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Florida Football

Take Five: Five most intrigued to see

July 9, 2020

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Now that Florida football players have returned to campus for voluntary off-season workouts before returning in July for a two-week mandatory workout period to be followed by fall camp at the beginning of next month, we can safely move forward with previewing the squad with the understanding that college football will be played in some form or fashion this season.

To kick off our football coverage Inside the Gators is running an eight-part series of Take Five articles featuring topics such as five who could emerge, five who could surprise, five who could disappoint, etc...

Up today are the five Florida players we are most intrigued to see this fall. Whether it is because it will be our first look at a transfer, a signee or a returning player, these five players will have all eyes on them during fall camp for differing reasons.

* Lorenzo Lingard: It isn’t exactly going out on a limb to include Lingard on this list. Ask any Florida fan who they are most intrigued to see this fall and his name would likely be sitting near or atop the list. Due in part to injuries, the former five-star didn’t perform to his high school ranking during his two years with Miami, but he has gotten rave reviews from a couple of his Gators teammates, including one calling him the most physically talented and fasted back on the team - and his high school coaches say that they believe Florida is a better fit. Though you will see Dameon Pierce get the starting nod to kickoff fall ball, if he lives up to his billing, watch for Lingard to push for that spot early in camp.

* Anthony Richardson: On one hand there’s likely no Florida player who suffered more from spring football being canceled, because it kept him from getting what should have been a ton of reps over the 15 practices. On the other, it allowed him more one-on-one workout time with Denny Thompson, which was the catalyst for Richardson growing leaps and bounds as a quarterback last spring and summer. Looking at the photos and video of Richardson today compared to how he looked physically last summer and fall, there’s no doubt he has bought into Nick Savage’s program. There’s been a lot of chatter comparing Richardson to Cam Newton, based mostly on their physiques. Those comparisons are spot on, plus I’ll add this - mechanically, throwing the ball, Richardson is ahead of where Newton was at the same point in their development. He however isn’t anywhere near as vocal (or flamboyant) as Newton leadership wise.

* Justin Shorter: Let's be honest about this, if there was a poster boy for over-hyped high school busts, to this point Shorter would definitely be under consideration for the top spot from the Class of 2018. In his two years at Penn State the former five-star, the No. 8 ranked prospect in his class, totaled 15 catches while ballooning to 250-pounds and being benched in favor of a walk-on.  That storyline is hardly worthy of a Network TV movie of the week (unless it is being told from the viewpoint of the walk-on). What has to give the Gator Nation cause for hope is that the size and speed are there and from the videos he posts on Instagram, he looks to be in much better shape. He is said, and all the videos reflect it, that he is a hard worker. Perhaps it was just a bad fit at PSU and he is motivated to make the most of his last couple of seasons. Whether or not he is eligible to play this year, what we see from him during fall camp will be an indicator of whether Dan Mullen and Company have hit transfer portal gold once again. 

Related: Five-stars with an asterisk, Shorter at the right place at the right time

* Princely Umanmielen: It would have been easy to put the third five-star transfer, defensive end Brenton Cox in this slot, but instead Umanmielen gets the nod. Somewhat because of all of the top end signees during the last cycle, he may be the one we collectively know less about. Though he had Florida on his radar, it was thought that he would stay closer to home (he said so himself), thus he became a bit of an afterthought right up until he signed. While he is listed at 250-pounds, watching his IG and YouTube stories, he looks thicker than that. Does he play strongside end or move inside? Also, speaking of a social media presence, other Florida players may want to take notice of his. He has the blueprint for how to utilize an online platform in order to build his brand. For example, what I’ve seen has me intrigued enough in-part to include him on this list.

* Ethan White: No player made bigger gains last year than White. In his case though, the big gains came in the form of a big weight loss. With Savage working his magic, White dropped 35 pounds in his first two months on campus and right at 60 pounds overall to go from someone who was simply too big to be effective to one of the better-looking linemen on the team by the end of the season. He was projected to hold down the starting right guard job entering camp, but of all the players on the team, how he has handled missing spring ball, and the conditioning that takes place over the spring and summer is in question. From March through May, people found themselves laying around and snacking more than ever. How did that impact him being back home without being under Savage’s direction? If he is at least where he left off last fall, Florida’s line could be a strength this year. If he regressed, it could mean an opening for transfer Stewart Reese.  

Take Five Florida Football Practice Preview Series

Take Five: Five most intrigued to see

2,148 Views | 2 Replies | Last: 1 yr ago by RegGator
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Rumor being floated around that Shorter got his waiver - can someone confirm?
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E. White is the one that has me worried. Everyone gained weight laying around the last few months when we couldn't leave the house. All there was to do was eat and watch movies or shows.

If he can keep in good shape he could be a 3 year starter for us and go to the next level.
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