Young guy watch is on

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Here are some of the young players I’m going to be checking out this spring:

* Gerald Christian — This true freshman has a chance to win the starting role at tight end. He’s a very good athlete who runs well and has extremely good hands. And the position is wide open with the early departure of Aaron Hernandez. Another young guy to watch here is Jordan Reed, who is making the transition from quarterback to tight end. This is an athletic quarterback who has the chance to morph into a very good tight end in time.

* Trey Burton — He’s the No. 2 quarterback and he’s going to get a ton of reps. This true freshman has a lot of athletic ability and can make a lot of things happen with his legs. He needs to improve dramatically as a passer and will be getting lots of attention from quarterbacks coach Scot Loeffler, who has only two scholarship quarterbacks to work with this spring.

* Joshua Shaw — This high school All-American from California has a chance to take over the cornerback slot vacated by Joe Haden. The competition is wide open, and he’s got the size and athletic ability to make a run at the staring role.

* Josh Evans — He did a lot of good things at strong safety as a true freshman last season. With the Gators suddenly a little thin at the safety positions, Evans should get extended playing time behind senior Ahmad Black next season.

*Stephen Alli — Wide receiver David Nelson loved this guy last season, saying he came close to playing as a true freshman. He has freakish athletic ability (and great size), and with openings in the wide receiver corps, he has a chance to earn a spot in the playing rotation with a good spring.

* Matt Elam — Speaking of young safeties, this true freshman looks physically ready to see playing time behind No. 1 free safety Will Hill. Urban Meyer has also said he would like to see the ball in his hands on offense on occasion. He looked like a big-time tailback prospect the way he ran in the state championship game for West Palm Beach Dwyer.

* William Green — He’s not that young anymore (a true junior), but he’s a great prospect with a huge motor who has a chance to be a stater at defensive end. He has a chance to be one of the better pass-rushers the Gators have had in recent years — and that’s saying something.

* Kyle Koehne — I saw this redshirt freshman offensive lineman the other day and was very impressed by how he’s changed his body since he’s been here. He looks much stronger than he did in the fall. He looks like a veteran college offensive lineman now.

* Jon Halapio — Here’s another young offensive lineman that the coaches really like. He’s a big nasty, and has a chance to see a lot of playing time this season in a backup role.

* Jeremy Brown — If he’s healthy (and it’s a big if), Brown has a chance to become a big-time cornerback with his ability to cover. The problem is his chronic bad back has kept him sidelined. He’ll try again this spring.

*Jelani Jenkins — This high school stud disappeared last season. That’s what happens when you’re injured and redshirted. But this guy has a huge upside and could be a major player at outside linebacker if he has a good spring.

Here are some older guys who I think have a chance to be emerge as late-bloomers this spring: Outside linebacker Lorenzo Edwards, wide receiver Justin Williams, tailback Emmanuel Moody and cornerback Moses Jenkins.

10 COMMENTS

  1. Wow, there are too many young guys to mention. We had an incredible 11 early enrollees this year and they are all talented. Gerald Christian and Josh Shaw will be interesting to watch, as they both come in with great opportunities. Also, Matt Elam, as UF plays alot of 5 DB’s in their defense. How far have Jon Bostic and Jelani Jenkins come?? Bostic could be the key to the D this year. Also, Solomon Patton and Robert Clark in a position of critical need. And then more big guns will be coming in the fall. How can you not be excited! And I’m not worried about Johnny Brantley, he knows what his role is. He doesn’t need to put this team on his shoulders, he just needs to get the ball to the playmakers…

  2. Let’s get this party started!!! Time to try and fill some roles and answer some questions. Contrary to what seems to be the popular belief among some “experts”, Florida football isn’t falling off the map. Unlike 07 when the defense was pretty much starting over, there are guys with serious playing time ready to assume starting roles at most positions.
    Offensively, we need receivers to step up, but I feel like that won’t be an issue with JB slinging the rock. He’s been playing catch with a few of these guys for 2 years or more. Anyway you look at it, we should be a team to be reckoned with on each and every Saturday, and I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds. GO GATORS!!

  3. Surprised you didn’t mention Bostic. With the loss of Spikes, someone is going to have to take over in the middle. Actually I think Spikes played poorly at times last year; maybe because he was hurt or something but Bama ate him up in the SEC Champ game. We MUST get tougher when a team runs right at us.

  4. And you didn’t even tough upon the Gator Nation’s excitement to see Andre Debose. Now, he may not play in the spring, but that won’t mean he won’t be ready this fall. Looking forward to him and the stable of running backs. Yup, Florida finally has a stable of running backs!

  5. Gillislie is a big part of the reason Rainey moved to the Percy position. Mack Brown too. Getting crowded in the backfield. Good thing, though, since the QB isn’t going to be hogging all the carries this year.

    When Dubose comes back at full speed, he and Rainey will split time. Then, unlike when it was all Percy, all the time, we won’t have to worry about working a guy into the ground. Should be able to put a fresh, dangerous playmaker on the field in the Percy role whenever we want.

  6. Jordan Reed is the best athlete on offense. He can run and he can catch. more importantly he can throw. He is the ultimate Winged T weapon he can stop on a dime and throw darts. He has the strongest arm of the three QB’s a 70% passer in High School and a 92 mph fast ball as a freshman before he chose football to play along side his brother David Reed the starting Utah WR that buried Alabama in their bowl game. Jordan is faster than either Tebow or Hernandez

    The next QB in is no slouch either Tyler Murphy. 4.4 forty and the state champ at triple jump in CT. He throws better than Burton and is faster. Not as big but a freakish runner check out you tube.

    My son Travis Meyer owner of 5 Star Quarterbacks trained both Reed and Murphy in Connecticut. they are great kids and very hard workers.