UF early enrollees benefiting
Published: Thursday, March 14, 2013 at 10:50 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, March 14, 2013 at 10:50 a.m.
The Florida football team welcomed six early enrollees to campus last year and received major contributions from a few of them in the 2012 season.
Four played in at least 11 games and three recorded starts, with offensive tackle D.J. Humphries being named to the SEC Coaches’ All-Freshman First Team.
Humphries, now the full-time starter at left tackle, was a big beneficiary of early enrollment.
“Thank goodness he was in here last spring as much as he ended up playing and helping us,” Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease said. “If he hadn’t been here in the springtime like he was, wow, he wouldn’t have been where he was at or where he’s going to be right now.”
UF has eight mid-year players on the roster this spring and, unlike last season, each one is expected to contribute in some capacity in 2013.
Running back Kelvin Taylor, the state’s all-time leading rusher in high school, is the one who has Gator fans the most excited. He’ll be battling Mack Brown and Matt Jones for playing time and could possibly make a run at the starting job.
“Kelvin Taylor’s been a guy we’re real excited to have on campus. He’s done a nice job of transitioning,” Florida coach Will Muschamp said. “Kelvin’s a high school senior right now, and I’ve been very proud of what he’s done. He’s come out here and worked.”
Although Demarcus Robinson is currently listed as the third-string “X” receiver, he has the ability to play right away. But first he must show it in practice.
“He’s looked good in the offseason program,” Muschamp said. “But we haven’t done as much football-related stuff (with) the guys covering him and getting their hands on him. Some of the corners we have are pretty good, so it will be interesting as we progress through. But as far as the things I’ve seen athletically, certainly I’m excited about what I see.”
With Chaz Green out for the spring with an ankle injury, Tyler Moore is beginning his UF career right where he left off at Nebraska — starting on the offensive line.
“Tyler Moore is a guy we’re going to play a little bit at right tackle,” Muschamp said. “He needs to be able to play right and left because (of) Chaz.”
Four of Florida’s five early enrollees on defense come in as backups at their position: Darious Cummings (nose tackle), Joey Ivie (defensive tackle), Alex Anzalone (middle linebacker) and Daniel McMillian (weakside linebacker).
Linebacker Matt Rolin is recovering from surgery on the torn ACL he suffered in November, but he told The Sun that his doctor said he should be healed by August.
Florida defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin believes Anzalone, McMillian and Rolin can have an impact as freshmen.
“All of those guys have already come in and kind of showed us that they’ve got not just on-the-field ability, but also maturity off the field to learn the system, handle college as a grown-up and make it through all of that to be there when the season gets here. So I think those guys can really help us,” Durkin said.
Regardless of how much Florida’s eight early enrollees play in the fall, Muschamp can already tell that they fit in with his team.
“When you walk out there as a coach or a spectator and you see our offseason conditioning, you don’t point at a guy and say, ‘Well, he must be a freshman.’ These guys look like they fit in,” Muschamp said.
“They look like they belong, which says something about them. They’ve got the things (it takes) to be successful.”