Editor’s note: We’re giving this piece a bump as some missed it the first go-around.
Now that players can play four games in a season without losing a year of eligibility, those true freshmen who redshirt can no longer be classified as the Forgotten Freshmen. Now, we can amend that to say Almost Forgotten Freshmen.
Anyway, here’s a look at the Florida true freshmen on offense who redshirted and how they might fit in this spring:
Kingsley Eguakun, Offensive lineman, 6-foot-4, 294 — This three-star prospect from Jacksonville Sandalwood was an early enrollee last spring who played in the UT-Martin, Towson and Vanderbilt games in the fall. He played both center and guard in high school and has seen reps at both those positions in the year he’s been at UF. At times last spring and early in fall camp, he was running with the No. 2 offense at center behind senior Nick Buchanan. If senior Brett Heggie remains at guard, Eguakun will be battling for the starting center role in the spring.
William Harrod, OL, 6-5, 316 — The highest-rated offensive lineman in the 2019 recruiting class, this four-star prospect was an early enrollee who saw action in the UT-Martin and Vanderbilt games. In those two games, he seemed to hold his own. In the year he’s been here, he’s gained strength and is in a position to compete for significant playing time this spring at guard and/or tackle. Harrod was a nationally ranked basketball player in high school and did not start playing football until his junior season. So, he’s still a little bit raw, but with a high ceiling.
Dionte Marks, Wide receiver, 6-1, 180 — This three-star prospect from DeLand played in the UT-Martin and Towson games last season but did not have any receptions. He caught 45 passes for 964 yards and 11 touchdowns in his senior season and impressed the coaches with the progress he made last season on the scout team going against some of the best DBs in the SEC. With four senior receivers now getting themselves for possibly NFL careers, Marks has a chance to work his way into the playing rotation at wide receiver this spring.
Riley Simonds, OL, 6-4, 328 — The only offensive line signee who did not enrollee early, this four-star prospect from Buford, Ga., played in one game (Towson) last fall. He’s a big, physical prospect who has lost some weight and gained strength since his arrival last summer. Given the lack of proven depth along the offensive line, Simonds has a chance to get in the playing rotation at guard and/or tackle this spring.
Michael Tarquin, OL, 6-6, 279 — He’s a four-star prospect out of North Marion who missed his entire senior season with a torn labrum. He enrolled last spring, but was still recovering from his injury and working to regain his strength. By the start of the season he was ready to go and played in three games (UT-Martin, Towson and Vanderbilt). He’s a promising tackle prospect who will be competing for playing time this spring. Originally committed to Miami, he also had offers from Clemson, Ohio State, Florida State, Oklahoma and others.
Ja’Markis Weston, WR, 6-3, 212 — A little-known three-star prospect out of Clewiston, Weston was dubbed the sleeper of the 2019 recruiting class by coach Dan Mullen. He has excellent size and athletic ability and is one of the fastest players on the team. He flew under the radar during the recruiting process because he did not participate in any of the camps around the country. He played in three games last season (UT-Martin, FSU and Virginia) but did not have any receptions. He’s expected to compete for a starting role this spring.
Trent Whittemore, WR, 6-3, 187 — This homegrown talent was a versatile three-star athlete at Buchholz who played wide receiver, cornerback, safety and quarterback for the Bobcats. When he signed with UF, Mullen said Whittemore would have a chance to really excel if he is able to concentrate on one position, which he has done in his time at UF. He played two games at wide receiver (UT-Martin and Towson) and is expected to push for playing time in the spring. The veteran receivers have been impressed with his crisp, precise routes and sure hands.
Nay’Quan Wright, Running back, 5-9, 194 — He’s a four-star prospect who helped lead Carol City to a state championship in 2016, rushing for 109 yards and two touchdowns in the championship game. He played in three games last season (UT-Martin, Towson and Vanderbilt), rushing for 24 yards on 12 carries and catching one pass for four yards. He’s a quick and elusive home-run threat who will try to work his way into the playing rotation at running back, where Lamical Perine must be replaced. Along with UF, he had he had multiple big-time offers, including from Alabama, Georgia, LSU, FSU, Notre Dame and Miami.