Florida football: 5 players to watch in rivalry game between Gators and No. 1 Georgia
Five players to watch when the Florida Gators face the No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville:
QUARTERBACK ANTHONY RICHARDSON
It's a chance for Richardson to show how much progress he's made during the bye week and cement his name in the history of the Florida-Georgia rivalry. For the season, Richardson has thrown for 1,367 yards with 6 TDs to 7 interceptions, while rushing for 391 yards and 5 more TDs.
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WIDE RECEIVER JUSTIN SHORTER
Shorter, who signed an NIL deal with Outback Steakhouse this week, has emerged as a deep threat in the Florida offense, catching touchdown passes of 75 and 51 yards on the season. Shorter has a team-high 405 yards receiving on 18 catches, an average of 22.5 yards per catch. "I don’t really think I have a ceiling," Shorter said. "I just want to really work and that involves bringing up the people around me. I want to bring everyone in that room up and get everyone better and eventually the whole team.”
RIGHT TACKLE AUSTIN BARBER
A redshirt freshman, the 6-foot-6, 312-pound Barber has started five straight games since Michael Tarquin went down with an injury and hasn't relinquished his spot. He's been solid in both pass protection and run blocking this season and last week was named to the College Football News (CFN) Midseason Freshman All-America First Team. The game will take on added significance for Barber, a former Trinity Christian Academy standout from Jacksonville who will play in TIAA Bank Field for the first time, He grew up going to the stadium watching Jacksonville Jaguars games and past Florida-Georgia contests. "This is going to mean the world to me," Barber said, "I have a bunch of family coming, friends coming, they’re all going to be behind me supporting me so I’m excited.”
DEFENSIVE LINEMAN BRENTON COX JR
The 6-3, 252-pound Cox, from Stockbridge, Ga., played for Georgia as a freshman in 2018 before transferring to UF. Cox has been solid this season with 33 tackles, 8 tackles for loss and 2 sacks while rushing from the edge. He recorded his first solo sack of the season in UF's last game Oct. 15 against LSU. "I’m looking to have the best game of my career — always — whether it’s Georgia or another team," Cox said. " As far as for the team, we’re working hard this week, the communication is better, and we want to give them a run for their money.”
SAFETY RASHAD TORRENCE II
Like Cox, Torrence is another Georgia native, from Atlanta, eager to face his home-state team. The 6-0. 225-pound Torrence has been solid in run support with a team-high 55 tackles but has yet to record an interception after posting three interceptions last season. Torrence does have one pass breakup and will need to be solid in coverage against Georgia tight ends Brock Bowers and Darnell Washington.