20/10 for 2021: Shorter's time to take over

Aug 11, 2021 | 0 comments


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. 

20/10 for 2021 Series

20 MOST VALUABLE RETURNING CONTRIBUTORS

No. 12-JEREMIAH MOON

  • Position: Outside linebacker
  • Class: Redshirt senior
  • Size: 6-foot-2, 245 pounds
  • High School/Hometown: Hoover (Hoover, Alabama)

Why He’s Important: We didn’t see much of Jeremiah Moon in 2020. Already coming off a season-ending injury after appearing in nine games in 2019, Moon only saw action in four games last season. Moon took the time to evaluate things, pulled out of the Senior Bowl, and decided to come back for one last lap. He’s one of the most, if not the most, senior players on the defense. He can play both inside and outside or even the rush end. His versatility as a defender is something he really wants to showcase this season. If he can stay healthy and consistently productive, it’ll be a big help to someone like Brenton Cox Jr. along with the entire linebacking corps and even the Gator defense.


Questions to be Answered: Well, as addressed above, can the Hoover native stay healthy all season? It’s probably the biggest question for him. He has only played in 13 of 25 possible games over two years with a solidified role on the team. Guys can’t be productive on the field while on the sideline in street clothes.

Projection: This is definitely a prove it year for Moon. Prove his injuries are behind him and prove he’s capable of being on an NFL roster somewhere. He’s one of the reasons people are looking at this linebacking corps as a big-time unit for Florida. Moon seems confident in his ability to contribute consistently again so hard to believe it won’t happen.

No. 11-JUSTIN SHORTER

  • Position: Wide receiver
  • Class: Redshirt junior
  • Size: 6-foot-5, 228 pounds
  • High School/Hometown: South Brunswick/Penn State (Monmouth Junction, New Jersey)

Why He’s Important: He’s in the top two on the wide receiver depth chart behind Jacob Copeland. Copeland will certainly draw the opposing team’s best corner as WR1 so Shorter having good production gives the Gator offense multiple stable receiving threats to challenge defenses. Look at the production from that three-headed monster of Kadarius Toney, Trevon Grimes, and Kyle Pitts. More options and weapons at Dan Mullen’s disposal, the more off-balance he can keep opposing defenses. Plus, he’ll help lead a whole new group of players at the wide receiver position. There’s a lot of young guns behind him, so he and Copeland will have to lead the room.

Questions to be Answered: Can he use his physicality more to his advantage? The dude is big with a good frame. He’s spoken about the improvement he’s made in the area of being more physical in the receiving game. Pitts was great at utilizing that to get separation and Grimes took advantage of his height and reach for several highlight-reel catches in the endzone in 2020 (just look at his touchdown against Georgia.) Shorter is certainly capable of something like that with his amazing grab against Arkansas as a good example.

Projection: Shorter will be the WR2 for this team. He’ll be a leader in that wide receiver room even if he isn’t. The New Jersey native is ready to show what he can do with an expanded role in this offense. Expect him to see his fair share of targets, possibly even a healthy amount in the redzone to utilize that size of his. That size will definitely come in handy in regards to run blocking.

10 MOST VALUABLE NEWCOMERS/NON-CONTRIBUTORS

No. 6-JADARRIUS PERKINS

  • Position: Cornerback
  • Class: Junior
  • Size: 6-foot-1, 182 pounds
  • High School/Hometown: Hattiesburg/Mississippi Gulf Coast C.C. (Hattiesburg, Mississippi)

Why He’s Important: He adds depth and experience to a cornerback room perceived to have a lot of talent but just as much youth. He saw time at Mississippi Gulf Coast at both the inside and out corner positions. That can help Florida solidify a rotation of sorts for the cornerbacks. Or if the Gators moved a specific corner inside to shade a specific receiver, Perkins’s versatility can come in handy there. Not to mention, he can help be an additional leader in that secondary room. It’s one of the things Mullen expects of the several transfers the Gators received this offseason.

Questions to be Answered: Will his experience translate to the Division I or SEC level? There’s a difference between doing well in junior college and doing well in Division I, Not to say he faced bad competition as Mississippi JUCO has plenty of talent but it’s just different. It’s the grind of an SEC schedule and what you face week-in and week-out during so. Thus, can his experience make him a suitable corner Florida can rely on?

Projection: To answer the above question, I think it will. Jaydon Hill said during Media Day, in just in the little things they’ve done, he can tell Perkins will be a contributor for Florida. He’ll be a part of that Gator secondary and provide some quality snaps for Florida. And if he doesn’t, expect him to try and make some plays on special teams. Heck, he might even do both.

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