Forgotten freshmen will re-emerge for Gators


The true freshmen who redshirt in the fall are usually forgotten by the middle of the season. But now that the start of spring football is only about a month away, they are back on the radar and back ready to start competing for playing time.

Here’s a look at some redshirt freshmen who have a chance to make a big impact in the spring and next season for the Gators:

Taven Bryan, DE — I’d pretty much forgotten about this kid until I saw him on the sideline late in the Birmingham Bowl. He is an impressive-looking athlete. Big, thick, strong and, from what I’ve been told, plays with a very high motor. He should push for serious playing time at a position of need. I also think he has the frame (and athleticism) to grow into a big-time offensive tackle if things don’t work out for him on defense.

Khairi Clark, DT — With the Gators deep and solid at defensive tackle last fall, Clark had a chance to redshirt and gain strength in the weight room last fall. He figures to be a sure bet to get into the playing rotation, where there’s a lack of experienced depth.

Travaris Dorsey, OG — Dorsey did not carry his 310 pounds all that well during preseason camp in August. But he’s had a chance to turn a lot of that bad weight into good weight and he’ll challenge for a starting role at one of the guard positions, where the Gators have serious depth issues.

Will Grier, QB — He is a very polished passer with a lightning-quick release. He and true sophomore Treon Harris will wage what is expected to be a very close (and very intense) battle for the starting role this spring and likely into the fall. Grier appears to be UF’s best pure passer. He’s also a good enough athlete to make some plays with his legs.

Thomas Holley, DT — One of the highest-rated members of the recruiting class, Holley will push for a starting role at the depth-shy tackle positions. He’s a very quick and agile player for his size (6-foot-4, 290), qualities that also allowed him to excel in basketball in high school.

J.C. Jackson, DB/WR — Jackson was in a position to earn playing time as a true freshman at cornerback, but the decision was made to redshirt him due to a shoulder injury he sustained in high school. He also was a standout wide receiver in high school and likely will get a long, serious look at the position in the spring. UF lacks impact wide receivers, and he has a chance to become one if the spring experiment is a success.

Andrew Mike, OT —  He has a great frame (6-7, 290) and is a very good athlete, qualities Mike Summers could do wonders with in time. He’s still very raw and needs to develop strength, but he has a big up side and could crack the playing rotation at tackle, where depth is a concern.

Justus Reed — With the loss of Dante Fowler Jr. early to the NFL draft, the Gators are looking for pass rushers, and Reed has a chance to be a good one. He’s quick and athletic and has had an opportunity to gain weight and strength since he’s been here.