Florida Football: Buy, Sell, Hold on Offense

Jul 10, 2021 | 0 comments


Today Inside the Gators takes a closer look at Florida Football players on the offensive side of the ball by sharing what we would do if each were a stock to be bought, sold, or held. The criteria mostly being where they stand with less than a month remaining before the start of fall camp.

To be perfectly clear, a sell order doesn’t always mean we believe the player, coach, or position will start trending downward, just as a buy order doesn’t mean they will begin trending upward.

This market, just like the stock market, can be volatile and this is all just a snapshot in time.

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Just to get it out of the way, no, I don’t expect him to replicate what Kyle Trask was able to accomplish in the passing game or put up Heisman contending type of numbers this season, but there's every reason to believe that Emory Jones will thrive in a Dan Mullen offense that will rely on more of a deep passing game to help open up the underneath where a power running game is more likely to thrive.  

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To be clear, he hasn’t done anything to deserve to be placed in this spot at all. We haven't heard a single negative comment on him whatsoever, but there has to be one player per position per category – thus Jalen Kitna gets the nod here. Consider this our own Sophie's Choice type of moment. He doesn’t fit the mold as far as what Mullen and Company normally want from their quarterback. Then again, neither did Trask – another underrated Texan.

""It was tempting to switch out Anthony Richardson for Jones and place a Buy Order for him, but with Jones clearly the No. 1 option atop the depth chart entering fall camp, it seemed to be more prudent for Richardson to land here. 

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Even though he is entering a crowded running backs’ room, it’s not hard to imagine seeing Demarkcus Bowman separating himself from the pack a couple of games into the season. He is more of a ‘complete’ back than anyone else at the position. 

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Dameon Pierce’s inclusion here is a bit tricky because while we expect Florida to be more of a running team this season and for him to still be a factor, the truth is Jones, as a full-time starter, becomes a bigger option as a quarterback in the running game, as does Bowman. Pierce seems to be one of those backs who the more frequently he is fed the ball, the better he becomes. However, he may find it difficult to match last year’s career-high 106-carry season.

""It was thought that last year would be Lorenzo Lingard’s coming-out party, instead, he barely saw the field as he was slow out of the gate after suffering a camp injury. Though it is clear that he has lost a step after numerous injuries, he still has the ability to be a front-line contributor, especially when you consider that because of the wealth of bodies at the position, Florida has the chance to choose his spots carefully.

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""It might be hard to imagine a former five-star seeing his stock rise significantly, but the path has been cleared for Justin Shorter to have a break-out type of season for Florida. Already one of the hardest working players on the team, he will have an opportunity to be the Gators’ go-to receiver this season. 
""You don’t necessarily put in a Sell Order for a stock because you believe that the bottom is about to fall out, but rather because from where you bought in, to where it stands now, you believe that it might have reached its ceiling. That is the reason why I included Jacob Copeland here. It wouldn’t be the least bit surprising if he had a solid season, making quite a few big plays along the way. However, what is the likelihood that he is going to live up to the pre-season hype of him being an All-SEC type of receiver? It could be well-founded, that is if he has become more sure-handed, or it could be a pipedream if he hasn’t. I’m getting out while the getting is good and the hype is still high.
""I was tempted to go with Ja’Markis Weston here because while we have heard great things about him from Mullen from the jump – and I have some upcoming anonymous player comments where he is mentioned prominently – he has exactly one catch in two years. Be that as it may, the Hold Order at this position has to go to Rick Wells, who responded positively when he finally got to see some action last year, and if he is up to it, should be an even bigger part of the offense this year.

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""Normally this wouldn’t be the place for a true freshman, but despite there being a couple of holdovers already on the roster, this looks to be the perfect storm for Nick Elksnis to have a breakout type of first season.  With ample, but unproven, talent at receiver, Jones might feel there is a built-in comfort level with going to a big target such as Elksnis.
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This is basically the same situation as with Kitna above, Jonathan Odom hasn’t done anything to make you think that he will be a disaster, but there has to be one player put up per position, and with so few bodies at tight end, he basically gets the nod here based on what was said in two separate Anonymous Player Q&A sessions, where it was stated that at times he doesn’t take the game as seriously as he should.

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As he showed during last season’s win over Georgia, Kemore Gamble has the skill-set to be an above-average SEC tight end. That game however begs the question, why haven’t we seen him flash more often? Yes, he gets somewhat of a pass because he was playing in the shadow of Kyle Pitts the last two seasons, but he still should have contributed more than he has. If he has a slow start to the 2021 season, he could find himself behind Keon Zipperer and Elksnis with little hope of regaining his spot.

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I was torn between choosing either Josh Braun or Ethan White, but instead of picking between the two, I’ll simply put in a Buy Order for the projected starting guards since their fates should be closely tied to one another. If they are both healthy, they are the big road-grader types that Florida will need to maximize their chances of relying more heavily on a ground attack this coming season.

""After a disappointing start to his UF career, I distinctly remember commenting on the turnaround Jean Delance had made early last season before the bottom fell out. Then, while searching for the format for this feature, I found our Buy, Sell, Hold article written after last year’s season-opening win over Ole Miss, when I put in a Buy Order for Delance. Not long afterward, the bottom fell out and he reverted to 2019 form. While Florida needs him to play at least as well as he did at the start of last season, to be practical, while the ship hasn’t yet sailed, they are hauling up the anchor as I write this.
""Another player along the line who disappointed last year is transfer Stewart Reese. It will be interesting to see how he performs after converting to center this spring. I’ve had a chance to see him a couple of times during June camp season, and looks like he is in very good shape, considering he is 340-plus pounds
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