(Photo courtesy Florida Sports Information)
With the Gators’ bye-week having arrived, now seems like as good a time as there will be to hand out some midterm grades. Here is the team’s two-deep offensive depth chart and a grade for each individual’s season thus far:
Anthony Richardson: C-
This one hurts because the expectations were so high coming into the year, and they got even higher after the Utah game. Since then, though, he’s had one good outing – in a devastating loss to Tennessee.
No, the EWU game does not count.
His highs have been top-five-NFL-draft-level highs, but at the end of the day, he’s thrown more interceptions than touchdowns.
Jalen Kitna: A
He came into the EWU game and played well, completing 8 passes and throwing for a touchdown. He has by all accounts been a great teammate an excited-to-learn type of guy behind Richardson.
While EWU may not have merit for a guy who’s supposed to be an early- first-round NFL draft pick this year, it does for a backup redshirt freshman.
He’s caused no problems whatsoever, and I liked what I saw while he was out there.
Montrell Johnson Jr: A
This guy was destined to overtake Nay’Quan Wright in the depth chart and become the starting back for this team one way or another. You could see what he brings to the table for this team after one game. While he hasn’t been unfathomably great, he’s been Napier’s most reliable option and has put together a very solid season thus far with seven TDs and over 400 yards.
Trevor Etienne: A
My biggest surprise thus far, the true freshman out of Louisiana, has been electric for this team. He’s strong, shifty and an injection pure energy every time he lines up next to Richardson.
Expectations were high coming in purely due to the success of his brother in the NFL, and credit to him for meeting them. He’s given Napier a dynamic 1-2 punch to utilize with him behind MJ.
Dante Zanders: D
An integral part of the running game, but that’s it and for a guy with a decent amount of hype from teammates coming into the season, he’s been pretty underwhelming. Just five catches for 38 yards and without a score on the year. It may be taking a bit more time than he thought to adjust to the offensive side of the ball.
Keon Zipperer: B
The Gators’ TE situation as a whole isn’t particularly one of the team’s strong areas, but Zipperer has been quite good picking up a bit of Zanders’ slack. He had arguably the play of the year, catching the team’s first TD reception of the season in the game against Tennessee. He’s caught 13 balls for 177 yards and that TD thus far.
Justin Shorter: B+
Shorter’s been Richardson’s #1 guy thus far, catching 18 passes for 405 yards and 2 TDs.
Ja’Quavion Fraziars: INC
The 6’4, 212-pound sophomore has yet to see much action this season.
Ricky Pearsall: B
Pearsall’s been more of a 1a to Shorter than a 2. He’s caught 16 balls for 303 yards and 2 TDs. He also had the 76-yard run for a TD against EWU.
Trent Whittemore: C
The redshirt sophomore has tallied 4 catches for 87 yards. When he’s been targeted, he’s made plays; it just doesn’t happen often.
Xzavier Henderson: C
The sophomore out of Miami has seen a lot of volume this season under Napier. He’s caught 27 passes, but has only converted them into 252 yards and 1 TD. He’s a guy that has big YAC potential but just doesn’t seem to catch the ball in open space very often.
Daejon Reynolds: C
He’s brought in just three balls on the season. They’ve resulted in 79 yards, but one was for 54 of the 79 itself.
Richard Gouraige: A
He’s started at left tackle all seven games for an offensive line that’s allowed less than 1 sack per game. Richardson’s got to be glad to have a guy like Gouraige protecting his blind side. He and Austin Barber were players of the week against Missouri.
Kamryn Waites: INC
While he was one of the players of the week against EWU, he hasn’t seen much time outside of that.
Ethan White: B+
White’s starting at LG every game this season. He, like Gouraige, has been crucial for Richardson’s lack of being sacked and the team’s success in the run-game.
Josh Braun: INC
Braun’s final game in the Orange & Blue came in the loss to LSU this past Saturday. He played in just two of the seven games this season and clearly felt he should’ve seen the field more.
Kingsley Eguakun: A
Kingsley’s grade here, as having been the starting C in every game this season, is highly dependent on how the offensive line has performed as a whole. Luckily for him, it’s been really good. Well, I shouldn’t say luckily because he’s been really good. He anchored a line that blocked for 594 total yards and 5 TDs at Tennessee and did not allow a single sack vs. Utah.
As aforementioned, the line has allowed less than a sack a game this season.
Now, part of that is due to the mobility of Richardson. But the line has been good, nonetheless. And he’s at the helm of it.
Jake Slaughter: INC
Slaughter hasn’t seen much action this season, appearing in just 4 games and primarily in a special teams role.
O’Cyrus Torrence: A+
Torrence is arguably the best player on this team. The transfer from Louisiana has been fantastic in his first, and by all expectations last, season with the Gators. He’s projected to be a first-round pick in the 2023 draft.
Richie Leonard IV: A
Leonard’s seen time here and there, having appeared in 6 of the 7 games this season. He’s been a more-than-capable backup for Torrence. Against LSU, the one game Torrence missed this season, Leonard drew the start and was named one of the three offensive players of the game.
Austin Barber: A
Originally designated to back-up Tarquin, Barber was thrust into the starting RT role after Tarquin’s injury vs. Kentucky. He’s started every game since, including when Tarquin returned this past week against LSU. Barber has filled his shoes nicely and has been a big reason for the offensive line’s success. He was a player of the week against both Kentucky and Missouri.
Michael Tarquin: B
He started the first two games of the season before going out with an injury for the next 4. He played well when he did, but backed up Barber in his return vs. LSU. It’s yet to be seen who will draw the start from now on when both Tarquin and Barber are healthy.