By Treyaun Webb -- Trinity Christian Academy freshman and 2019-2020 Junior Journalist
The Florida Gators are coming off a great year in 2018. They finished with 10 wins and 3 losses and capped it off with a dominating Peach Bowl win against highly-touted Michigan. This year, the Gators are back -- better than ever -- and with a running game that is going to turn some heads.
The Gators' running game is going to be a well-oiled machine. They have three great running backs who could go anywhere in the SEC and start. It all starts with senior Lamicheal Perine, who led the Gators in rushing last year. He split carries with Jordan Scarlett, who graduated and was drafted by the Carolina Panthers in the fifth round. Perine ran for 800 yards. He was also named to the all SEC 2nd team per ESPN. Malik Davis, a redshirt sophomore, also showed big play ability last year, but his season was cut short due to injury. Due to Davis’s injury, Daemon Peirce had to step in and add that physical presence as a ball carrier. All three backs are destined to have a big year this year, so be on the lookout for them throughout the season.
KEY RETURNING PLAYERS
The Gators also have key returning players. Kadarius Toney, a.k.a Mr. Electric, is the fastest player on the Gators’ roster. He can score anytime he touches the ball. Marco Wilson, the cornerback from South Florida, started as a true freshman in 2017. His sophomore season was cut short due to injury, but expect him to be an impact player every Saturday. As for C.J. Henderson, turn on the tape; he is special, a projected first-round draft pick according to NFL mock drafts. The 6’1, 205-pound junior is looking to shutdown opponents' receivers. Felipe Franks is looking in mid-season form after his three-touchdown show in the spring game. Expect him to put up big numbers this season with his deep and talented wide receiver core.
When a team has future first-round draft picks at both corners and an elite safety who started as a true freshman, the coach would be confident to run man. It is going to be difficult for the opposition to throw the ball against this Gator defense. Marco Wilson, brother of Quincy Wilson, former Gator great and current cornerback for the Colts, is just as good as Henderson, maybe even better. I predict him to make many interceptions this season; that’s just how good he is. At safety, Florida has Trey Dean, who started as a true freshman last year after Wilson went down. Expect him to make plays against all Gator opponents from his safety position.
VETERAN QB AND RECEIVERS
Felipe Franks threw for over 2,000 yards last year. Expect him to make plays with his arm and legs for the Gators again in 2019. The wide receiver core is deeper than ever. Between Tyree Cleveland, Freddie Swain, Jacob Copeland, Josh Hammond, Trevon Grimes, and Toney, opposing defenses may not know whom to guard. Remember: Cleveland had the game-winning catch against Tennessee in 2017. Expect each receiver to have a significant role throughout 2019.