The Florida secondary, also known as DBU, is always up to a good challenge. And there certainly are some demanding challenges lying ahead for the guys on the back end of the UF defense in 2020.
This is a secondary that must replace its best player — cornerback CJ Henderson — but again should be a team strength with Marco Wilson and Kaiir Elam at the cornerback positions and lots of experience and proven depth at the safety spots and nickel.
DBU is going to be tested this season.
Here’s a look at the top 10 wide receivers the Gators will have to contend with in 2020:
- Ja’Marr Chase, LSU — This guy needs no introduction, but we’ll go ahead and say it anyway, he’s the best wide receiver in college football, and it’s not even close. He is coming off a huge sophomore season in which he set the SEC single-season records for touchdown receptions (20) and receiving yards (1,780), while averaging 21.19 yards per catch. It all added up to him winning the Biletnikoff Award. He took a pretty big chunk out of the Gators last season in Baton Rouge, catching seven passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns, the second coming on a 54-yard bomb in the fourth quarter.
- Tamorrion Terry, FSU — His decision to return for his senior season seems a bit mystifying, because it was obvious at the end of last season he was NFL ready. One of the most dangerous deep threats in the nation, Terry caught 60 passes for 1,188 yards and nine touchdowns, while averaging 19.8 yards a reception. He had a big game against the Gators — seven catches for 131 yards — but it could have been huge had QB James Blackman been on target on those deep throws where he had Terry wide open.
- Elijah Moore, Ole Miss — He’s a rarity, a Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas standout ending up in Oxford. He definitely has become a good fit with the Rebels. He had a breakout sophomore season in 2019, catching 67 passes for 850 yards and six touchdowns. He could have a season off the charts in 2020 playing in Lane Kiffin’s pro-style passing offense.
- Terrace Marshall Jr., LSU — The Gators did not have to deal with him last season because he was still recovering from a leg injury. They will this season. Once Marshall returned to full strength last year, he took off in LSU’s devastating passing attack, catching 46 passes for 671 yards and 13 touchdowns. With Justin Jefferson moving on to the NFL, Marshall moves up as the Tigers’ No. 2 receiver behind Chase.
- George Pickens, Georgia — As a true freshman, he started slow last season but finished as one of the most productive receivers in the SEC, emerging as a potential future star. He was no factor against the Gators, catching just one pass for four yards, but he finished the season with 49 receptions for 727 yards and eight touchdowns.
- Andrew Boston, Eastern Washington — In a wide-open passing offense, he is the go-to guy for talented dual-threat quarterback Eric Barriere. He’s coming off a season in which he caught 50 passes for 730 yards and six touchdowns. There’s another EWU wide receiver who’s not on this list who the Gators will be made aware of — Jayson Williams, who caught 46 passes for 553 yards and five touchdowns last season.
- Shi Smith, South Carolina — With Bryan Edwards moving on to the NFL, Smith becomes the Gamecocks’ most dangerous threat in the passing game. After catching 43 passes for 489 yards and two touchdowns, he seems primed for a breakout year in 2020. He did not do much against the Gators last season, catching just two passes for 18 yards.
- D.J. Matthews, FSU — Matthews has the speed and ability to possibly match teammate Terry as a deep threat for the Seminoles. He caught 36 passes for 355 yards and three touchdowns and could have a breakout season under new offensive-minded head coach Mike Norvell, whose scheme is definitely wide-receiver friendly.
- Demetris Robertson, Georgia — This former five-star prospect showed signs of starting to live up to his immense potential last season, finishing with 30 receptions for 333 yards and three touchdowns. He and Pickens will give the Bulldogs a potent one-two punch in the passing game.
- Cam Johnson, Vanderbilt — He quietly put together a strong season in 2019, catching 30 passes for 316 yards and three touchdowns. With talented junior college transfer Jeremy Moussa coming in at quarterback, Johnson should have the chance to put up some monster numbers this season.