With the season opener against Miami almost two months away, the Florida Gators are in the middle of their offseason workouts preparing for the 2019 season. The Gators had a terrific 2018 season with Dan Mullen running the show. They finished last season 10-3 with a blowout 41-15 blowout victory against the Michigan Wolverines. Florida’s defense was one of the best in the country thanks to their pass rush and ability to force turnovers. Here are three breakout candidates on Florida’s defense.
The Gators didn’t lose a ton of production from last season on defense but one guy Florida will need to replace is Vosean Joseph. With Joseph in the NFL, incoming sophomore linebacker Amari Burney should be the man to fill in the role. Burney was a highly rated recruit out of high school and also got a lot of playing time last season. Burney has the strength to play linebacker but also has excellent speed. One problem Vosean had was in coverage which shouldn’t be an issue for Burney.
One of the biggest surprises out of spring camp was how much John Huggins improved. The former Florida State commit got some playing time as a freshman but is competing for the starting nickel position with Chauncey Gardner-Johnson in the NFL. Gardner-Johnson was one of the most important players on Florida’s defense as he was a sound tackler and great in coverage. Huggins played a little safety last season so even if he isn’t the nickel at Florida, he could play one of the safety positions as he’s one of the top five defensive backs on Florida’s roster.
As we continue with three breakout candidates on Florida’s defense, we look into the secondary. The 2019 Gators defense will be without Jachai Polite, as was drafted by the New York Jets. Polite will most definitely be missed but one player that may be able to make the transition is Zachary Carter. The incoming redshirt-sophomore had a great spring camp and is competing for one of the starting defensive end jobs. Florida already has two seniors at defensive end in Jabari Zuniga and Louisville transfer Jon Greenard but Carter can still produce. Carter is a flexible defensive lineman that had the quickness and agility to play defensive end. He could also be a good pass rushing defensive tackle on passing situations. Florida has a ton of depth at the defensive end position and Carter will really help out.