Florida has been a common media choice to regress due to their offensive losses.
Sports Illustrated’s Eric Rynston-Lobel added to that list and ranked the Gators as one of three teams to step back next season. Its logic checks for the most part. He felt that the losses suffered by Florida in attack would be too great.
Having two picks in the NFL Draft in the first round is definitely a good sign for a program. The challenge, of course, is to replace that talent. In ’20, Kadarius Toney and Kyle Pitts (both first-rounders) accounted for nearly 40% of Florida’s receiving yards. Add Trevon Grimes to that total and the Gators will lose more than half of their receiving production. They also lose Kyle Trask, the quarterback who helped make Florida’s offense so dynamic.
He then moved on to defense and argued that the offense could no longer mask their inefficiencies.
His arguments are solid and reasonable. But here are a few reasons Florida won’t take a step back.
As deadly as the Gators offense was last season, they’ve always struggled to get the ball rolling. Alleged starting quarterback Emory Jones is what Dan Mullen expects from his quarterback like a glove. The whispering quarterback will finally be able to show his attack with a real double-threat quarterback.
Florida have also added more star power, like the transfer Demarkcus Bowman, to their already loaded running back body. I would say UF has one of the most powerful units in the SEC along with Dameon Pierce, Nay’Quan Wright, Malik Davis and Lorenzo Lingard.
The running game will ease some of the pressure from the reception hall to replace Pitts, Toney and Grimes. But the wide in this room are not left out. Justin Shorter, a transfer from Penn State, was a former 5-star talent. Jacob Copeland will finally see enough shots to potentially have a breakout season. Tight end Keon Zipperer was second best at his position in the 2019 class, according to 247 Sports.
Going to the other side of the ball, the Gators dismiss key players like Zachary Carter, Brenton Cox Jr. and Ventrell Miller. They also added two graduates transfers to the defensive tackle to close that gap in the depth chart.
Most of their departures, however, were in high school which suffered tremendously. But again, the defensive coordinator reclaims star corner Kaiir Elam and adds another 5-star defensive back in Jason Marshall Jr.
The security unit will undergo an overhaul during the 2021 season, but Trey Dean appeared to be playing his best football after holding several other positions to start his career in Florida. Finally, the Gators defense again had spring training that they did not have last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
These are all solid reasons why Florida could move up instead of falling in 2021.