FLORIDA FOOTBALL & RECRUITING COVERAGE
- Four-star defensive back earns offer, will officially visit this fall
- ITG Recruiting Intel: Updates on Nolen, Thomas, Wilson and many more
- Spikes returns to campus with a message for Florida's linebackers
- Inside the Gators Commitment Burn Barometer
- Behind the Scenes of Florida Football: Part I, Part II & Part III (Free)
- One-on-One: Steve Spurrier talks Florida football, recruiting & SOS’ Gridiron Grille
- Ranking the June official visitors from least to most likely to sign with Florida
- Impact Analysis: Counting down the 10 Transfers
- The Inside Scoop: A behind the scenes look at Nick Evers' Florida official visit
- Florida Football player observations from the first two camp sessions
- The Inside Scoop: Trainer shares observations on nine Florida defensive linemen
- Where are they Now: Shane Matthews talks Florida Football
The summer is flying by and the Florida Gators 2021 campaign is approaching quickly. As the players and coaches prepare for their September 4 kickoff against Florida Atlantic, here at Inside the Gators we take stock of the roster to break down our list of “20/10” players for the 2021 season.
It will go like this: the 20 most valuable returning players with considerable game experience and then the 10 most valuable players who have yet to appear for the Gators and/or make a significant contribution in gameplay to this point. These are not necessarily the best players but the most valuable in relation to the team this season.
This is a 10 part series that will take a look at two returning players along with one new player each time. Today we kick it off with players 20-19 from our Top 20 list and player 10 from our Top 10 list.
20 MOST VALUABLE RETURNING CONTRIBUTORS
No. 20 KEMORE GAMBLE
- Position: Tight end
- Class: Redshirt senior
- Size: 6-foot-4, 243 pounds
- High School/Hometown: Miami Southridge (Miami, Florida)
Why He’s Important: It’s hard to believe he won’t at the very least start out as the No. 1 tight end option with Kyle Pitts now gone to the NFL. He and Keon Zipperer performed well in Pitts’ stead when he missed time with injury last season. Gamble’s the most senior returning player at the position and took the starts when Pitts missed those four games.
Questions to be Answered: The two questions I have are “How much time will he get?” and “Can he provide consistent production?” He and Zipperer seemed to put on a little 1 and 1A production when the Gators needed to replace Pitts. By some counts, Zip didn’t see that many fewer snaps than Gamble. And while Gamble made more a of a splash in the Georgia and Vanderbilt games with over 100 yards and three touchdowns on six catches, he didn’t do much against Arkansas or LSU.
Projection: Gamble will be the starting tight end for Florida. He’ll split some time with Zipperer but will maintain a starting role with the Gators throughout the season. He doesn’t need to be Kyle Pitts or match his production. If he does, that’d be great for the Gator offense. If he can provide consistent blocking and an average performance as a pass-catcher then he’ll have a great year.
No. 19-TRE’VEZ JOHNSON
- Position: Defensive back (safety)
- Class: Sophomore
- Size: 5-foot-11, 192 pounds
- High School/Hometown: Bartram Trail (Jacksonville, Florida)
Why He’s Important: He saw a good amount of playing time for a freshman defensive back as Florida tried to find the right pieces in the secondary in 2020. Obviously, the coaches believed he could make a big contribution because he played in every game coming off the bench. Now, with multiple upperclassmen gone in that safety rotation, Johnson along with several other younger will have to fill those spots where Donovan Stiner, Shawn Davis, and Brad Stewart existed alongside Trey Dean. He racked up 15 tackles and an interception in his limited time in those 12 games. His highlights showcase him as a fearsome tackler, something the Gator secondary needs.
Questions to be Answered: How will he perform with more of a workload and more playing time? Johnson clearly performed in the 20 or so snaps he saw per game. But what happens when that sample size becomes larger? Does it allow for more lapses to occur or will the increased opportunity allow him to show stability in a position that very much lacked it in 2020?
Projection: Johnson will be a significant contributor in the safety rotation. He’s already shown his propensity to mix it up making tackles and even registering a tackle for loss and two pass breakups. I see him racking up tackles from the strong safety position. Expect to hear Tre’Vez Johnson’s name quite a bit this year.
10 MOST VALUABLE NEWCOMERS/NON-CONTRIBUTORS
No. 10-DEMARKCUS BOWMAN
- Position: Running back
- Class: Redshirt freshman
- Size: 5-foot-10, 193 pounds
- High School/Hometown: Lakeland High School (Lakeland, Florida)
Why He’s Important: He’s a highly touted prospect who received a lot of fanfare coming out of high school. Bowman transferring to Gainesville from Clemson corrects what some people considered a miss on the recruiting trail a few cycles ago. His explosiveness and playmaking ability he showcased in high school give Dan Mullen another weapon for his offensive scheme.
Questions to be Answered: Bowman might be a great talent, but he’s in a really crowded running backs’ room. Heck, he might be five on the depth chart behind Lorenzo Lingard to start the season. So, the question is: how many snaps will he get? He didn’t get much time at Clemson, appearing in only two games and receiving just nine carries. If he comes out like gangbusters then he’ll easily move up on the chart and work his way into the rotation.
Projection: Bowman will have a role on this Gator's team whether it’s solely on kickoff or some snaps on offense. I see him contributing, but not significantly this season in terms of playing time with Dameon Pierce, Malik Davis, or Nay’Quan Wright ahead of him – especially if those first three continue to have the same production level as they had last season. But, if the Gators need a spark or a big play, Mullen will turn to the first-year Gator from Lakeland.