Getting to Know: Sharif Denson

Jan 8, 2023 | 1 comment

One of the integral playmakers in Florida’s attempt at bringing back DBU to the 352.

Sharif Denson leaves Jacksonville’s Bartram Trail High School in the glory of UA All-American honors as a part of Billy Napier’s first full cycle in what the program has dubbed a dream team class of 2023.

Inside the Gators got to know the man under the helmet in this edition of Getting to Know


What’s so special about the new Florida staff?
Just the camaraderie that they had as a complete unit. They just made it you feel like family when you were at the facility and just the level of detail that all of them have together is just undefeated to me.

What stood out to you about the new facility?
Everything is in one spot. Just the total upgrade from the last facility to the current is just night and day.

Patrick Toney and Corey Raymond have been hailed as some of the premier recruiters at the defensive back position. How big was their role in getting your signature?
“Huge, huge. PT (Toney) probably played a little bigger role than Corey Raymond, but they definitely played pivotal roles getting me to UF.”

How did it feel to see so many fellow Gators at the UA All-American Bowl?
“It was good. Just let me know that I made the right decision because a lot of people are coming with me, have a lot of help. Great players want to play with other great players.

Did it feel any different? Were you guys a unit like the “Gator boys?”
“Yeah, definitely. You can definitely feel us in the game. Between me, Kelby (Collins), (Jordan) Castell, Ja’Keem (Jackson), you could feel everybody out there.

You’ve got Dijon Johnson, Jordan Castell, Bryce Thorton, and Ja’ Keem Jackson in your secondary class. Who are you looking forward to playing with the most?
In high school, I never really had safety help, we always played a cover zero scheme. So, I’m excited to have an athletic, rangy guy with ball skills behind me. Jordan (Castell) is definitely a guy I’m excited to play alongside. Also, Will Norman, he made plays at the UA game. So, I know he’s a disruptive pass rusher. I’m excited about that.

You visited for the UF – LSU Game. What stuck with you from that day?
Just the environment. I know what the Swamp is but it’s just different every time you go there. Fans just welcome you in.”

Tre’Vez Johnson was a part of your alma mater in Bartram Trail, but has transferred from Florida, did he play a role in your recruitment?
Yeah, for sure. That was always just like a safety net for me. So, like I know when I get to UF I’d have somebody that has my best interest at heart, somehow who’d just look after me and be a vet for me because we also play the same position.”

Miami and Alabama were in the running for your signature. What stood out to you from them?
I mean UM, I liked coach (Jahmile)Addae he was a great coach, there’s no shortage of great coaches out there. I like him for sure and Alabama…I mean it’s Alabama. You can’t really go wrong with going there. But you have to go somewhere where you’re needed or wanted. I didn’t know if that was the place for me.

Florida has shown a willingness to play young talent in the Napier era. What’re your thoughts heading into spring practice and competition?
Playing is great, like I would really love to play. But I just want to get there and work hard every day.”

Both of your parents went to Florida. Did that play any part in your decision?
“I mean it wasn’t pivotal, but it was just a little add-on.”

What does your ideal first year at Florida look like?
If I had to be a starter day one that would be cool. But I just want to have meaningful snaps in every game. Like 5-10 snaps where it’s dime and I’m about to be on the field, where it’s third and 15, plays like that. Plays where I can make a play on the field. But I don’t have to be needed.”

Are there any receivers you look forward to play against in the SEC or at Florida specifically?
It was going to be Kayshon Boutte but he declared for the draft. So, I guess all of them.”


What’s your favorite quality in a teammate?
“A willingness to put the pride aside and do what’s best for the team.”

What are three things on your bucket list?
Well, I want to be wealthy for sure. I want to make it to the NFL. I want to be able to retire my people.”

What’s your favorite movie of all time?

What’re you listening to before games?
Real Boston Richey.”

What are the Gator Walk outfits going to look like?
It’s going to start with the feet. I’m going to have some designers on for sure. Then, whatever color goes into those is going to go into the suit or whatever else I have on.”

If you could spend an entire day with anyone in history who would that be?
Deion Sanders. The younger Deion. The one where he walked in the room, and everybody turned their head. I would want him to drop some notes on me, see what I could learn from him. Just about how to carry yourself and still be that guy. How to have confidence at all times.”

What’s your first purchase as an NFL draftee?
“A house.”

What’s something you wish more people knew about you?
I don’t really have anything, I’m cool. I’m under the radar.”

What’s one change you’d make to Florida gamedays? Blue lights? New Uniform combinations?
I’m ready for that all-black. (Billy) Napier said we were going to wear it in 2023. So, I’m ready for that.”

Who are you most excited to meet in the locker room?
I already met him, Jason Marshall. I’m just excited to work next to him, put the grind in with him. I know he’s a special guy.”

Leave a message for your future self.
Just continue to work man, don’t let the outside noise get into your head. Don’t let the Twitter talk get to you. Just focus on daily deposits, everything else is going to take care of itself.”

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