Of Florida’s three true freshman cornerbacks vying for playing time this season, it appears the three-star prospect (Chester Kimbrough) has pulled slightly ahead of the two four-star prospects (Kaiir Elam and Jaydon Hill).
At least that’s the take of senior wide receiver Van Jefferson.
“Man, Chester,” Jefferson said Tuesday. “Chester’s a really good (corner). He’s going to be really good. Him and Kaiir and Jaydon, they’re going to be really good.”
UF coach Dan Mullen has said that with the lack of depth in the secondary, the three freshmen are going to play this season, probably starting with the opener against Miami on Aug. 24.
All three have been making progress, according to Mullen. They are being mentored by the two veteran starters — CJ Henderson and Marco Wilson.
“CJ and Marco have definitely taken those guys under their wing and helped them out,” senior wide receiver Josh Hammond said. “They stay out every day after practice with them, try to learn as much as they can and try to be those next DBs in the future that have that spotlight and hold it down.”
Jefferson said the three freshmen have made steady progress in camp and will be ready to go in the opener.
“CJ and Marco, they’re going to elevate their game,” Jefferson said. “I know when (the freshmen) get in this season they’re going to make some big plays for us.”
New kid a hit
Georgia transfer Brenton Cox, a five-star recruit coming out of high school a year ago, has already caught the attention of his new teammates with his play at the buck end position.
“He’s phenomenal,” wide receiver Trevon Grimes said. “He’s good, he’s fast, he’s quick. He actually has some move that I’ve never seen before. He’s phenomenal and I feel like he’ll be a great add-on to our defense.”
The move was a spin move that Cox successfully used to get around an offensive tackle in drills a few days ago.
“He did a spin move, like reversal, crazy,” Grimes said. “I don’t even know what to call it because I’m not on D-line, but it was some crazy spin move thing that he did like, ‘Whoa.’
“All the receivers saw it because they were doing inside one-on-one pass pro. So, it was pretty cool to see him. He’s just going to help our O-line get better.”
Grimes said the players have already accepted their new teammate.
“At the end of the day business is business and we’re going to embrace him, love him like a brother and that’s what he is to us now, he’s a brother,” Grimes said. “He’s on our team now and we look forward to having him and we’re going to embrace him just like anybody else.”
Warning a Hurricane
Grimes and Miami quarterback Tate Martell were roommates when they were at Ohio State. They haven’t talked since Martell failed to win the starting role for the Hurricanes on Monday.
Grimes said if he does talk to Martell before the Aug. 24 opener, he’ll give his buddy an idea what to expect should Martell get in the game.
“He can expect a hungry defense that’s probably not going to let him get a ball off because I feel like we have one of the best defenses in the country,” Grimes said. “We do. We have the best corners, safeties, everything. So, I know he better be ready come game time.”
While Grimes hasn’t heard from Martell, UF tight end Kemore Gamble doesn’t stop hearing from a handful of friends he has on the UM team — Mark Pope, Gilbert Frierson, Dee Wiggins and D.J. Scaife.
“They call mostly every day,” Gamble said. “I’m guessing they’re scared of us. Gilbert called me yesterday, saying, ‘12 days.’ Every day he calls me to tell me that, that the game is getting closer.”
Gamble says he has the same response on each call.
“I’m ready. I’m going to be ready,” he said.
Gamble said there could be numerous conversations on the field during pregame warmups.
“There’s going to be a lot of trash talking,” he said. “We might get heated up in the pregame. Just come out and just shine.”