Florida Gators should make transferring lineman O'Cyrus Torrence a recruiting priority
Let’s be honest, the Gators are in desperate need of help along the offensive line. The unit was hardly a shining example of discipline despite its carefully manicured veteran status and the team’s depth is pitiful thanks to former coach John Hevesy’s struggles in recruiting.
New head coach Billy Napier’s staff has made a few additions, flipping tackle recruit Christian Williams to a Gators commitment and snagging transferring center Kam Waites from the portal. What do the two have in common? Both were originally slated to play for the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns next year, and followed Napier and offensive line coach Darnell Stapleton to The Swamp.
That well isn’t dry, though. Right guard O’Cyrus Torrence has entered the transfer portal after starting for the Ragin’ Cajuns for the past three seasons. Not only does the team have a prime angle for making him a Gator, they should make doing so a priority.
Starting at right guard last season was sixth-year lineman Stewart Reese, who started his career at Mississippi State transferred to Florida with Dan Mullen and Hevesy. Though Reese was a useful player, his eligibility is completely expended, including the extra COVID year for players who were eligible in 2020. Now that he’s out of the picture, there’s a gaping hole at right guard and no obvious successor. Clearly, Torrence would fill a need for the team.
Furthermore, he’s more than just an old pal for Napier and Stapleton. He has real SEC potential. Torrence won All-Conference honors two years in a row as a member of Louisiana’s offensive line and has the physical tools to back it up.
I took the opportunity to watch some of Torrence’s 2021 tape, largely from the App State game, and I came away impressed with his abilities. He’s a mobile guard who routinely breaks into the second level and takes linebackers out of the equation. He also seems competent redirecting bull rushes, especially to his left and into a double team with the center.
That’s not to say he’s without flaw. The weak spot in Torrence’s game is his upper body strength. When a defensive lineman gets the better of him by leveraging him backward, he struggles to recover and almost always loses the rep. Lorenz Lienweber, a Senior Scout at Sports Illustrated’s NFL Draft Bible, expressed the same opinion on Twitter. This isn’t an issue that will go away in the SEC. Because there aren’t too many players who tower over his 6-foot-5-inch frame, though, it’s more of a nagging annoyance than a debilitating problem.
Torrence is familiar with the scheme the Gators will be running and the coaches who will be running it, he has plenty of experience as a starter, and he has the skills to hang in there with almost anyone. That fits what Florida needs to a tee.
With only two years of eligibility remaining, Torrence isn’t a long-term solution to any of the Gators’ problems. Bringing him onto the team is a low-risk proposition, though, which is exactly what the Gators need in the trenches. Sports247 has already logged a Crystal Ball prediction in favor of Florida, but if it hasn’t already happened, making him a priority needs to be a no-brainer for Napier and Stapleton.