These freshmen will play

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Since signing day back in February, we’ve been matching names with needs and making predictions/guesses about which true freshmen will be playing for Florida this fall.

Now, after having seen these kids in pads a little bit and hearing reviews from their coaches and teammates, there is some hard evidence to go on in making these predictions/guesses.

So, here we go, the true freshmen who will be playing for the Gators this season:

Martez Ivey, offensive tackle — This five-star stud has lived up to expectations so far and should have an immediate impact on the depth-shy, experience-shy offensive line. Big, strong and athletic, he plays with great energy and is very mature for a true freshman.

Cece Jefferson, defensive end — Another five-star guy who is living up to the hype. The way things stand now, this edge pass rusher is going to be in the defensive line playing rotation.

Jordan Scarlett, tailback — He was probably the No. 2 tailback even before Adam Lane left, so he’s in a position to see playing time and take some of the carries away from starter Kelvin Taylor. How many carries he gets likely will depend on how well he grasps the offense and pass protections in the next few weeks.

Jordan Cronkrite, tailback — When Taylor was asked about the freshmen tailbacks the other day, this is the kid he mentioned first. He’s pushing Scarlett hard for that No. 2 spot, and with the lack of depth at the position, he’s going to play this season.

Antonio Callaway, wide receiver — His teammates have been raving about him since the summer workouts. The reviews have remained positive with the camp he’s having. He has great speed and hands and apparently is a very good route runner for a freshman. He’ll be in the playing rotation.

Fred Johnson, offensive tackle — This guy is huge, with really long arms to fend off pass rushers. He’s been the No. 2 right tackle throughout camp and holding his own against the defensive front.

T.J. McCoy, center — The North Carolina State transfer was not part of the recruiting class, but he is a true freshman, and he is battling for playing time behind Cameron Dillard. A very tough, aggressive player, he benefited from being an early enrollee and going through spring practice with the Wolfpack. He also could play guard.

Tyler Jordan, C — He and McCoy are engaged in a close battle for the No. 2 center role. He’s gained considerable strength and weight since signing day and is an athletic lineman with good feet. With so little depth up front,  he’ll see the field.

Rayshad Jackson, linebacker — With so little depth at linebacker there may be no choice but to play him. The good news is he’s flashed some really good signs in camp and appears close to game ready. He could push for a starting role on special teams.

So, there you have it, nine true freshmen who will be playing this season, a considerable contribution from Jim McElwain’s first recruiting class.