Remember all those spring awards that Steve Spurrier used to hand out
to his players at every spring game? Well, we’ve decided to bring back
the tradition with some spring awards of our own.
are not based so much on feedback from the coaches, but from observing
all 14 spring practices and the Orange and Blue Game.
So, here we go:
quarterback: We all know the winner here. Tim Tebow had a very good
spring and seemed to improve his footwork and mechanics.
improved quarterback: Sophomore John Brantley really came on in the
last two weeks, lighting it up in the final scrimmage and the spring
game. New quarterbacks coach Scot Loeffler has clearly elevated
Best running back: It has to be walk-on
tailback Chris Scott. He had more carries and more yards than anyone
else in the spring. The coaches love his toughness and work ethic.
improved running back: Emmanuel Moody finally appears comfortable in
the offense. As a result, he’s running with more authority and
Best receiver: It’s tight end Aaron Hernandez, in a
landslide. He was the go-to guy throughout the spring and should have a
monster junior season, which probably will be his last at UF.
improved receiver: Redshirt freshman Frankie Hammond Jr. culminated a
great spring with a breakout performance in the Orange and Blue Game.
He seems to have the “It” factor.
Best offensive lineman: Carl
Johnson. The junior looks like he’s ready to take his game to another
level. He showed he can effectively play both guard and tackle.
improved offensive lineman: After struggling at guard last season,
Marcus Gilbert looked much more natural at right tackle in the spring.
He’s a big, athletic lineman who moves well. He started playing with a
fire that was missing last season.
Best defensive lineman:
Defensive end Jermaine Cunningham looks like he’s getting himself ready
for a big senior season. He was unblockable most of the spring,
especially when the injury-depleted o-line sent the young guys against
Most improved defensive lineman: Jaye Howard, who came to
UF as a defensive end, has grown into a 300-pound tackle who can really
move. He was a load to handle in the middle of the D-line.
linebacker: This is like the quarterback award. Yes, it was senior
Brandon Spikes. He intercepted several passes and stuffed the run all
Most improved linebacker: Spikes mentored true freshman
Jon Bostic throughout the spring, and the kid really started catching
on and making plays. He’s going to see playing time as Spikes’ backup.
He has a tremendous upside.
Best defensive back: Cornerback Joe
Haden had a tremendous spring, making plays all over the field. The
former high school quarterback has turned himself into one of the SEC’s
elite defensive backs in only a few years. Like Hernandez, this could
be the junior’s final season at UF if he has the year many predict he
Most improved defensive back: Moses Jenkins looked
like a different player this spring. The junior cornerback made a bunch
of plays, and played with much more confidence. He’s shown the coaches
he can play, and he’s really pushing the guys in front of him.