Ranking the Gators


Before the days grow too much longer and hotter, it seems like a good time to have a little fun and rank the Gators — players and by position — coming out of spring football practice.

So, here we go:

Position rankings

  1. Secondary — this is a no-brainer, isn’t it. This group is loaded with talent and depth, led by All-America corner Vernon Hargreaves III. Even with J.C. Jackson out of the mix, this secondary has a chance to be one of the best in the nation.

  2. Defensive line — the Gators have the overall talent to overcome the loss of Dante Fowler Jr. It’s going to be fun watching the development of some of the young guys, especially Taven Bryan and Khairi Clark.

  3. Receivers — these guys, led by Demarcus Robinson, are better and deeper than many think. The tight ends could put up some huge numbers.

  4. Special teams — both kickers (Austin Hardin and Johnny Townsend) could be very good and the Gators have plenty of speed and talent on the return and cover teams.

  5. Linebackers — there weren’t enough of them in the spring, but the ones who were there played at a high level. This group will be much stronger with the hopeful return of Antonio Morrison and Jarrad Davis.

  6. Quarterbacks — Treon Harris and Will Grier are young and talented, but both will carry some nagging unknowns with them into training camp in August.

  7. Running backs — Kelvin Taylor had a breakout spring; Adam Lane missed too much practice time with a hamstring injury. Behind those two, walk-ons got all the carries.

  8. Offensive line — an awful situation grew even worse with the loss of starting tackle Rod Johnson, whose career is over. Biggest problem area (by far) on the team heading into August.

Top 10 players

  1. Vernon Hargreaves — may be the nation’s best cover corner.

  2. Demarcus Robinson — a playmaker and clearly the go-to guy.

  3. Alex McCalister — Fowler’s replacement had a breakout spring.

  4. Keanu Neal — confident safety with a ton of ability

  5. Jonathan Bullard — has the ability to be a dominant player.

  6. Kelvin Taylor — should thrive in McElwain’s TB friendly offense.

  7. Jake McGee — no contact work, but a big part of the passing game.

  8. Quincy Wilson — cover guy with the size and attitude to intimidate.

  9. Jalen Tabor — another corner with cover skills and size.

  10. Alex Anzalone — became a team leader at linebacker.

That seems like a pretty strong top 10. Others who were under strong consideration: DT Caleb Brantley, CB Brian Poole, S Marcus Maye, S Duke Dawson. One note: slot receiver Brandon Powell would have been in the top five had he not missed most of the spring with an injured foot.