During the beginning weeks of the off-season, Inside the Gators will take an in-depth look at how last season went for Florida's 2019 signees who redshirted with our Redshirt Report series. Today, we focus on how this past season went for offensive lineman Michael Tarquin
Offensive lineman Michael Tarquin enrolled at Florida in the spring of 2019 in a rather unusual situation.
A top-300 prospect from Ocala, he had a chance to earn playing time on a rebuilt line by practicing well in the spring. However, he was still recovering from a torn labrum that cost him the entirety of his senior season at North Marion High School. Instead of trying to surge ahead of his classmates in the spring, he was still trying to regain the strength in his right shoulder and get used to playing the game again.
Tarquin got lost in the shuffle behind the upperclassmen and a couple of his classmates, played in just three games and redshirted.
For some players, redshirting can be tough. All of their lives, they’ve been the best players on their teams, and suddenly they’re not good enough to play. They still have to go through the same grueling workouts and practices as everyone else on the team but without the reward of playing in games.
Redshirting never became frustrating for Tarquin, his father, Jim, said. While Tarquin didn’t know for sure that he was going to redshirt when he arrived, it didn’t come as a surprise given that he was just 17 years old at the time.
“As a competitor, you always want to play more, but college football is demanding, and he adjusted very well, and he enjoys it,” Jim Tarquin said.
“Obviously, 17, getting acclimated to college life, the much faster pace of the guys he was going against, get with the strength and conditioning staff, start getting used to the playbook. All of those were very beneficial.”
One of the knocks on Tarquin as a recruit was that his lighter weight could get him in trouble against bigger, more powerful defensive ends. He was listed at just 279 pounds on UF’s roster last season. Getting beaten on bull-rushes shouldn’t be much of an issue anymore.
“He worked very, very hard,” Jim Tarquin said. “He got up to the weight – he’s up to about 300 pounds. They got a great strength and conditioning program there. Obviously, Mullen’s a great coach, great coaching staff.”
As he prepares for his second spring healthy and about 20 pounds heavier, Tarquin has a chance to become a key cog on Florida’s line in 2020. He was known as a very agile and aggressive run-blocker in high school prior to his injury. Given UF’s struggles with running the ball last year, that is a very appealing quality.
His ability to play either tackle spot could earn him the crucial swing tackle role, although he played primarily on the right side in 2019. Who knows? Maybe he’ll earn a starting spot. His father believes big things are on the horizon for him.
“He’s a very hard worker,” he said. “He’s committed to being as good as he can be, and I think he can achieve whatever he puts his mind to.”