20/23 for 2023: Florida needs at the very least a repeat type of season from Johnson

20/23 for 2023

by Inside the Gators Staff
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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. 

Part IPart IIPart IIIPart IVPart V
Part VIPart VII


No. 6-MONTRELL JOHNSON (29-points)

  • Position: Running Back
  • Class: Junior
  • Size: 5-foot-11, 217-pounds

Cam’s Comment: The veteran of Florida’s now three-headed Bayou backfield, this very well could be Johnson’s final season with the Gators. There’s not much to say about him in my eyes as we know what he can do and there’s plenty of well-backed confidence in him. Really, the only question is how the rotation and number of carries will work with the loss of Anthony Richardson and the addition of Cam Carroll. That being said, I wouldn’t be surprised if he finds a way to hit the 1,000-yard mark while splitting carries before he heads off to the NFL. (Voted No. 5)

On the Mark: If you were under the impression that what Johnson did at Louisiana was a mirage, stat padding against inferior competition, his production last year (155-carries for 841-yards and 10 touchdowns) should have erased those doubts. If Graham Mertz is as advertised, Florida will have to rely heavily on its run game, and for it to find success, it will need this part of its two-headed monster to put up numbers that should have him under consideration for the postseason All-SEC team. (Voted No. 8)

No. 5-JASON MARSHALL (32-points)

  • Position: Cornerback
  • Class: Junior
  • Size: 6-foot-1, 203-pounds

Cam’s Comment: To say he’ll be crucial to the Gators’ defensive success is an understatement in my eyes. Marshall showed a lot of good tendencies last season despite being on a struggling defense. Not to mention, he’ll be one of the veterans of a relatively young group. Now that he’s a junior, and with an opportunity to head off to the NFL next season, his experience and production is needed to help improve the Gators’ defense in year one under Austin Armstrong. I would like to see more interceptions out of him (only two in two years), but if he can force quarterbacks to throw it to the other side of the field, he’ll be doing his job tremendously. (Voted No. 6)

On the Mark: As far as the play of the secondary, it all begins and ends with Marshall Jr. If he can be counted on in man coverage to take away a receiver, it will allow Florida to roll their coverage or even double up to perhaps cover a weaker link. If Marshall Jr. isn’t able to do that, it could be another long season for the defense. (Voted No. 5)


No. 6-JA’KEEM JACKSON (35-points)

  • Position: Cornerback
  • Class: Freshman
  • Size: 6-foot-1, 181-pounds

Cam’s Comment: Jackson got early reps in the spring due to a few injuries, and it seems as if he’ll be in the corner rotation early. However, with Jason Marshall Jr. in the room and Devin Moore and Jalen Kimber healthy, I expect Jackson to be a rotational piece as it will be hard to keep him off the field with his tremendous speed (reported 10.9 second 100-meter dash), length (6 feet 1 inch) and good on-ball skills. (Voted No. 8)

On the Mark: In most cases how much a true freshman contributes in order to avoid a redshirt is dependant as much on the health status and ability of others at his position as it is on his own ability. When it comes to Jackson, no matter what happens with other cornerbacks, he should play a key role in the two-deep cornerback rotation. (Voted No. 5)

No. 5-ANDY JEAN (37-points)

  • Position: Receiver
  • Class: Freshman
  • Size: 6-foot-1, 198-pounds

Cam’s Comment:  It didn’t take long for Jean to become a fan-favorite after an impressive spring performance where he consistently showed blazing speed, twitchy route running, and strong hands. With the questions surrounding the receiver room and an immediate need for speed alongside Ricky Pearsall, I wouldn’t be surprised in the least bit if Jean finds a way to be a starter early in the season. He’ll be special and crucial to the Gators’ offensive air attack in years to come. (Voted No. 5)

On the Mark: Heading into fall camp, this is the lone Class of 2023 signee who we are looking at who could actually end up legitimately fighting for a starting position. Part of that is due to his ability, and part of that is due to an underwhelming group of Florida receivers. (Voted No. 6)

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