GAINESVILLE -- With a depleted roster, a number true freshmen will play key roles for the Florida Gators this season.
UF coach Jim McElwain hasn’t been shy embracing the team’s youth movement, but the new coach also insists he won’t simply burn a redshirt season for limited snaps.
“My deal is if we’re going to play them, they’re going to play,” he said.
“Whether it’s significant on every single special teams and in certain series on defense and offense. I think you can probably look at the depth or just the numbers at the position, there will be a lot of young guys probably playing and kind of philosophically if they’re ready and can help the football team and play valuable reps they’re going to play. If they’re not and need some seasoning then we’ll go ahead and redshirt [them].”
Florida scrimmaged for the first time this preseason on Friday, and McElwain said he and the staff will begin honing the depth chart after its second scrimmage next week.
“After the second scrimmage you’re usually able to know which guys kind of work in,” he said.
“It really comes down to their value on special teams. Moving forward, that’s how you make a roster.”
Based on watching practice and talking to coaches/players, here’s a breakdown of where the 2015 class stands with three weeks before the team's Sept. 5 opener.
DEFINITES TO PLAY
Martez Ivey, offensive tackle
Jordan Scarlett, tailback
CeCe Jefferson, defensive end
Antonio Callaway, receiver
Jordan Cronkite, tailback
Rayshad Jackson, linebacker
Tyler Jordan, center/guard
***** Ivey, Jefferson and Scarlett will all see significant snaps, while Callaway, Cronkite and Jordan have already worked their way into their prospective positional rotations. Jackson should be a special teams stud.
PROBABLES TO PLAY
Fred Johnson, offensive tackle
Nick Buchanan, offensive tackle
Chris Williamson, cornerback
***** Both offensive linemen are currently taking reps with the second-unit. Williamson won’t see much PT at cornerback but should be another special teams contributor.
ON THE FENCE
T.J. McCoy, center/guard
Jabari Zuniga, defensive end
Dylan Johnson, safety
Kalif Jackson, receiver
***** The question here is opportunity. McCoy has impressed in camp, but Jordan, Johnson and Buchanan have all been better. Zuniga could play, too, but Florida probably doesn’t need him right now. Johnson and Jackson are wild cards candidates for special teams snaps.
LIKELY REDSHIRT CANDIDATES
Brandon Sandifer, offensive guard
Andrew Ivie, defensive tackle
Camrin Knight, tight end
Richerd Desir-Jones, defensive tackle
Keivonnis Davis, defensive end
Luke Ancrum, defensive end
***** There's potential with this group, but also lots of development needed.
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