Saturday against Appalachian State is your last chance to see Florida's seniors play in The Swamp, and while this year's class isn't as star-studded as in years past, there are a few big names departing and some others who never quite met the expectations they arrived with.
Here's a list of the main contributors from the senior class. Let me know who you'll miss the most (I made some package deals so it'd be more fun).
SS Ahmad Black
As safeties coach Chuck Heater said Wednesday, Black was a bit of an afterthought in the 2007 recruiting class. But he's played like a five-star.
2010 has been a disappointing year for just about every Florida player, but Black is one of the few Gators you can watch every week and expect a solid performance. He rarely makes mistakes, seems to slip past blockers without any trouble at all and almost always wraps up on tackles.
Urban Meyer once said that no matter what happens, Black is always in football position, joking that you could throw him and he'd land in an athletic stance: "He's like a cat." That's easy to see from his play, and Heater said an NFL scout told him this week that Black is the best tackler he's seen in college this season.
He leads the Gators with 93 tackles, including 63 solo and 10 for loss. Jelani Jenkins is second at 60. That's equal parts condemning of UF's defense and a great achievement for Black. And he's always had a knack for making big plays, most notably the interception against Oklahoma in the BCS Championship (pictured).
If not for Black, I'd say Henry is the best player on the team. For real. Henry leads the nation in punting average at 47.44 yards per, and especially for a special teams-obsessed coach like Meyer, he's a big deal.
Think about how many games you've watched where a punter gets blocked or shanks one and the game turns on the play. That almost never happens with Henry. Obviously his field goal skills are lacking at times, but he did hit the game-winner against Georgia, and that isn't his job anyway.
You may not think much of it now, but you'll notice his absence when he's gone. Hopefully Meyer lets Henry (a high school QB) unleash one against Appalachian State. You know they'll have to punt a few times.
C Mike Pouncey
Y'all probably have some mixed feelings on this one. Pouncey is clearly one of the team's biggest leaders and best players, just not at his new position. He sums up this team to me: he's good, he's just not good this year and no one will admit it. Offensive coordinator Steve Addazio gets offended anytime Mike is criticized, and he said this week that Pouncey would be a top-10 pick in the NFL Draft.
Unfortunately, his awful snapping in the season opener will probably be the lasting image of his play in 2010, but think back to the last couple years and remember the good times. He was an excellent guard and even played on the defensive line as a freshman. He and his brother Maurkice should stand as two of the best linemen in school history, and their personalities made them fan favorites.
The Package Deals
DEs Justin Trattou and Duke Lemmens
Trattou didn't quite meet expectations this season, but he had a good career at UF. As a backup to Carlos Dunlap and Jermaine Cunningham, he was stellar, and he played a big role in the Gators' 3-3-5 Joker defense. But Trattou was supposed to be the stud on this year's team and the main pass-rushing force. Instead: two sacks and zero QB hurries.
Lemmens is the gritty veteran who hoped to burst onto the scene this year. He played well as a hybrid linebacker in the Gators' heavy package defense, but he hasn't exactly wowed anyone either: four sacks, five QB hurries. The idea of this long-haired tandem harrassing quarterbacks and celebrating is a fun one, but it never really came true.
RB Emmanuel Moody and WR Carl Moore
We'll call this the high-hopes, low output crew. Both transferred to UF amidst much fanfare, as Moody was supposed to be the big back the Gators needed and Moore was to provide freakish athleticism on the outside. Instead, both have been plagued by injuries and only shown spurts of their potential.
Moody flashed a tough running style at times in 2009 and Moore found a niche as an incredibly reliable third-down target this year, but both will leave Gainesville with a lot of unfinished business left behind.
LBs A.J. Jones, Brandon Hicks and Lorenzo Edwards
Jones was a key player for a few seasons, and Hicks and Edwards never really broke out. Hicks has always been solid, but he and Jones didn't do anything jaw-dropping this season and Edwards' career pretty much amounted to this year. Hicks and Edwards are two guys who would have benefitted a lot from a redshirt, and it's hard to believe they never got one. Another year and I think they could have been special players. That's the catch-22 of succeeding as a freshman on special teams. The coaches like you, but you lose a year.
OLs Carl Johnson, Marcus Gilbert and Maurice Hurt
Ouch. That's 995 pounds of redshirt senior walking out the door in addition to Pouncey. Johnson and Gilbert both had solid careers, and Hurt was always a good, versatile fill-in. The line has been far from the stellar unit that was expected coming into the year, but I can't imagine it getting any better with all these departures.
DTs Terron Sanders, Lawrence Marsh and Brandon Antwine
Yikes again. These three have all been reliable (when healthy) and losing all three will be tough, especially if Jaye Howard jumps to the NFL, which supposedly is on the table. If that happens, it'll be up to Omar Hunter, Sharrif Floyd and Dominique Easley to hold down the fort inside in 2011. Hunter is good, Floyd has looked fine when he's played, but the transfer rumors around Easley are a cause for concern.
Meyer said Easley--who didn't travel with the team to Vanderbilt for unspecified disciplinary reasons--is eligible to play this weekend, and they should probably get him some experience since he'll have to play next year.
Not a senior, but this is probably it. Jenkins will be one of the top-rated corners entering the NFL Draft, and the Pahokee native will probably follow in Joe Haden's footsteps if it looks like he'll be a first-round pick.
If you're going to the game Saturday, take a good, long look at Jenkins, because I doubt you'll see him take the field at The Swamp again.
Anyway, all these goodbyes are a downer. Here's a fun video that pretty much sums up all you need to know about Appalachian State: