#12 Chris Leak (Graduation)
Back in '07
#15 Tim Tebow
#14 Andrew Blaylock
#4 Mark Guandolo
#3 Michael Guilford
Incoming (As of Right Now)
John Brantley / Ocala, FL (Trinity Catholic)
Cameron Newton / Atlanta, GA (Westlake)
Bryan Waggener / Glendora, CA (Citrus)
What We're Losing
What the Gators will be missing the most next season is Senior leadership with the departure of Chris Leak; not to mention his 2,942 yds and 23 touchdown passes he tossed this season. In all Leak appeared in 51 games over his career, most of them starts, so it will be an interesting sight to see someone else take hold of this offense next season...similar to what we saw when Doug Johnson took over for Danny Wuerffel.
As I posted earlier Chris Leak is one of the more prolific passers in Gators football history, so his absence next season will obviously take quite a bit to make up for. One positive thing is that the new starting QB will have already had big-game experience when he starts his first game in 2007, trying to in some way make up for the experience and leadership that Leak brought to the program in 2006.
Who Will Make an Impact in 2007
This is obvious. Tim Tebow is going to take over as the starting quarterback of the Florida Gators next season after appearing in all 14 games this season. This season Tebow was responsible for 13 touchdowns, 8 rushing and 5 passing, and averaged a total of 5.3 yards/rush and 10.1 yards/attempts passing.
Thought of as a quarterback who could automatically step in and fit the mold of what Urban Meyer wants in the spread option offense, Tebow should spark a ton of excitement next season as starter. After several big plays this season he was known as a guy who could really get the fans into the game, making him a fan favorite that should ease the pressure of immediate success next season. We won't see a really short leash (critics-wise) on Tebow next season, because 1) he was successful this season and 2) the others on the depth chart will not compete for much playing time coming in (with exception of maybe Brantley, the Gatorade Prep Player of the Year).
Who We're Bringing In
John Brantley out of Ocala is a very interesting prospect committed to UF as of right now. After committing to Texas early in the recruiting process, Brantley recently changed his mind to the Gators, a program in which he had many ties to. A 5-star recruit and the #3 rated QB in that nation by Scout.com, Brantley is a drop-back passer coming from a pass-happy system at Trinity Catholic High School, coached by former Florida QB Kerwin Bell. Brantley threw for 2,766 yds and 41 TDs as a senior in 2006. In his career he tossed 99 touchdowns over 3 seasons.
Cameron Newton is another great QB coming into UF with this recruiting class. He is rated a 4-star recruit and is the #13 rated QB in the country in the 2006 class.
Stay tuned. Up next: Running Backs