Published March 22, 2011 - 10:56am
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The Florida Gators were 8-5 on the field this past year – a year which will be known as the year that caused the head coach to retire early and featured highly recruited talent that did not live up to the hype.
However, there is good news – spring football is here, and young talent who have not played are ready to get their feet wet in spring practice.
Florida is very deep on their roster with talented young players ready to make an impact.
Up front, freshman Chaz Green, sophomore Ian Silberman, sophomore Nick Alajajian and sophomore Jonotthan Harrison are set to step up into vacated positions along the offensive line. Green is 6-5, 290lbs, Silberman is 6-5, 285lbs, Alajajian is 6-4, 295lbs, and Harrison is 6-3, 300lbs, and all are adequate enough to step right in and give Florida a lift up front. All will be fighting for starting positions come fall.
At running back, Mack Brown looks to step up and earn some playing time this year and provide some much-needed depth and a “power back” that Florida has lacked over the last several of years (minus Tim Tebow). Brown was highly recruited out of Georgia, and the Gators need Brown to be a factor. He has all the talent in the world if he can just pick up the new offense.
Chris Dunkley is one wide receiver that I think has a chance to make a huge impact. Dunkley was hurt all of last year, his freshman year. Now, he is healthy and ready to learn in the spring. Dunkley adds a deep threat to the receiving corps, something that was lacking all of 2010.
Along the defensive line, end Chris Martin is a guy who could make an instant-impact to Florida’s ability to get to the quarterback. Martin is a transfer from Cal, where he enrolled there as a freshman and left recently thereafter. Martin is 6-4, 240lbs and will remind a lot of folks of Cam Newton as a freshman, with his lanky but athletic stature. Opposite Ronald Powell, Martin has a chance to take Florida’s pass rush to the next level, as Powell will command double teams.
At linebacker, two players who stand out to me that you may have never heard of are Michael Taylor and Gerald Christian. Taylor is from Georgia and was stolen, so to speak, from a Tennessee recruiting class two years ago. Taylor is a ball-hawk and has a nose for the football. Gerald Christian came to Florida to the play the “Aaron Hernandez position” at tight end; however, Will Muschamp and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn have moved him to linebacker. The 6-3, 232lb Christian will get his opportunity at linebacker, and I think he will excel there.
The 2011 Florida Gators will still be a young-minded team. However, they do have the young talent and players ready to step into those vacated positions to provide depth and play-making ability.