Published July 5, 2011 - 9:25am
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With the dismissal of star and lockdown corner Janoris Jenkins because of his off-the-field trouble, the Gators will have a nice-sized hole to fill in the defensive secondary – especially at corner.
With the addition of Jenkins and his ability to lockdown a wide receiver, the Gators could free another defender in the secondary to help out whoever happened to be playing opposite Janoris. Now, the mindset of knowing there is a lockdown corner on the field totally has been erased. It completely changes a game plan from a coaching standpoint as well. That safety blanket of having a dependable and reliable threat at corner is now gone.
Redshirt junior Jeremy Brown, sophomore Cody Riggs and senior Moses Jenkins were most likely going to share the role of corner opposite Janoris, with the best player winning the starting position. Now, those three players have stepped to the forefront because they are the only three with important game experience.
Brown is 5-10, 184lbs, and he played pretty well last year. He was tied for second on the team with Jenkins, with three interceptions. Riggs is 5-9, 166lbs, and Riggs really played pretty well when called upon as a true freshman. He added one interception on the year. Moses Jenkins is a guy who was hurt early, and he was burned in several games. He has great size at 6-3, but his ability to cover a wide receiver was exploited in 2010.
These three players have to be the backbone and playmakers the team can rely on, because behind them it gets a little fuzzier. The Gators will have to rely on younger, talented players to step into immediate playing time.
Sophomore Jaylen Watkins had minimal time in 2010. He looks to have all the athletic tools, but it was a big step once he set foot on Florida’s campus and into the SEC. He only recorded eight tackles all year.
Freshman De’Ante “Pop” Saunders should work his way into playing time this year. He enrolled early, and he really played well in the spring. He will add some much needed depth in the secondary.
In addition to Saunders, true freshmen Jabari Gorman, Louchiez Purifoy, Marcus Roberson and Valdez Showers all have the physical ability and will get a look in preseason camp to make an impact.
One guy that stands out of this group would be Marcus Roberson. Roberson is 6-1, and he is a bigger corner like Will Muschamp likes. I think Roberson could have the biggest impact out of the true freshmen.
The corner position is wide open for Florida. There is some depth at the position, but there is a ton of inexperience to go along with it.
Safeties Matt Elam, Josh Evans and Josh Shaw should be pretty steady to add stability to the secondary, but corner is one position I would worry about at Florida.