— Gators Football (@GatorsFB) February 3, 2016
February 3rd was National Signing Day, which means 25 new baby Gators were added to the Gator Nation! *and the crowd goes wild* Here’s a synopsis of what happened and what the team can look forward to for the 2016 season.
First Down: Mid-Year Enrollees
12 (13 if you count transfer Austin Appleby) mid-year enrollees were added to the roster, the most across the nation and the most in school history. These players are enrolled as UF students for the spring semester, so the have the opportunity to get a head start on practicing with the team and competing for those coveted starting positions. Giving the staff more time to work with players and more time for the players to work with each other will hopefully provide chemistry and rhythm on the field – two things we didn’t see so much in 2015.
Second Down: Quarterback Battle
There’s not one, not two, not three, but FOUR (count ‘em 1,2,3,4) guys competing for the No. 1 quarterback roster spot. The competition is made up of:
- Two true freshmen – Feleipe Franks and Kyle Trask
- One graduate transfer – Austin Appleby
- Last year’s transfer and redshirt junior – Luke Del Rio.
Now, I’m sure you’re thinking aren’t you missing someone who actually played for us last year? *cough cough Treon Harris cough cough* In a turn of events, Harris has decided to switch positions to wide receiver. Unclear if the decision came from the added competition or frustration from an underwhelming season in the position. So now, we sit back and watch the show as all four guys are already in Gainesville to participate in spring practices. May the odds be ever in your favor!
Third Down: Offensive Additions
In addition to the added quarterbacks, the offense saw quite the overhaul.
- Three offensive linemen joined the roster – Stone Forsythe, Brett Heggie, and Jawaan Taylor (not to be confused with defensive back signee Jeawon Taylor).
- Wide receiver – Tyrie Cleveland and his explosive style of play will be key to bringing some spunk back to the offensive side of the ball.
- Kicker – Eddy Pineiro, a redshirt freshman junior college transfer, looks to improve the less-than-impressive kicking we saw last season. Coach Mac is clearly pretty confident in Pineiro considering he’s never recruited a kicker so hard.
Things seem to be on the up and up for offense, and this recruiting class will have the opportunity to prove it.
Fourth Down: Defense Round-Up
The Gators will need to fill the holes left in the defense after losing some key players.
- Defensive backs and mid-year enrollees – Chauncey Gardner and McArthur Burnett.
- Linebacker – Jeremiah Moon is someone to keep your eyes on – he was recruited by the Gators since he was a freshman in high school. (He was offered a scholarship before he could get his driver’s license.)
Let’s hope these guys can keep up the work last year’s defensive squad established in the Swamp.
It would take a novel to talk about all 25 new players individually, but we obviously want to give a shout out and congratulate them on joining us in Gainesville! Here’s a full list of signees and mid-year enrollees alike, and keep checking in for more news regarding spring practices and the 2016 Florida Gators Football Team:
|McArthur Burnett||DB||5-9||157||Fr.||Pahokee, FL|
|Stone Forsythe||OL||6-7||309||Fr.||Winter Garden, FL|
|Feleipe Franks||QB||6-6||214||Fr.||Crawfordville, FL|
|Chauncey Gardner||DB||5-11||197||Fr.||Cocoa, FL|
|Josh Hammond||WR||6-1||179||Fr||Hallandale Beach, FL|
|Dre Massey||WR||5-9||184||Jr.||Greenville, SC|
|Eddy Pineiro||K||6-0||178||R-Fr.||Miami, FL|
|David Reese||LB||6-0||240||Fr.||Farmington, MI|
|Jordan Smith||DL||6-5||225||Fr.||Lithonia, GA|
|Freddie Swain||WR||6-0||177||Fr.||Ocala, FL|
|Mark Thompson||RB||6-2||228||R-Jr.||La Mott, PA|
|Kyle Trask||QB||6-4||230||Fr.||Manvel TX|
|Antonneous Clayton||DL||6-3||235||Fr.||Vienna, GA|
|Tyrie Cleveland||WR||6-2||194||Fr.||Houston, TX|
|Brett Heggie||OL||6-3||314||Fr.||Mount Dora, FL|
|Vosean Joseph||LB||6-1||215||Fr.||Miami, FL|
|Quincy Lenton||DB||5-11||207||Fr.||Meridian, MS|
|C.J. McWilliams||DB||5-11||163||Fr.||Miami, FL|
|Jeremiah Moon||LB||6-4||209||Fr.||Hoover, AL|
|Lamical Perine||RB||5-11||218||Fr.||Theodore, AL|
|Jachai Polite||DL||6-2||259||Fr.||Daytona Beach, FL|
|Joseph Putu||DB||6-2||195||Jr.||Providence, RI|
|Jawaan Taylor||OL||6-5||347||Fr.||Cocoa, FL|
|Jeawon Taylor||DB||6-0||191||Fr.||Montgomery, AL|
|Rick Wells||WR||6-0||200||Fr.||Jacksonville, FL|