Notebook: UF freshman Kimbrough taking the lead

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Florida defensive back Chester Kimbrough hits a tackling sled during a drill at practice on the fields near the Southwest Recreation Center on campus Aug. 2. [Brad McClenny/Staff photographer]

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.”

23 COMMENTS

    • Yup, love the energy but I hope CDM can focus it correctly. Can’t give away free yards in case the game is close. I don’t think it’s going to be though based off of what their coach had to say about their offense. They were in the triple digits in many offensive rankings last year and it is exceptionally rare to have significant improvement from that range in a single year. I was just hoping to be in the 70s last year and even that was really more than you could reasonably ask for. CDM did much better than what I was hoping for but with the bits of information that have been coming out of the Miami camp — the failure of both of their expected QBs to grab the job, the offense getting that “far away look” on their faces, etc. — it doesn’t look like Diaz is about to replicate the feat. All I can say is, I bet Gamble is happy he didn’t follow his friends to that flash in the pan program.

      Nine days and a wake-up =).

    • Yeah, our last game…I thought we got a little carried away with that. We owned them in between the trenches…Duke Johnson didn’t do squat, but the turnovers did us in and kind of got that season going awry. I believe CDm will have these guys focused…but a bunch of Fla cats that know each other are going to talk…just stay focused.

  1. No as far as trash talkin goes UM has always been high in that regard. But Bull S will not carry the day. Saturday the 24th it will be for all the marbles. Who goes home struttin and who goes home with their tail between their legs. UM has a bad history of beating us when we are ranked above them. I think CDM will have our team ready to beat the Ibis from Miami. By the way who picks an Ibis for a mascot? I think Gators eat those in the swamps.

    • Ibis tastes like (sea) chicken.

      Trash talking can be fun if it isn’t taken too far, passive/aggressive bs that leads to chest bumping, pushing and punches thrown. Not good. Also avoid supplying bulletin board material.

      All Hail and 65 are correct. UM’s legacy is built on huge trash heaps of verbal bile and baiting. Just let that chicken tasting Ibis be the only bait on the 24th.

      I like what I read about the young DB’s and Cox, the transfer. I sat corrected by several folks when I mentioned Dawg fans being disappointed about Cox coming to UF following a different article, and many good arguments were presented. As far as I am concerned, there are 12 games scheduled where Cox can make them envious, especially at Cocktail time.

      By the way, the Ibis barely won out for Miami’s mascot over the Pink Flamingos during the student council vote back in the day. Too bad. Pink and green look much better together than orange and green.

      • SHP our younger DB’s are only lacking in SEC/college play. I think we have some future stars in the mix. Under the radar until they show on the field.
        As for the trash talking all will be decided when boots(cleats) hit the turf.
        Now could you see it?
        Ladies and gentleman boys and girls here are your mighty hurricanes with a pink flamingo leading the way. LOL

  2. my kind of story. 3 star pulls past everyone on his way to the top. chattering among the teams that know this is an intense rivalry to be played out no matter how everyone else seems to project results a hair prematurely.

    no doubt a 5 star athlete can do a few great plays. being a gator is like a business. day in, day out. cut mistakes. dont let your guard down. after hours you get ready for later, not a license to do what you shouldnt. if you dont do these things, like some talented guys we had to say good bye too, the next guy will be hungry for the chance to step up. the new linebacker looks like he is showing he belongs, and for that i say welcome, join in. same as the other new guys. one day i look forward to praising all of you, right now, do the work, praise will come later.

    • Great post, bud. I say again, sure you want 5* — safe bet. But a savvy coach and staff can evaluate talent better than the boards that award ratings, and more importantly, how that that talent fits or doesn’t fit a particular system. And even more importantly, can develop that talent once in hand to a sometimes amazing level. So at the end of the proverbial day, squaring the circle, getting granular and all that, the undeniable truth is that the only thing as bad as over-relying on star ratings is ignoring then all together.

        • We always have, Smith….I’ve been visiting the archives over the last few days and man, did we get into some major dust ups on here at times trying to calm down those who insisted on an infatuation with 5*s, or what? It got pretty nasty at times, but your voice of reason seemed pretty steady the whole time.

          Yeah, ol’ Mveal sure can churn out some great thinking when he sits down to type. Again using those archives (I know, I know, get a life or better yet get a damn job), I came upon one of those pearls he introduced right after the Mullen transition was in effect, somewhere before the season was about to start — “fragilities”. Now up until then I had been struggling with how to put into words some of my uneasiness at the time with carry over effects from the previous regime. He did it for me.

  3. I truly hope that our players do as has been suggested by my above fellow posters. Play disciplined, and focus on your job and your teamates. Let UM be the trash talking, showboating, self aggrandizing fools that they have been for decades. If the Gators follow this script they should win this game as they have the better players, especially on the offensive side. Let the ‘Canes get their jollies and get hit with the unsportsmanlike penalties while the Fighting Gators keep their cool and execute their game plans. Go Gators!

  4. Star ratings are over-weighted to physical measurables. They typically under-value intangibles and talent. Kimbrough is a bit shorter and he’s lighter than his fellow DBs, hence the three stars. But it doesn’t mean he can’t play.

    I’ll be fascinated to watch Lacedrick Brunson, who Randy Shannon scouted and offered as a developmental player with great intangibles who hit like a ton of bricks. He was evaluated by the recruiting services as a two star. He’s reportedly going to see significant playing time this year.

    Stars are doled out on a quota system: 32 fives and about 268 fours each year (300 “elite” players). For the entire country. So you can easily have fours who are just as good as fives and threes who are just as good as fours. Jarrad Davis was evaluated as a three star coming out of high school but left Florida as a five star (he was a first round draft pick; the 32 five star recruit ratings issued each year are intended to mock the 32 first round slots in the NFL draft).

    And a kid in Atlanta or Miami is more likely to get evaluated by ESPN, Rival and/or Scout than a kid in, say, Clewiston.

    • I think the only reason they gave Taven Bryan his third star was that he got a Florida offer.

      I’ve said it before and here it is again. CDM and Co. are lights out at recruiting the exact player type they need for their system and style. I guess a staff that has been doing it successfully for a decade knows some things.

      • That’s correct Nash — you would have been sliced and diced, drawn and quartered, and your tongue would have most likely been cut out and cast to the fish of the seven seas. But even worse than that, you would have been labeled an FSU troll and thus would have been drawn into pissing contests of biblical proportions trying to defend yourself. Ask CO!

    • I thought taven BRYAN was overated in the NFL draft and so far he is making that prediction true, as a Jag. All backups played last week as 31 starters were held back and Taven didnt do so well. the Jags are disappointed since he was supposed to be depth.
      Now from the article: (spin) ” move that I’ve never seen before.” I guess he hasnt seen much then because you see it in the NFL. In fact , Warren Sapp, one of the top 25 defenders of all time and who reached 100 sack career(2nd most for a d tackle) was famous for his spin move!

  5. For the sake of levity – maybe Cox spins on his toes like a ballerina? As far as I know, there are only two ways to go – inside or outside spin then to the QB, so I hope the spin move was not as unique to the OL as it was to the receivers! On another note, I sincerely hope we don’t embarrass ourselves with a lot of trash talk. Just get up, shut-up, huddle up, and go smash ’em in their trash talking mouths. Let the level of play and the scoreboard do the talking. Carry yourselves like men, not boys. There is nothing that aggravates a trash talker more than simply ignoring them. They are trying to call attention to themselves and de-rail your focus. Don’t let ’em! Ypu can’t CHOMP AND chat at the same time. As your momma said, “Don’t talk with your mouth full!” Just keep CHOMPIN’!

    • Trooper, sage advice for the boys in orange and blue and well written. I trust the coaches will be preaching some version of this to the guys in the coming days. In regards to spins and pass rushing, you state that there are only 2 ways to go, inside or outside. There is 3rd; right through and over the blocker. While this may not be the most common (tough to do), when it happens it leaves the blocker demoralized and looking for the bench to go sit on. Mean Joe Green was a great example of this approach to getting to where he wanted to go, because a straight line is the shortest way to get there!

  6. Going to enjoy watching us dismantle what I consider to be an overrated Miami defense. Their offense causes me absolutely ZERO concern as I honestly believe they’re going to have a lot of trouble even scoring a TD on our defense.

    This is will start getting ugly for Miami about halfway through the second quarter imo.