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- Evaluating the Class of 2022
The Florida Gators are preparing for year two under Billy Napier with plenty of questions to be answered after a disappointing 6-7 2022 season. The Gators will begin preparations for 2023 with spring practice, which kicks off on March 4. In anticipation, Inside the Gators takes a look at every position; who’s returning, what needs to be proven, and more.
Up today is the offensive line.
- Kingsley Eguakun (Center)
- Knijeah Harris (Center/Guard)
- Jake Slaughter (Center/Guard)
- Richie Leonard IV (Center/Guard)
- Christian Williams (Guard)
- Micah Mazzccua (Guard)
- Roderick Kearney (Guard)
- Jalen Farmer (Guard)
- David Conner (Tackle)
- Jordan Herman (Tackle)
- Austin Barber (Tackle)
- Dameion George Jr. (Tackle)
- Kiyaunta Goodwin (Tackle)
- Bryce Lovett (Tackle)
- Riley Simonds (Guard)
- Mark Pitts (Walk-on)
Out this spring
- Kamryn Waites (season-long Achilles injury)
Arriving this summer
- Caden Jones
- O’Cyrus Torrence (Declared for NFL)
- Richard Gouraige (Graduation)
- Ethan White (Transfer to USC)
- Michael Tarquin (Transfer to USC)
- Yousef Mugharbil (Transfer to Colorado)
- Joshua Braun (Transfer to Arkansas)
- Will Harrod (Graduated)
Key Question: How does Florida make up losing four starters from last season?
Florida was almost guaranteed to lose two offensive linemen with Richard Gouraige graduating and O’Cyrus Torrence having major NFL hype, but losing two starters in Ethan White and Michael Tarquin, along with Joshua Braun’s midseason departure were surprises. Florida returns two players with extensive experience in Kingsley Eguakun and Austin Barber and a third with in-game experience in Richie Leonard IV, but from there, question marks arise.
To fill holes, Napier brought in three early enrollee freshmen in Roderick Kearney, Knijeah Harris and Bryce Lovett and three transfers in Micah Mazzccua, Kiyaunta Goodwin and Dameion George. Needless to say, the bodies to fill holes are there, but as far as who will play where is up in the air.
Bonus Question: Where do the freshmen fit?
Napier has shown that he isn’t afraid to play freshmen right away, no matter how many veterans are in the room. With multiple starting positions open, can Kearney, Harris or Lovett push for playing time early? Barber will take on tackle spot and Mazzccua will likely take a guard spot. Eguakun will likely still be the center, leaving a tackle and guard spot open. Can the three push the transfers for playing time, and if not, how much will they fit in the rotation? Spring will be an early indication of Napier’s, Rob Sale’s and Darnell Stapleton’s plans for the three.
Something to Prove: Micah Mazzccua
Already dubbed as the next O’Cyrus Torrence, the Baylor transfer will fill the hole left by his predecessor, who departed early for the NFL. Mazzcua ranked as one of the top guards in the country in his time with the Bears, and with preseason hype, will have a lot to prove as the new face of the Gators’ offensive line.
He could surprise: Damieon George Jr.
The Alabama transfer makes his way to Gainesville after inconsistent play with the Crimson Tide. After starting the final three regular-season games in 2021, he proceeded to play minimally in 2022. Simply put, his tenure ended with him being benched. That being said, a change of scenery could be exactly what George Jr. needs as he looks to battle Kiyaunta Goodwin and a few others for the tackle spot opposite of Barber before summer.
Keep an eye out for: Richie Leonard IV
After spending most of the last two seasons as a depth piece and the unofficial “seventh man” of the Gators’ offensive line last season, Leonard IV steps into spring likely starting at the guard spot opposite of Mazzccua. With all the transfers and early enrollees, don’t overlook Leonard IV, who can play either guard spot or center. Once again, spring will be an early indication of where the staff want Leonard IV to play and where he sits on the depth chart going into the summer.