20/23 for 2023: Hill will be counted on to perform at a high level

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. 16-JAYDON HILL (9-points)

  • Position: Star
  • Class: Junior
  • Size: 6-foot, 191-pounds

Cam’s Comment: After missing all of 2021 and the first quarter of the 2022 season, Hill is ready to go for what should be his final season. He split time in the spring at the STAR position and safety spot, but it seems like he’ll focus at STAR with Jadarrius Perkins. Entering the season with a new defensive coordinator and a plethora of young defensive backs, Hill will need to provide veteran leadership. I don’t expect a spectacular stat line for him, but his presence, and the fact that he’s completely healthy, should mean a strong season for Hill. (Voted No. 19)

On the Mark: Before the Missouri game last season he had been a solid, but unspectacular member of Florida’s secondary. That changed with his two-pick performance against the Tigers, and he went on to start every game for the rest of the season – rivaling Jason Marshall Jr. as the best player in the Gators’ defensive backfield. A strong 2023 season could lead to him hearing hs name called in next April’s NFL Draft.  (Voted No. 15)

No. 15-CALEB DOUGLAS (10-points)

  • Position: Receiver
  • Class: Sophomore
  • Size: 6-foot-3, 203-pounds

Cam’s Comment: Last season had its ups and downs for Douglas, who caught two touchdowns in his first three catches, but then struggled with drops from there. If he can improve his hands, he can be a starter on the outside while Ricky Pearsall plays in the slot. Even if he doesn’t start, likely because the young talent of the 2023 class breaks out, I still expect him to be a consistent contributor in the receiver rotation. (Voted No. 17)

On the Mark: As you would expect from a true freshman, Douglas was a bit unsteady last season. He had the huge 62-yard touchdown catch against Eastern Washington, but then the lasting memory of him heading into the offseason was the terrible drop on Florida’s last drive against Florida State. Had he caught the ball, the Gators would have had a first and goal inside the five. Lat year was a learning experience, this year he will be counted on to perform. (Voted: No. 14)


(TIE) No. 17-TJ SEARCY (12-points)

  • Position: Defensive End
  • Class: Freshman
  • Size: 6-foot-5, 245-pounds

Cam’s Comment: Coming off a strong spring, Searcy seems poised for immediate action in the EDGE rotation. One of our two spring insiders named him one of the three best early enrollees, but did note that it’ll take a full offseason before we will see how special he is. He may not start, especially with Princely Umanmilen, Justus Boone, and Tyreak Sapp in the room, but I definitely expect him to be in the rotation early and often. (Voted No. 17)

On the Mark: When he was still being recruited, I commented that either he wasn’t his listed weight, or he carried 250 pounds about as well as anyone I had ever seen. The truth is it looks like he reported in the 240 range, but has been one of the more impressive early-entry freshmen in workouts. Because he still needs to gain weight and strength, he isn’t ready to be a front-line player, but he should see relief reps. (Voted No. 19 )

(TIE) No. 16-KIYAUNTA GOODWIN (12-points)

  • Position: Running Back
  • Class: Sophomore
  • Size: 6-foot-8, 353-pounds

Cam’s Comment: With the other tackle side locked up by Austin Barber, the Kentucky transfer and former five-star spent spring competing with Damieon George Jr. for the right tackle spot. During spring, it seemed like George Jr. had the edge, and our spring insider indicated that Goodwin won’t likely start this season. However, in my eyes, Goodwin is extremely capable of taking over a starting spot should George Jr., who seems to struggle against speedy edge rushers. (Voted No. 19)

Related: The Inside Scoop – In-depth spring review

On the Mark: Looking at his offer list and ranking out of high school, the talent, and upside is there, but he lost a heads-up spring competition at right tackle with another newcomer, Damieon George Jr., and then Florida added another experienced tackle in Lyndell Hudson Jr. perhaps moving Goodwin even further down the rotation in 2023 (Voted No. 17)

No. 15-RJ MOTEN (18-points)

  • Position: Safety
  • Class: Senior
  • Size: 6-foot, 223-pounds

Cam’s Comment: The NFL departures of Trey Dean III and Rashad Torrence II along with an exodus of transfers means the Gators have no depth and very little experience at safety. Enter Moten, who provides that experience that Miguel Mitchell, Kamari Wilson, and the early enrollees simply do not have. He did miss spring practice as he was still at Michigan, but I wouldn’t be surprised in the least bit if he’s a starter, especially since none of the safeties stood out this spring. (Voted No. 14)

On the Mark: While the name is well known to the Gator Nation because of his father’s contributions to Florida football because he transferred post-spring, we don’t know a whole lot about his strengths and weaknesses or where he fits in on the depth chart. What we do know is that none of UF’s returning safeties should feel comfortable with their play last season, leaving the entire position a question mark and spots up for grabs furing fall camp.  (Voted No. 16 )

Go to discussion...

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  1. We have to have Wilson and Jean pass up Douglas.

    That FSU drop that hit him in the hands is still in my nightmares.

    He had a thing with Kitna but didn't look good with Richardson.
  2. I want to see Hill do well this season. If he can benefit from being coached by Corey Raymond enough to be a starter somewhere in the secondary all season, he'll get a chance at the NFL. He hasn't been lucky, like Trey Dean, he didn't get the best coaching, and then he lost a season and a half to injury and he just keeps fighting back. After this season, he would be a depth piece at UF, this is his chance and he's earned some luck for a change.

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