It’s finally game week for the Florida Gators as they get set to take on the Idaho Vandals in their opening game on Saturday.

Several decisions loom for head coach Will Muschamp at key positions on the depth chart, including cornerback and safety, backup quarterback and kicker. With the depth chart expected out sometime tomorrow, we take a look at who’s competing for these spots and make our prediction on who will win out in the competitions.


There’s no debate about one side of the secondary. Vernon Hargreaves will be the Gators’ No. 1 cornerback, but the discussion for who will start opposite him is still very much up in the air. The obvious candidates are Brian Poole, JC Jackson, Jalen Tabor, Quincy Wilson and Duke Dawson.

Unfortunately for the Gators, none of these candidates have been consistent enough to be the outright starter prior to this point. Muschamp has said that a guy like Poole will see time at both cornerback and nickelback, which will help him stay on the field longer. Poole, a junior, is the veteran of the group. He started at six games last year at the nickel position, but reports out of camp suggest that he’s excelled as a cornerback in camp so far. I think his experience will give him the edge at the start of the season, but be on the lookout for good all-around corners like Tabor and Dawson. They should start the season as the primary backups and could push for even more playing time as the season progresses.

Prediction: Brian Poole


Much like the one cornerback spot, there is also only one safety spot up for grabs. Muschamp has already declared sophomore Keanu Neal as one of the starting safeties. Beyond him, the opposite safety spot continues to be a heated competition. Jabari Gorman, Marcus Maye, Marcell Harris and Nick Washington all have a legitimate shot to win the starting job.

I believe Gorman holds the advantage here. He’s a senior and the Gators’ secondary will be rather young already. Gorman has the starting experience and has proved to be a quality player when he’s on the field. It’s hard to deny the talent of guys like Maye, Harris and Washington. They are all big, physical safeties while Gorman the smaller of the four. But like Poole in the cornerback position, experience wins out here.

Despite not winning the starting job, expect the other three candidates to have plenty of opportunity to showcase their talent. Maye and Gorman can play nickel in addition to the safety spot, so if Gorman plays at nickel some, the trio of younger guys will get their shot. Dawson is also double-training at corner and safety, so he is another guy that may see playing time at both positions.

Prediction: Jabari Gorman

Backup Quarterback

The only question at quarterback heading into the season is who will backup Jeff Driskel? The Gators face an interesting predicament here. Although sophomore Skyler Mornhinweg is in the mix, it appears two true freshmen – Will Grier and Treon Harris – are competing for the No. 2 spot.

Grier and Harris differ in their playing styles. Grier is a gun-slinger who racked up nearly 5,000 yards passing and led the nation with 77 passing touchdowns as a high school senior. He’s been enrolled at Florida since January, so he’s had more time to learn and digest the playbook. Harris, on the other hand, has surprised everyone. He’s been arguably the biggest standout in camp and his dual-threat capabilities make him that much more valuable.

“I feel like a lot of quarterbacks coming in, a lot of them don’t have that ‘it’ factor, and I feel like Treon has it,” sixth-year senior Andre Debose said about the true freshman. “He’s a great player. I feel like he has that poise. He doesn’t get too rattled when he makes bad plays, and you need that at the quarterback position. He’s looking real good.”

For right now, Harris would give the Gators more flexibility on offense. Grier isn’t as good of a runner, therefore, Harris’ ability to do both well outweighs his lack of experience when compared to Grier. Muschamp has come out and said that whoever wins the backup quarterback position will see playing time against Idaho as early as the second quarter. Both Harris and Grier will be outstanding quarterbacks, but I think Harris wins the backup role and Grier redshirts.

Prediction: Treon Harris


Vying for the starting kicker role is last year’s stater Austin Hardin, former walk-on Frankie Velez and Brooks Abbot. Velez was just awarded a full scholarship by Muschamp last week, but I would expect Hardin to retain his starting job.

Although Hardin struggled last year – hitting only four of 12 field goals – he’s got a very strong leg. Now with a year of experience, Hardin should be more adjusted to the college game. His leg gives him the edge over Velez, but if he continues to struggle, I would expect Muschamp to make the switch sooner rather than later.

Prediction: Austin Hardin