The University of Florida football program is entering its third year with Jim McElwain as its head coach. The Gators have won back-to-back SEC East Championship in Mac’s first two years. Now that most of Florida’s player were recruited by McElwain, Florida fans get to see what he can do with the players that he recruited. You can expect to see some players take their game to the next level whether it is to win a starting job or trying to raise their draft stock in next year’s NFL Draft. Here are five Gators who can breakout and become one of Florida’s top players.
2017 Florida Gators Breakout Stars
RB Jordan Scarlett
It might be confusing for some to think that Scarlett would be on this list since he is already the starting running back for the Florida Gators. The reason he cracks this list is because the Florida coaching staff will no longer go running back by committee. Jordan Scarlett will be starting running back. He rushed for 889 yards with six touchdowns last season while shared carries with Mark Thompson, Jordan Cronkrite and Lamical Perine up until the end of the season when he emerged as the top dog. Now in his junior year, Jordan Scarlett is projected to rush for over 1,000 yards and score around 10 touchdowns. If the Florida offensive line produces, Scarlett could be a top three back in the SEC. Scarlett’s size and speed could make him one of the toughest running back to bring out in the country.
WR Dre Massey
Before the 2016 season, there was a lot of buzz going around about the JUCO transfer Dre Massey. He had really impressed the Florida coaching staff and was expected to be a big part of the offense. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case for the Gators. Massey tore his ACL on the opening kickoff in their season opener against UMASS and was out for the season. Now healthy, the buzz is back and Massey is ready for the Michigan Wolverines. Massey is expected to share slot receiver with Brandon Powell. The JUCO transfer is a fun player to watch. He is very quick and explosive. Very dangerous in space. He is full speed from the very first step and will outrace defenders into the endzone.
DT Khairi Clark
Khairi Clark is one of last remaining players that was recruited by Will Muschamp. He came into the University of Florida with a lot of hype and excitement around him. Clark was a four-star Army All-American defensive tackle out of South Florida. He hasn’t gotten a lot of playing time since he has had future NFL stars ahead of him. Now that Jonathan Bullard and Caleb Brantley are in the NFL, it is Clark’s time to make a name for himself. Clark and Taven Bryan will be the starting DT’s for the Gators in 2017 and the coaching staff will be asking a lot out of both of them. It’s hard to replace stars like Brantley but Clark has the talent to fill their shoes. He is quick off the ball and does a great job of pushing people around.
DB Chauncey Gardner
The Outback Bowl MVP really made a name for himself after his two interceptions including a pick six in the bowl game against Iowa last season. The former Under Armour All-American is back for his sophomore season and he will counted on to be one of the leaders in the secondary. Florida has been known as Defensive Back University aka DBU in the past few years. DBU lost a ton of talent in the draft and Chauncey is one of Florida’s top returning DBs. Gardner finished his freshman season strong with three interceptions on the year. Chauncey Gardner will start but nobody knows where. He will either be Florida’s second corner or their nickel back. Chauncey Gardner plays the game with a lot of energy and speed. Gardner could be Florida’s fastest player and their most dangerous with the ball in his hands.
LB Vosean Joseph
Vosean Joseph might not be Florida’s best linebacker but he is certainly a fan favorite and their most exciting linebacker. The Miami native plays with a nasty attitude that you love to see in a linebacker. He is a head hunter that grabbed everybody’s attention when he laid out LSU’s quarterback Danny Etling. Since that game, Vosean Joseph has shown that he could be one of the scariest linebackers in the country. He continued to lay people out in the Outback Bowl when he blew up Iowa’s quarterback and running back. With the Gators losing three linebacker including Jarrad Davis and Alex Anzalone, Joseph will be counted on to produce on defense. Joseph is one of the most exciting Gators to watch and could one of Florida’s best defensive players.