How redshirt freshmen fit in Florida’s defense

Florida linebacker Jesiah Pierre runs to tackle a circle pad during a spring practice held at the Sanders Practice Fields last spring. [Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun]

  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 defense who redshirted in 2019 and how they might fit in this spring:

 Ty’Ron Hopper, Linebacker, 6-foot-2, 202 pounds — This four-star prospect from Alpharetta, Ga., played in four games last season (UT-Martin, Towson, Georgia and Vanderbilt) and recorded two tackles and 0.5 tackles for losses. He’s a fast, physical player who played safety in high school before making the move to linebacker after his sophomore season. In his senior season, he recorded 74 tackles, five interceptions, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. With the lack of proven depth at linebacker, Hopper will be competing for significant playing time (maybe even a starting role) in the spring and in preseason camp. He also had offers from Alabama, Auburn and Tennessee.

 Jaelin Humphries, DT, 6-4, 314 — One of the highest-rated prospects in the 2019 recruiting class, the four-star Humphries played in one game (Vanderbilt) last season and did not record a tackle. He got off to a relatively slow start to his UF career because he was still recovering from a knee injury when he arrived on campus last summer. He’s 100 percent now and will have an opportunity to work his way into the playing rotation. This highly rated prospect also had offers from Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Tennessee and others.

 Jesiah Pierre, LB, 6-2, 217 — An early enrollee a year ago, this three-star prospect showed excellent speed and striking ability last spring and in preseason camp. He played in two games (UT-Martin and Towson) last season, but did not make it onto the defensive stat sheet. He was a four-year starter at Mount Dora Christian Academy, recording 131 tackles and 4.5 sacks in his freshman and sophomore seasons. He’s expected to make a strong push for significant playing time at the depth-shy linebacker spots. He chose the Gators over Georgia, Miami, Ole Miss and others.

 Lloyd Summerall, LB/DE, 6-5, 209 — Summerall, who saw playing time in three games (UT-Martin, Vandy and Virginia) last season, needed a redshirt year to add weight and strength, and he has. He’ll practice at about 220 pounds this spring and likely will be in the 230 range for the start of preseason camp in August. A four-star prospect, Summerall is an excellent athlete who also played basketball in high school. He transferred to Lakeland High School for his senior season after playing his junior year at Auburndale High. For his high school career, he recorded 117 tackles, 14.5 sacks, four interceptions and three forced fumbles. He’s capable of playing both rush end and outside linebacker and will try to work himself into the playing rotation at both positions this spring. Summerall also had offers from Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia, LSU, FSU and others.

  Note: Five true freshmen defensive players played in more than four games last season and did not reshirt — linebacker/defensive end Khris Bogle, linebacker Mohamoud Diabate, cornerback Kaiir Elam, cornerback Jaydon Hill and safety Chester Kimbrough.



  1. It seems that Hopper and Pierre are both undersized to play linebacker. Their speed is a great factor, but they both appear to be slightly oversized safeties. Hopefully, both add some weight (muscle) without losing significant speed. Looking forward to Humprhies and Summerall as both will probably contribute substantially this year. GO GATORS!!!