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Florida Football

Where does Reese best fit in at Florida

May 19, 2020
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THREE-PART SERIES: FORMER FIVE-STARS WITH AN ASTERISK

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Over the last couple of seasons Florida has utilized the transfer portal as well as, or perhaps even better than, any other program in the nation. Actually, an argument can be made that as a staff the Gators have a better record recruiting from the transfer portal compared to what they have done recruiting from the high school ranks.

In three short years Dan Mullen and staff have brought in immediate high performing transfers such as Van Jefferson, Trevon Grimes, Adam Shuler, and Jonathan Greenard.

That doesn’t even include the trio of five-star transfers, linked above, who have yet to see the field.

Florida may have struck gold once again over the weekend when offensive lineman Stewart Reese announced his intention to grad-transfer from Mississippi State to Florida.

Unlike the other transfers in, Reese has pre-existing ties to the Florida staff after he was recruited to MSU by Mullen and John Hevesy.

The 6-foot-5, 345-pounder started 13 games as a redshirt freshman in 2017, Mullen's last year in Starkville before moving on to the University of Florida.

There have been off-season rumors since then that Reese was going to join his former coaches at Florida, but he stuck it out starting 13 more games at right tackle for the Bulldogs in 2018 and then starting eight games after moving inside to guard last season.

Now, what matters most is where he projects as a Gator.

Inside the Gators asked Joel Coleman, the MSU beat writer for the Starkville Daily News, where he sees Reese fitting in with Florida.

“I always thought Reese looked comfortable at both tackle and guard, though in my non-expert opinion, I feel he's best suited to play inside,” stated Coleman. “I can't say that he ever really stood out in any one game that I can remember, but in some ways, I think that's a good thing. I feel like if you're an offensive lineman and I'm not noticing you, you're probably really good at your job. That was always the case with Stewart. I don't believe he allowed a single sack last year, playing mostly guard, but some tackle.”

Inside may be where Florida needs him most.

The Gators struggled at times in 2019 with Stone Forsythe at left tackle and Jean Delance manning the right side. The line seemed to play their best ball when Richard Gouraige took over at left tackle, moving Forsythe to the right side.

If Florida follows that plan once again in 2020, that would leave some combination of Brett Heggie, Ethan White, and Reese to man the three interior spots.

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While Reese may not be an All-Conference type of performer to this point, he adds much-needed experience to the Florida line.

“I think UF is getting an incredibly reliable player that should be completely comfortable in his surroundings. With his brother [sophomore BUCK David Reese] on the team, plus a coaching staff that he's incredibly familiar with and them familiar with him, it shouldn't be a culture shock at all for him. That makes me think he'll be pretty much the same player at Florida that he was at MSU – a very reliable, versatile piece,” said Coleman.

Brett Hudson, who covered Reese's first two years as the Bulldog's beat writer at the Clarion-Ledger before moving on to The Tuscaloosa News agrees with Coleman's assessment.

"[The Gators are] getting a strong run blocker who clearly already knows Dan Mullen, offensive line coach John Hevesy and how to operate in that system.

“Reese is the rare example of a freshman getting on the field at tackle and moving to a more natural position. You often see top talents get on the field at guard and move their way to tackle as they develop, but his freshman season at Mississippi State was a strange scenario where their interior positions were more solidified than the tackle spots, so Reese got on the field there. His pass blocking on the edge was going to be his issue, which showed itself at times, so as State developed Tyre Phillips into a draftable tackle prospect, Reese was freed to move to the interior, where his lack of elite mobility is far less likely to hurt him.”

 

MOST LIKELY TWO-DEEP DEPTH CHART
LT RT C RG RT
R. Gouraige S. Reese B. Heggie E. White S. Forsythe
M. Tarquin J. Braun K. Eguakun TJ Moore J. Delance

 

 
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