Five UF players in prime position

Florida freshman defensive back Chris Steele (22) caught the coach's eye during the spring. [Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun]

Here are five more Florida football players who have put themselves in a position to emerge in preseason camp:

Jacob Copeland, WR, redshirt freshman — On the rare occasions he practiced in the spring — and we’re talking about only one or two practices at most — Copeland flashed the explosiveness and playmaking ability that made him a big-time recruit (and get) coming out of high school. The goal is to get him healthy this summer and keep him that way throughout camp. If that happens, he could have a significant impact in the passing game in 2019.

Chris Steele, CB, freshman — With starting cornerback Marco Wilson limited to non-contact work in the spring, the highly rated Steele had an opportunity to get extensive reps with the first-team defense. He had some early struggles, which were expected for a true freshman at that demanding position, but he also flashed some of his big-time potential and showed the coaches he’s on track to contribute in the fall.

Jesiah Pierre, LB, freshman — He steadily improved over the course of the spring as he grew more comfortable in the defense. Near the end of the spring, he seemed to start reacting instead of thinking his way through his assignments — and the plays started coming. If he continues to make progress in preseason camp, he’ll likely see playing time in the fall — and not just on special teams.

David Reese, LB, redshirt freshman — He’s a bit of a physical freak who is capable of playing multiple positions — safety, linebacker, rush end. He’ll likely open preseason camp at rush end, where Jachai Polite and Cece Jefferson must be replaced. He certainly seems to have the skill set for the position, and the potential to wreak some havoc coming off the edge as a pass rusher.

Andrew Chatfield, LB, redshirt freshman — A highly rated prospect coming out of high school, Chatfield caught the coaches’ attention with his strong play on the scout team last fall, then started showing even more playmaking ability in the spring. He figures to see significant time at a position where the Gators continue to build depth.


  1. We all hope that many of our young players are going to contribute this year after a year in the program for some. We definitely need our defense to play lights out and like Daz stated, it will probably take time for our O-line to jell. We will have RB’s, TE’s, and WR’s that can block to help the O-line if necessary. If this years team can play to their potential this year will be very special in deed. GO GATORS!!!

    • You know, Ed, if we put the concept with the subject, we have Jell-o. I sure hope that isn’t an omen about our O-Line this fall!
      (Good grief, I hope ol’ Leland is still at least reading here, otherwise I have the feeling he just channeled through me) 😊

      • Gator-6, Hey Neal, I am trying to remain optimistic about our O-line, but we have only one player with any sort of playing time. This being said, it could be that our O-line comes out from game one with a better-than-expected performance and surprises the hell out of us. Those young men up front need to have the strength and stamina to endure the SEC. This is where an athletic QB could help a young O-line out. I hope Franks is up for the task. GO GATORS!!!