August appeal: As the only defensive tackle in the recruiting class, Humphries is going to receive a lot of attention from the defensive coaches when he gets here. A recruiting priority in the 2019 cycle, Humphries is expected to challenge for playing time at a position where depth always seems to be a concern.

 

Khris Bogle, defensive end/outside linebacker

Recruiting ranking: 4 stars.

August appeal: A former Alabama commitment, Bogle was a big get on National Signing Day, and he could be a big hit (quite literally) once he arrives this summer. The Gators signed him as an outside linebacker and there’s a chance he’ll get an early look at the hybrid DE/OLB spot where Jachai Polite emerged as a dominant player last season. Wherever he ends up, there’s a good chance he’ll see the field early this fall.

 

Keon Zipperer, tight end

Recruiting ranking: 4 stars.

August appeal: With C’yontai Lewis and Moral Stephens graduating, and Kyle Pitts expected to see more playing time at wide receiver, the tight end position will be wide open this spring and summer. The competition begins in the spring between Kemore Gamble, the presumptive starter, Lucas Krull and redshirt freshman Dante Lang. Zipperer, one of the nation’s top TE prospects, will be fourth (of fifth) on the depth chart when he gets here, but the opportunity will be there to move up in August and possibly see playing time in the fall.

 

Diwun Black, linebacker

Recruiting ranking: 4 stars.

August appeal: Black sat out his senior season to get his academics in order, so he’ll clearly be rusty at first. But he’s an athletic freak who plays with great instincts and it should not take him long to get back into the flow of things. He’ll be at a position of need, so he’ll likely get plenty of practice reps in camp to show off his athletic ability.

 

Lloyd Summerall, outside linebacker

Recruiting ranking: 4 stars.

August appeal: He’s in a similar position to Bogle — a highly rated prospect who can play both outside linebacker and rush defensive end. He’ll start out at outside linebacker in August and go from there. Like Bogle, he’ll likely have an opportunity to fill the Polite roll at that hybrid position, where sometimes he’ll have to play with his hand on the ground.

 

Tyron Hopper, linebacker

Recruiting ranking: 4 stars.

August appeal: This highly rated prospect from north Georgia also had offers from Alabama, Miami and Tennessee, so he’s a big-time recruit who has a chance to make an early impact at a position of need. Very fast and athletic, he is known for his striking ability.

 

Wardrick Wilson, offensive lineman

Recruiting ranking: 4 stars.

August appeal: He’s definitely going to be behind the four other offensive linemen who are already here. But, given the fact that four of the five positions on the offensive front are going to be wide open, this athletic big man is going to have a chance to compete for possible playing time in camp. He needs to make sure he hits the weight room hard on his own before he gets here this summer.

 

Ja’Markis Weston, wide receiver

Recruiting ranking: 3 stars.

August appeal: Yes, he’s only a three-star guy, but Dan Mullen thinks he has the potential to become a five-star player before he’s done at UF. He’s got great size and speed and apparently is a high-character guy who is always willing to put in the work to get the most out of his ability. He’ll be a fun one to keep an eye on in training camp to see how quickly he starts developing.

 

9 COMMENTS

  1. For every emmitt smith, herschel walker, or even trevor lawrence, there are 500 guys that need a little time, so put me in the lets be patient category for most of the young guys. still, they seem like a really good bunch, and perhaps they can help in special teams.

  2. Robbie yes great news. This class has the potential to take us to the next level. Can’t wait to see these guys in camp and see what the O&B game shows. Hype I know but we can see what kind of talent the team has developed into at that point in time. Once the rest join over the summer we’ll get to see what the GS crews report and we or at least this fan will be jonesing for the game in Orlando which will be against a larger opponent.

    • 65, I re-watched the Peach Bowl last night. Man, if we play to that level of urgency, yet in the face of the overall calmness displayed, we’re already there. It only gets better, and keeps on getting better. I’m going to make it out there for the O&B game if it’s the last thing I ever do.

  3. I thank you as well Robbie, for any football news you can pry from the death grip of the off season. We know for a fact that this team is better with the addition of CDM and staff. I will be using the terms “potential” and “ability” quite a bit this off season. Also a few “speculates” as well. Reading these articles sparks the potential and the abilities these players are adding to this program. So much so that I feel 25 again (as long as I can avoid eye contact with any mirrors in my house). The anticipation we experienced after the Bowl win is only growing larger with the new kids on the block. The AAF is helping especially since CSP is leading the way for the Apollo’s. 3 – 0. Even as gratifying as this crutch is at the moment, not compares to watching this GATOR Football team play. So the next best thing is reading anything that can be written to keep us fans apprised of this team in any and all capacities. It gives us the opportunity to comment on the subjects with each other. How far into the future will we have to wait until College football is played year round? A thank you to everyone that associates with this site, with the exception of the trolls that we know secretly want to be a GATOR! GO GATORS!!!