Markus Manson and Joe Haden are going to try out playing in the secondary this Spring, according to the Sun's Robbie Andreu.
"Joe Haden is playing around a little bit on both sides (offense and defense). He went today and worked out with the corners. That's his choice. Great athletes want to play."
Manson, who came into the Gators program as a 4-star running back recruit known for his exceptional speed, will be showing off his skills at the cornerback position this Spring. After redshirting in the 2004 season, Manson showed signs of future potential as a redshirt freshman by averaging 4.5 yards per carry and scoring two touchdowns. Last season, however Manson fell deep into the depth chart, only getting two carries on the season for four yards.
I was continually puzzled by the lack of playing time for Manson, who I felt could be one of the better overall athletes at the position for the Gators. It turned out that Meyer was not a huge fan of Manson's abilities outside of just simply running the football (fumbling, blocking problems I guess), and thus did not fit him into the gameplan last season.
Now I did think that Manson may have a surprising 2007 season for the Gators, a team that is going to be on the lookout for someone to help replace the lost production of DeShawn Wynn at running back. With this change in Spring practice upcoming, I don't believe that will still be the case -- unless we see him totally bomb at the position -- something that could easily come true.
I still consider myself a Markus Manson fan, and am rooting for him to find success and help this team in any way possible. If that takes him moving to corner, I'm all for it -- at least he won't be continually wasting time on the bench.
I had no clue where Haden was going to fit into this team's plan in 2007 and beyond, especially considering we already have a few guys who look to be of similar mold. As an exceptionally quick and athletic player, Haden could play quarterback, running back or wide receiver on offense. With that kind of versatility I'm fully comfortable with him in the secondary and believe that he can make an impact there.
In high school he did play some safety, as well as setting Maryland state records at the quarterback position.