20/23 for 2023: Will Wilson live up to five-star status

20/23 for 2023

by Inside the Gators Staff

Please Read: Welcome to the new-look Inside the Gators

The summer is flying by and the Florida Gators 2023 campaign is approaching quickly. As the players and coaches prepare for their August 31 kickoff against Utah, here at Inside the Gators we take stock of the roster to break down our list of “20/23” players for the 2023 season.

It will go like this: the 20 most valuable returning players and then the 23 most valuable incoming players who have yet to appear for the Gators. These are not necessarily the best players but the most valuable in relation to the team having a successful 2023 season.

Cam Parker and Mark Wheeler made their lists, combined them, and here’s how the final tally worked out (points in parenthesis).

This 10-part series will take a look at two returning players along with two new players in each edition. 


No. 18-DESMOND WATSON (6-points)

  • Position: Defensive Tackle
  • Class: Junior
  • Size: 6-foot-5, 449-pounds

Cam’s Comment (#15): He broke the internet nearly every time he stepped on the field, which was a lot considering the lack of depth last season. Now, an influx of newcomers means more depth on the defensive line. The big thing, once again, will be if he can continue to control his weight while developing. He took big steps in his development in 2022, and now that he won’t have to be on the field as much as he was last season, I expect him to continue taking steps forward in a more abbreviated role. (Voted No. 15)

On the Mark: If your judgment of him is based strictly on his officially listed weight on Gatorzone, that might be a bit of a narrow view. Yes, he went from losing weight under Nick Savage to gaining weight under the new regime but seeing him in person over the spring, I personally thought that he looked in better shape than his weight would indicate and that he was moving much better. The problem here is, the two transfers – Cam’Ron Jackson and Caleb Banks – both had better springs and will all but certainly see the field ahead of him this season. That is likely attributed to his weight. The truth of the matter is, until he works his way under 400-pounds, his weight will continue to overshadow what could otherwise be a terrific career. He had some highlight-type moments last year, and then he had some snaps where someone his size was handled too easily with one-on-one blocking. Being in better shape would equate to more stamina, which would lead to a much better product. He has the chance to be a top-end tackle. (Voted: Unranked)

No. 17-KAMARI WILSON (9-points)

  • Position: Safety
  • Class: Sophomore
  • Size: 6-foot, 207-pounds

Cam’s Comment: It’s critical he takes a big step forward after a lackluster 2022 season. Although this season will be important for his development, he’s ranked a bit low due to the transfer addition of RJ Moten, who adds more depth and experience. Additionally, our spring insider praised Jordan Castell‘s performance this spring. The insider also ranked Wilson as the biggest disappointment of spring. This lowers Wilson’s importance in my eyes, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’ll likely start and will be important. (Voted: No. 16)

On the Mark: The former five-star had an up-and-down first season, which isn’t completely unexpected of a true freshman being thrown into the SEC fire. Other than quarterback, from a mental standpoint, safety might be the hardest position to step into – and it showed. Build, and skill set wise, though a little shorter, he kind of reminds me some of Amari Burney, who didn’t find his comfort zone until he was moved closer to the line, where while he struggled as a safety in coverage, he was a better-than-average linebacker in against the pass. Our Spring Practice Insider told us that Wilson disappointed behind-the-scenes in coverage over the spring as well. (Voted: No. 17)


No. 20-DEUCE SPURLOCK (6-points)

  • Position: Linebacker
  • Class: Freshman
  • Size: 6-foot, 225-pounds

Cam’s Comment: The positive with Spurlock is a strong spring game performance and the fact that he’s only a redshirt freshman. That being said, with the addition of Teradja Mitchell and Shemar James, Scooby Williams, and Derek Wingo all back, I would expect Spurlock to be a depth piece in his first season with the Gators. (Voted No. 18)

On the Mark: Up until the spring game, he really didn’t show much over the practice sessions, especially the portions open to the media. Having said that, he is still young and unless there’s a rash of injuries, I wouldn’t expect him to be called upon to see much action during the 2023 season. (Voted: Unranked)

No. 19-SHARIF DENSON (9-points)

  • Position: Defensive Back
  • Class: Freshman
  • Size: 5-foot-11, 185-pounds

Cam’s Comment:  I don’t think Denson will have an absolutely critical role on the defense, at least early in the season. He spent most of the spring practicing at the STAR position, which already returns two veterans in Jadarrius Perkins and Jaydon Hill. That being said, if the Gator defense continues to show signs of struggle, Denson may be thrust into more playing time. (Voted No. 21)

On the Mark: He isn’t going to sit atop the depth chart at any one position, so his value this coming season is in his versatility. Back in February, we had him ranked No. 5 on our Great Eight Signees, but then to wrap up spring, he was tied for 12th of the early entry freshmen in the voting by our Practice Insiders. While, he didn’t have a great spring, and like most freshmen, he still needs to gain some strength and weight, Denson could line up anywhere in the defensive backfield and be able to hold his own. (Voted No. 18)

Related: Reranking the Early Entry Freshmen Post Spring Practice

No. 18-CAM CARROLL (11-points)

  • Position: Running Back
  • Class: Senior
  • Size: 6-foot, 228-pounds

Cam’s Comment: After a two-man running back game last season, the Gators will look to have a three-man Bayou backfield with the addition of Carroll from Tulane. Losing a running quarterback should mean more carries for running backs, and adding a third established back in Caroll should mean more production. I don’t expect Carroll to start or even be the second guy, but a consistent running back to alleviate pressure off of Montrell Johnson and Trevor Etienne is what he can provide. (Voted No. 22)

On the Mark: He looks like he should be a member of the First Player off of the Bus Brigade and it isn’t all show and no game to back it up. We were given reports of him running over several would-be tacklers during scrimmages and the closed portions of practices. If no one is injured ahead of him, I wouldn’t expect him to get a ton of carries, but he should see a handful of carries, especially in short-yardage situations. (Voted No. 15)

Go to discussion...

Related Articles


  1. Fall practice is where things really shake out. The freshmen will be talented but there will be a curve for them to adjust to not being faster or stronger than everyone else. It may take fall practice and half the season before the most talented new players are on the field much while they learn the playbook and their mental processors catch up to the speed of the game at this level. IOW, UF is still in rebuild mode.

Leave a comment

Please log in to your forum account to comment

Community platform by XenForo® © 2010-2022 XenForo Ltd. Style and add-ons by ThemeHouse