Anonymous Player Parting Thoughts: Defensive Breakdown

Jul 25, 2019 | 1 comment

During each off-season Inside the Gators interviews an anonymous departing player in order for him to share his thoughts on an array of topics regarding Florida Gators football.

Since we didn't do any Parting Thoughts Q&A sessions this year, we instead interviewed five departing players and asked more about specific areas and instances rather than a strict look at their time at Florida, highs, lows, games and such.

When you see differing opinions within a question, it is because multiple players can have differing opinions on what they experienced.

In this 10-part interview, no topic was off-limits as we discussed Jim McElwain, the strength and conditioning program, Dan Mullen, player assessments and much more.

As an aside, allowing a player to comment anonymously obviously has its benefits and downside. The goal of this feature is to give our readers an honest and freely expressive look at the Florida football team, but we also acknowledge the nature of anonymous comments and the stigma that can come with them.



Defensive Line

There’s not as much depth this year, but there’s some great returning talent. I’m really excited to see some of the young guys step up here to be lead by the vets.

Adam Shuler

  • He’s strong, cocky, and plays hard. He can be either an end or three technique.
  • Dude was the big surprise for many outside the team. He’s going to have a crazy year.

Jabari Zuniga

  • You talk about being surprised, I can’t believe that he stayed for this season. This is going to be great news for the team. He’s a future first rounder.
  • Outside of [Dameon] Pierce, he is the next most natural football player on the team in terms of just natural ability. He’s got what it takes to make it a great year.

T.J. Slaton

  • I hate to say it, but he doesn't want to put in the work. He probably has the worst attitude of anyone on the team. He has had a few issues with the staff and they sat him out a couple of games last year for off field issues. If he gets it straightened out, he can make a difference.
  • He’s got NFL size. If he can get in better shape, opposing teams wont run up the middle.

Zach Carter

  • He’s one of the ‘in betweeners’. He needs to get some size on him. When he plays hard he makes plays, but he doesn’t do it all the time.
  • Don’t sleep on Zach. He’s shown what he is capable of when he gets after it and he will have a great year with major playing time.

Marlon Dunlap

  • He plays hard when he wants to.
  • Marlon’s a great guy to have in the locker room, but I would be surprised to see him have a lot more success on the field this year.

Luke Ancrum

  • He does a good job filling in when he’s needed. His problem has always been he is the most confrontational player in the locker room, the practice field and the game field. He needs to learn to harness that and use it when he plays.


They get my vote to be the most improved unit. Coach Robinson knows what he is doing and will have these guys ready for a great year.

David Reese II

  • Leader of the defense. Good head on his shoulders and always plays hard. He is the ‘effort’ guy on defense.
  • Especially because of all of the transfers, he is the leader of the linebackers and will be a huge reason why defense will be great. He gets the scheme and helps younger guys. He is another coach on the field. The defense is lost without him.

David Reese

  • I saw that he's hurt. No matter, I saw him as more of a special teams guy.
  • This dude has so much upside. He’s going to have another stud year on special teams. Pay attention to his career because he is going to be special.

Jeremiah Moon

  • He is a long guy that can be utilized in a few spots. Two years ago he was one of the players who weren’t as serious as they needed to be in the weight room. He needed to work on strength and he has.
  • The kind of player every coach wants. He works hard, does what he’s told, and doesn’t complain. It is hard to find many people like him. Watch him make a huge impact this year.

Ventrell Miller

  • This is the hardest hitter of the whole linebacker core. He will take you apart. Plays faster than anyone else at linebacker.
  • A guy who is ready to step up. He will get a lot of reps this year with Houston and make a big impact.

James Houston

  • I don’t have bad feelings toward him, but he was one of the worst at not going to class and making all of us having to run for him. He needs to grow up and be more responsible.
  • Houston is one of the more instinctive linebackers. Coaches moved him to linebacker because he wasn’t doing well when they first put him at defensive end. He’s been a contender ever since.

Amari Burney

  • I don’t know much about him.
  • Not much experience at linebacker, but he could very well play like Vo [Vosean Joseph] did last year. He’s fast and gets to the football.

Lacedrick Brunson

  • He’s probably no more than a special teams player.
  • Do not sleep on Ced. He is quiet, but works hard. He is just as strong and physical as any linebacker. Watch him compete for reps this year.


Marco Wilson

  • One of the leaders on defense. It sucked losing him so early against Kentucky. It forced more inexperienced guys to have to contribute.
  • He is such a positive guy. Everyone loves him and he’s going to have a great bounce-back year.

C.J. Henderson

  • Will be a first round pick. Quiet, but plays hard.
  • Team leader. Doesn’t talk much but does everything right. He is going to lead our defense and probably make some crazy plays along the way. Really excited to watch him this year.

Brad Stewart

  • Fans love those cornerbacks, but he’s more talented than he gets credit for. He’s an explosive kid. Gets along with everyone.
  • Hard worker. That’s really all you need to know about him.

Shawn Davis

  • Since he’s a smaller, undersized player. he gets picked on in the secondary.
  • Great potential, he’s going to play a much bigger role in this defense.

Jaewon Taylor

  • He can hit but sometimes he gets lost playing coverage. He’s one of those guys that needs to stay healthy.
  • If he can stay healthy it’s really going to solidify our defensive backfield. He’s really great to watch because he has fun back there.

Departed Players

Chauncey Gardner-Johnson

  • His first years he got really annoying at times because he loves the spotlight and would do stuff that made stuff about him. He could back up his talk with his play, but it got him into some fights on the team because he has no filter. He said whatever came to mind and let it out. He wasn’t my favorite but I don’t hate him. He’s a big talker and he’s all about looks, but he backs it up. The best thing that happened to him was the new coaches. More than winning 10 games last year Dan Mullen should get credit for turning CGJ around. He counseled him on the big picture of it being more than about him.
  • Cocky at times but rightfully so. He’ll be remembered as a great defensive back for Florida. Vocal guy, but he had one of the top work ethics on the team. Nothing wrong with liking the spotlight.

Jachai Polite

  • He loved to play football, but didn’t care about any of the other stuff. He was here for Saturdays. It’s too bad his combine interviews screwed him because he is a really good player. He played hard when it counted while he was at UF but I think after the big season he had that he got complacent.
  • When he first came to Florida, he was kind of big. He practiced harder than almost anyone and really did incredible stuff. I’ll never forget how right before halftime of the Florida State game he was heated about not getting a sack then he came back and dominated in the second half.

Khari Clark

  • He is a very quiet individual who stayed to himself all of the time
  • Love this guy. He really stepped up to the challenge last year. He has a really great work ethic and it showed to get to where he is from where he used to be.

Cece Jeffereson

  • His being suspended the first couple of games was out of character for him.  To be completely honest I think it had to do with grades, but I don’t remember exactly. I love CeCe as he was always a big face for the program since he got here. He was always a fun guy but worked hard when he needed to. He really grew up with the Gators and while he was at Florida and the program is going to miss him.

Rayshad Jackson

  • He was smart to transfer. He was probably better as a smaller school guy all along.
  • The only one I was surprised to see go. He’s really athletic, but I think he wants to go pro and he wasn’t going to start here. He loves UF and he bleeds Orange and Blue. Still shows up around some Florida stuff. Just wants to get some playing time his last year.

Antonneous Clayton

  • Didn't play much, could get playing time at a smaller school
  • He came in with a lot of hype and got lost on the depth chart. He still showed he could play in some of the practices but he didn’t get to and I think that it got to him and that’s why he is leaving.


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Tags: Player

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