Gators that could raise their stock this spring
Florida football is set to start spring ball in less than a month. There are players that are expected to take on more responsibility this season.
Players like Zach Carter, Jacob Copeland, Trevon Grimes, Kadarius Toney, Dameon Pierce, James Houston and Ventrell Miller are all guys we expect to have a heavier load when the season starts in the fall.
However, there are guys lower on the depth chart that could make their case this spring. Who has a chance to improve their stock with a good performance next month?
Gators Territory takes a look:
QB Emory Jones
Emory Jones has a chance to show how far he has come in his third spring at Florida.
As I have said several times this offseason, I expect Kyle Trask to be QB1 when it's all said and done, however, I think we will see more of Jones moving forward.
How comfortable is Jones with the offensive playbook? Has he been able to add the muscle weight he wanted this offseason?
There is no question Jones is the better overall athlete and can cause some havoc with his legs, but the next step is to see how he handles going through his progressions and to see how much of the playbook he has grasped.
Red-shirt freshmen WR Trent Whittemore, Ja'Markis Weston and Dionte Marks
We have heard a lot about the redshirt freshmen wide receivers the last three months. With Van Jefferson, Freddie Swain, Josh Hammond, and Tyrie Cleveland all gone, these three underclassmen have an opportunity to fight for playing time.
Dan Mullen said Ja'Markis Weston was the most underrated recruit in his class during his signing day press conference, while Whittemore has received glowing reviews from the departing receivers. Who will move up the chart?
TE Keon Zipperer
We all know what Kyle Pitts can do but can Keon Zipperer be the answer to the tight end unit's blocking problems?
Zipperer, like Pitts, will be a mismatch problem in the passing game, however, he also showed he had some good instincts as a blocker during his first year as a Gator.
OL Michael Tarquin
There is no question the offensive line is going to have a lot of eyes on it this spring. GT's Lauren Reynolds touched on the fact that Josh Braun is one of the new Gators to watch this spring on Thursday.
In my opinion, if Braun shows that he is ready to step up in his first season then Florida could realistically move Richard Gouraige to left, Stone Forsythe to right, while placing both Ethan White and Braun at guard with Brett Heggie at center. However, that could be asking a lot from a freshman.
Jean Delance struggled at right tackle in 2019, so Michael Tarquin could be a lineman that moves up the depth chart this spring - we currently project him and Delance at right tackle in our pre-spring depth chart. But can Tarquin leap frog Delance?
Related Story: Projecting spring practice offensive depth chart.
Rush End/Buck Brenton Cox
Brenton Cox is eligible and it's hard not to see the former five-star defender and Georgia transfer moving up the depth chart.
Cox, along with Jeremiah Moon, have a strong case to take over Jonathan Greenard's spot at BUCK. Todd Grantham has not been shy of moving Moon around as well, which means Cox could easily find himself the starter at the position.
This group has plenty of talent and it will be fun to see the position battle occur this spring.
DT Tedarrell Slaton and Elijah Conliffe
I am combining these two together because they have a similar story.
Coming into last season, the question surrounding both Slaton and Conliffe focused on whether or not the defensive linemen can translate good practices to good game day performances.
Last season Conliffe suffered .a season-ending injury during fall camp and was forced to sit out, while Slaton took a while to settle.
The South Florida native did finally start to perform at a higher level towards the end of the season. Can Slaton continue on that trajectory this spring?
Can Conliffe start his transformation to a game day star this spring/offseason?
LB Tyron Hopper
Tyron Hopper is another redshirt freshman to watch come this spring. With veteran linebacker David Reese gone and Amari Burney expected to see more time at STAR, Ventrell Miller and James Houston are going to be the veterans of the group.
Hopper, however, has a chance to make some waves. His skillset is similar to Burney, with both athletes playing defensive back in high school. The Georgia native's frame is a little leaner but he does pack some speed.
Did Hopper add some muscle weight to his frame this offseason? Will he slot behind Houston?
RELATED STORY: Projecting the defensive depth chart
CB Chester Kimbrough
Kimbrough should find himself backing up Amari Burney at STAR heading into spring.
The redshirt freshman is a versatile defender that can line up at both cornerback and nickel, however, with the Gators' depth concern at the position, we can see Kimbrough making more of an impact at STAR.