UF football players to watch

Gator players to watch this spring include, shown counterclockwise from the upper left, are Max Garcia, Darious Cummings, Marcus Maye, Quinteze Williams, Tyler Moore, and Kent Taylor. (Photos courtesy of UF)

Published: Monday, March 11, 2013 at 1:55 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, March 11, 2013 at 5:04 p.m.

1. Darious Cummings, defensive tackle: The Gators recruited this highly rated junior college player with the idea he could come in and immediately challenge for a starting job at depth-shy defensive tackle. He’s here this spring to try and do that. Cummings originally signed with Florida State and saw early playing time, but ended up having to transfer to East Mississippi Community College, where he developed into a dominant inside player. He has Division-I experience and the size, strength and maturity to successfully compete in the SEC. He’ll be battling for a starting role this spring.

2. Max Garcia/Tyler Moore, offensive linemen: These two are grouped together because they are transfers from other schools who have seen extensive playing time at the college level — Garcia at Maryland; Moore at Nebraska — and should challenge for starting roles on the depth-shy offensive line. What should help them — and the Gators — is the fact both players can play multiple positions up front. Garcia was here last fall and impressed the coaches with his performance on the scout team. Moore, who is from Clearwater, was one of the nation’s top offensive line recruits two years ago and saw considerable playing time at Nebraska as a true freshman.

3. Marcus Maye, safety: Count Matt Elam among those who think Maye has the potential to be the next Elam at strong safety. Elam raved about Maye during preparation for the Sugar Bowl, saying Maye has the size, speed and toughness to do the same kind of things he did in the UF defense. Maye is going to have a chance to show what he can do this spring. He’s considered the strong favorite to nail down a starting role at safety, where both positions are wide open.

4. Quinteze Williams, defensive lineman: When he signed with the Gators a year ago, many considered the 6-foot-5, 255-pound Williams to be a defensive end prospect. But during his redshirt season in 2012, he has grown into a potential inside player after putting on almost 25 pounds of muscle. He’s another freshman who impressed the coaches with his work on the scout team in the fall. He’s athletic, moves well and is versatile enough to help the Gators at tackle and end.

5. Kent Taylor, tight end: Tight end was a crucial position in the offense last season, with Jordan Reed emerging as Driskel’s go-to receiver. He ended up leading the Gators in receptions with 45 for 559 yards and three touchdowns. Taylor, a true sophomore who caught a short TD pass in the Sugar Bowl, does not appear to have Reed’s explosive speed or power, but he does have a similar skill set in terms of hands, route-running and ability to make plays down the field. He’s improved his strength since he’s been on campus, and he has a chance to emerge as a potential playmaker, starting this spring.

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