FOOTBALL

Standouts in Florida fall football camp? Billy Napier highlights a few top performers

Kevin Brockway
Gator Sports
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So which Florida football players stood out in fall camp?

Billy Napier shared some of his thoughts on that Wednesday after the Gators wrapped up preseason practice on Tuesday. 

Here are a few players the coach highlighted. 

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Freshman linebacker Shemar James

Florida linebacker Shemar James (6) runs on the field during Week 3 of football practice at Sanders Outdoor Practice Fields in Gainesville, on Aug. 19, 2022.

Napier went out of his way to mention one true freshman who stood out in fall camp.

When addressing Florida's depth, Napier said: "Shemar James is an exceptional player, right. There's a number of young players that I think their role will grow as we will continue to see,"

A 6-foot-1, 230-pound inside linebacker, James has received opportunities in camp due to injuries to Amari Burney and Ventrell Miller. James was a four-star linebacker coming out of Faith Academy in Mobile, Ala., ranked as the fifth best linebacker in the Class of 2022, per 247Sports. He enrolled at UF in January and took part in spring practices, which gave him a jump on the fall.

Freshman wide receiver Caleb Douglas

Gators receiver Caleb Douglas (12) during practice before the first preseason scrimmage, Aug. 13, 2022 at Sanders Football Practice Field, in Gainesville.

Another true freshman Napier said flashed in the second scrimmage was wide receiver Caleb Douglas.

"Caleb is a former quarterback," Napier said. "This is a guy who kind of early in his junior year started playing that receiver position. I think we’re excited about his upside. This guy is 6-3, maybe some change, and weighs close to 200 pounds. He’s got some unique traits I think, the things that are required to play receiver. He’s a developmental player that we think is making progress.” 

Linemen Tyreak Sapp and Princely Umanmielen

Gators defensive lineman Princely Umanmielen (33) participates in drills during fall football practice at Sanders Outdoor Practice Fields on Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022.

Napier said a defensive line rotation is starting to develop.

"That's one of the areas where we have some inexperienced players, and I think they’ve made progress," Napier said. "You know, (Tyreak) Sapp, (Justus) Boone, Princely (Umanmielen), maybe a handful of guys there ... how much have they really played in a game when it counts? Those guys needed to make progress. I think they have made progress and I do believe that they're going to continue to improve."

Napier said Sapp and Umanmielen made the biggest impressions in camp.

The position group received some instruction Tuesday from former standout UF defensive lineman Sharrif Floyd, who is back in school and serving as a student volunteer. Floyd was a first-round pick of the Minnesota Vikings in the 2013 NFL Draft and played four seasons with the Vikings (2013-16).

"He's got a character," Napier said. "I think he understands the big picture, takes pride in his role and certainly him being able to coach on the field I think it's an advantage for players. This guy's a first-round pick. He played a number of years in the league and has a good understanding of the fundamentals of that position. So he'll play a critical role in the practice format going forward."

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