Florida Gators 2014 previews: Phil Steele ranks the Gators No. 24

Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

One of college football's most esteemed analysts has the Gators at No. 24 in his 2014 preview.

The calendar flipping to June means that college football's two-month preview season is nearing, and the release of Phil Steele's omnibus preview — it will be mailed on Friday, and should be on newsstands next week — is the surest sign that it is actually upon us.

On Wednesday, Steele revealed via Twitter that Florida is his No. 24 team, and shared the two-page preview of the Gators from his 2014 book. I've embedded that at the bottom of this post, in case you want to really, really squint at the already-tiny text that is Steele's hallmark.

Some of the important bits (with edits for clarity) from this preview that aren't rehashed from previous ones, with the note that "VHTs" is Steele code for Very Highly Touteds, or blue-chip recruits:

With (Jeff) Driskel now healthy, I look for improved numbers from the Gator QBs, no matter who starts ... If (Matt) Jones can come back 100 percent, the Gators will be deeper and more experiencd at RB than they've been in years ... Even with the loss of two of their top three, there's nowhere to go but up for the receiving corps and keep an eye on (Demarcus) Robinson this year ... Dante Fowler and Jonathan Bullard will be one of the SEC's top DE combos ... the (linebackers) group is loaded with VHTs and similar to the DL, will resemble more of the '12 version ... Despite the losses, (the secondary) remains a top-notch unit. ... After a poor No. 66 finish, they brought in new special teams coach Coleman Hutzler from New Mexico (No. 24 last year) and I expect a solid move up ... UF would have finished much stronger (in 2013) had it not been for a devastating spate of injuries.

Naturally all of my key indicators are pointing up and the Gators are an easy pick for my Most Improved List. They are +5.0 in the Stock Market Indicator, and had four net close losses and -4 net upsets last year. They also have 14 returning starters and can only remain healthier. UF does draw both LSU and Bama out of the West but it should be a bounce back year.

Sounds pretty close to dead on to me.

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