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With the start of spring practice just around the corner, GatorBait.net begins a series of updates inspecting what the Gator Nation should be looking for as the Florida football team attempts to defend their 2008 National Championship. Up first is a look at five players who have been on the field for the Gators in the past with a limited degree of success, but will have a chance to make their mark over 15 spring practices.
Two years ago, Florida received solid contributions from first-year starters such as Tim Tebow, A.J. Jones and Jason Watkins.
Last year, players such as Carlos Dunlap, Ahmad Black and Terron Sanders rose from part time players to starting status based somewhat on solid springs.
Who will it be this time around? Here's a look at five Gators that could emerge and step to the forefront this spring.
The players are listed alphabetically:
RECAPPING LAST SPRING'S FIVE TO THE FOREFRONT
Torrey Davis: Last year he was only able to attend every other practice due to academic difficulties. That level of uncertainty followed him throughout the fall and into the season. His availability for this spring is also in question.
Jamar Hornsby: Without a doubt he was one of the top defensive performers on the team last spring. He was well on his way to solidifying his spot on the two-deep depth chart when he was booted from the squad after his arrest on credit card fraud charges.
Lawrence Marsh: Marsh had a solid, yet unspectacular spring last year as he adjusted to new defensive line coach Dan McCarney's way of doing things. After a rough start, a solid finish resulted in his securing a starting spot opposite Terron Sanders.
Jonathan Phillips: Not only was he able to hold off incoming freshman Caleb Sturgis for the starting job, he was able to use the experience he gained over the 15 practices to put himself in a position to contend for the Lou Groza award. He may actually be back for a chance to win the award in 2009 if he receives an extra year of eligibility.
Mon Williams: Williams was never able to return from a knee injury to become a factor for the Gators. He had one or two solid practices last spring, but he wasn't a factor come the fall and decided to transfer.