I'm back, I apologize for taking a while to get this post published. I've been profoundly occupied with school work this week, unfortunately. However, I'm thrilled to talk about this year's group of running backs and fullbacks. Florida's only significant departure from this year's group is Mike Gillislee. Gillislee became the first Florida running back since 2004 (Ciatrick Fason) to have ran over 1000 yards (finish with 1152 rushing yards). I knew Gillislee would accomplish this feat when I was a 13 year old that's why I had him as my user name ("Gillislee23"), it was just a matter of when. Gillislee is projected to be a 3rd-5th round draft pick in this year's NFL Draft (ranked #6 RB via ESPN). However, this particular departure doesn't mean we don't have something to anticipate for going into this year.
We also lost Omarius Hines and Chris Johnson as well. Omarius Hines graduated with an anthropology degree. Although his NFL future is somewhat unlikely, he should still be remembered as a true Florida Gator. He's been with the program for five years, and his playing time was pretty marginal for most of his career due to his lack of ability to find his permanent position. The fact that he never quit nor transfer to another program for playing time will always be appreciated by me and my peers. I began rooting for him to get more playing time as I did for Gillislee, because he earned it and made plays. Omarius Hines will be solely missed for his efforts.
As for Chris Johnson, he transferred from Florida after two years. He was a three-star prospect from Trinity Catholic High School in Ocala, FL. This guy was in a similar situation as Omarius Hines, but worse. This kid is too slow to play safety (the position he started out as), and too small to play linebacker, so that left him one position for his frame. That position is running back, but he couldn't bypass the 4th spot on the depth chart. So he made the wise decision to transfer to a program where he can make an impact, because he's still a good athlete with potential.
We return Matt Jones, Mack Brown, Trey Burton, and Hunter Joyer to the backfield for this year. We also add a superb running back in Kelvin Taylor and an underrated back in Adam Lane. I expect a competition in the spring or in fall camp for every spot on the depth chart for the running backs. As for the fullbacks, everything should be the same as last year. I expect Trey Burton to change positions before the season starts.
I predict that Matt Jones will take over as the starting running back of the Florida Gators. Jones is now a sophomore, who struggled in the beginning of his freshman year, but steadily improved late in the season. Jones is a massive 6'2 and 230lbs running back, who could also run a 4.5 in the 40yd dash. So not only does Jones have power, but he also has an exceptional speed burst and lateral quickness. In my opinion, I believe Matt will eventually surpass the legacy of any running back that has ever played for Florida in the 21st century thus far (remember I said 21st century). He has all the talent to do so it's just a matter of his maturity and the talent around him. He already has one of the best fullbacks in the nation in Hunter Joyer. The offensive line was pretty mediocre last year, but I believe we've gotten rid of all the weak spread lineman that Meyer recruited. So we should be better this year on the line of scrimmage, now Matt Jones has to take advantage of it. He reminds me much of a Stephen Jackson of the St.Louis Rams.
As for Mack Brown, I have serious questions about this guy. He has been in this program for three years now, yet he still hasn't met the expectations coming out of Martin Luther King High School in Lithonia, GA. Mack Brown is now a redshirt junior, during his three previous years he had never ran over 40yds in a game. Now he's in serious trouble, because he got beat by Matt Jones for the 2nd spot last year, this time he has to hold off a more talented running back in Kelvin Taylor. Mack Brown needs to either do everything he can to outwork the freshman or transfer to another program. Due to his lack of consistency in practice (according to Coach Muschamp) and in games, I see Kelvin Taylor taking the 2nd spot in the depth chart.
The fullback trio of Trey Burton and Hunter Joyer may not last long. Trey Burton may be making a switch to wide receiver, if the freshmans don't pan out their first year. Hunter Joyer in my opinion is arguably the 2nd best fullback in the nation (behind Trey Millard of Oklahoma), so why not make him the permanent fullback ? I understand Trey Burton plays a countless number of positions, but he's also taking reps from Joyer as a fullback. I would consider Trey at tight end if anything, due to the fact they have no proven players at tight end. I expect another great season from Hunter Joyer as he takes over as the permanent fullback.
Now as for the newcomers, or freshmans. Kelvin Taylor is a prestigious running back out of Belle Glades, FL. Kelvin is the son of the former great, Fred Taylor, who went on to be the State of Florida's leading rusher in history. Kelvin doesn't inherit great break away speed, only running a 4.63 in the 40yd dash in high school. However, he does inherits phenomenal lateral quickness which allows him to be very elusive in open space. He also possesses the ability to read a hole or open gap pretty expeditiously, which allows him to gain more yards expected. He may be the quickest on the team when it comes to reading a hole, which why I compared him to Mark Ingram. Both guys are small and built, lacking great burner speed, but both excellent at reading a hole and have exceptional lateral quickness. Kelvin also possesses the power to break arm tackles and run it right through you. He has great hands as well and a pretty good blocker as well. His only weakness is his speed burst, which is why he's been rated the #1 running back by ESPN. These are his highlights http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYpYkJaxgdI
As for Adam Lane, he's an underrated running back from Winter Haven High School in Winter Haven, FL. This guy looks like a beast, I mean the dude is massive. He's 5'8 and 218lbs of full muscle. He only runs a 4.7 in the 40yd dash, but he can also run that speed in pads which is pretty fast. Don't take my word for it,just watch his highlights yourself (At the end of the paragraph) and you tell me. He tore his ACL during his junior year which slowed him down a bit, but he responded with a splendid senior season. He managed to play all 12 games in the season and ran for 1624yds and 12TDs in his senior season. Adam has excellent power and he has pretty good lateral quickness as well. His best asset would be his vision, he can read a hole almost as fast as Kelvin Taylor, but he can read his next tackler approaching faster than Kelvin can. Adam reminds me of a Ray Rice, stocky and small built, doesn't impress you with his measurables but gives you lots of production. I still question how good of a blocker Adam Lane is, but I'm sure that will improve once he gets coached up by our staff. These are his highlights http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbBKufwSL_4
For some reason the site won't let me link the highlights so just copy and paste it to a new tab to watch.
My Running Back Depth Chart Projections
1. Matt Jones
2. Kelvin Taylor
3. Adam Lane
4. Mack Brown
My Fullback Depth Chart Projections
1. Hunter Joyer
2. Trey Burton
My Season Projections
Matt Jones: 12GP, 12GS, 268 carries, 1718 rushing yards, 6.4 ypc, 21 TDs, 3 fumbles, 143.16 ypg, 14 catches, 153 receiving yds, 10.92 ypc 1 TDs, 5 drops.
Kelvin Taylor: 11GP, 0GS, 152 carries, 678 rushing yards, 4.46 ypc, 10 TDs 1 fumble, 61.63 ypg, 25 catches, 284 receiving yds, 11.36 ypc, 3 TDs, 2 drops.
Adam Lane: 8GP, 0GP, 34 carries, 217 rushing yards, 6.38 ypc, 1 TDs, 1 fumble, 27.1 ypg, 1 catch, 2 receiving yards, 2.0 ypc, 0 TDs, 0 drops.
Mack Brown: 9GP, 0GS, 21 carries, 97 rushing yards, 4.62 ypc, 0 TDs, 2 fumbles, 15.8 ypg, 0 catches, 0 receiving yards, 0.0 ypc, 0 TDs, 1 drop.
Hunter Joyer: 12GP, 12GS, 8 carries, 15 rushing yards, 1.88 ypc, 1 TDs, 0 fumbles, 1.25 ypg, 4 catches, 21 receiving yards, 5.25 ypc, 0 TDs, 2 drops.
Trey Burton: 12GP, 0GS, 32 carries, 236 rushing yards, 7.38 ypc, 4 TDs, 1 fumble, 19.67 ypg, 31 catches, 423 receiving yards, 13.65 ypc, 5 TDs, 3 drops.
Look I know the numbers look ridiculous and I know it seems impossible. How do I know you guys will say this? Because I said as a 13 year old in 2009 that Mike Gillislee was the best running back on the team and the only one on that team who had a chance to touch a 1000 yards. When I said that, everyone laughed at me and said "that's a typical comment for a 13 year old". I don't sound so dumb now do I ? Most Gator fans were surprised of how well Gillislee played last season. I wasn't, I expected this for the past 4 years, but Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps got in the way of that. I also predicted a 10-2 regular season, we went 11-1 when most fans wanted to play it safe and predict an 8-4 or 9-3 season. I don't just go by the skills of the players, I also look at who we play and schemes of the opposing team, there are numerous amount of reasons for why I predict these numbers. So let's not be so quick to judge, let's just see what happens first. Thank you for reading, I'll try to get the post on the wide receivers & tight ends as soon as I can. Remember you can follow me on twitter, @QUAY4MVP, I will follow back.