The Florida Gators knew they needed to mend their safety room of the future, and quite honestly, of the present in the 2020 recruiting class. Hence, the Gators signed two in Rashad Torrence II and Mordecai McDaniel.
Florida also pursued one of the nation's best prospects at the position in Avantae Williams, but to no avail. Yet, while the miss on Williams stings, McDaniel and Torrence both bring plenty of valuable traits to the table and are relatively hybrid players.
After covering McDaniel on Friday in the AllGators' Five Play Prospect series, today we will take a look at Torrence's tape.
Torrence, who stands at 6-0, 202 lbs., has an SEC-ready frame like McDaniel, and with the Gators' inconsistencies at safety as of late, that could help Torrence achieve early playing time. Enrolling early could also lead to Torrence finding a role in the defense, or at least special teams.
While Torrence probably close to maxed out at his current frame for a safety, he will still add playing strength in the strength and conditioning program at Florida. Torrence utilized his ripped physique, closing speed, and physicality at Marietta High School (Marietta, GA) as a key run defender and in coverage.
During his senior season, Torrence tallied 111 tackles, an interception, two forced fumbles, and seven defended passes.
Torrence is a heat-seeking missile in run support, willing to come down and get physical in the tackle box. Torrence processes the play ahead of him quickly, proceeding to establish an angle and move aggressively on that path - lining him up in the path of the running back.
And then, ka-boom. Torrence lays the running back out, sending him falling backward and out of bounds despite the hit coming closer to the numbers.
Torrence will focus on getting stronger in the strength program in order to continue making these types of physical tackles at the next level, as he has the click-and close aspect down.
Whether Torrence earns early playing time on defense or not, he should at least earn reps on the kickoff and punt coverage teams.
He translates his processing, clicking and closing, and physicality to special teams as well, which head coach Dan Mullen and special teams coordinator/running backs coach Greg Knox covet.
Those traits result in the forced fumble above, on a perfectly angled open-field tackle.
A good portion of Florida's 2020 haul has the ability to play special teams, so it will be interesting to see which signees grab a hold of a role early on. Torrence is a favorite to do so.
In deep off-man coverage on the rep above, Torrence brings out much of the same traits we saw in run support and special teams earlier.
Only this time, Torrence utilizes clean footwork with his processing to follow his motioned slot receiver across the pre-snap formation, and on the deep crossing route towards the front corner of the endzone.
Torrence navigates traffic well on the deep crossing pattern, with the weak-side X-receiver running one against the boundary cornerback as well. That is a polished, mature coverage skill on Torrence's part, that keeps him in position to close on the pass. Torrence lays out the receiver as the ball comes in, and the pass ends up incomplete.
With a quick backpedal, fluid hips, and an angle to create depth, Torrence bails out his cornerback who gets beat on a boundary go-route on the clip above.
Torrence doesn't provide the track speed of some other defensive backs in this class, but he understands the importance of technique in coverage, provides short-area burst, and is fluid in his footwork and flipping his hips.
Those two factors can overcome a lack of long speed in two-deep safety coverages, especially considering McDaniel is a former track athlete. The two should former a formidable duo, as hybrid safeties with balancing strengths.
When speed or a receiver's route does get the best of Torrence, his technique once again comes into play.
The slot runs a corner-post and with good speed out of his breaks, he beats Torrence as the cushion closes. But, Torrence keeps his feet underneath him as he reacts to the outside steps of the route, which allows him to spin swiftly in reaction to the double move.
Torrence's short-area burst allows him to get right back in stride with the receiver, and from there, he records another pass breakup.
Torrence may not provide the same athletic ceiling of other defensive backs in Florida's 2020 recruiting haul, but he's a sound safety with a desire to play the run and get physical in coverage. Being a hybrid, physical player, Torrence could also see some action at the STAR nickel cornerback position.
His willingness to be physical, polished technique for a prospect, and processing abilities make Torrence a candidate to receive snaps at safety as a freshman, just as McDaniel's strengths and hybrid abilities also provide.
Though, Torrence has the benefit of enrolling early to compete at the safety position, with only three meaningfully experienced players returning in 2020 and all of which having shown some inconsistencies during their careers.
Could Torrence be the breakout player of Gators' spring football?