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Florida Gators 2024 Spring Roster Takeaways

Takeaways from the newly unveiled Florida Gators 2024 spring football roster.

Spring football has arrived in Gainesville. 

On Thursday, the Florida Gators will take the practice field for the first time since November. But the personnel — both players and coaches — will look drastically different after another talent overhaul this offseason. 

As a result, on Wednesday, Florida released its official 2024 spring football roster, providing a first glimpse of the team ahead of the upcoming campaign.

You can find All Gators' most significant takeaways from the roster below. 

New names, new numbers

Although Billy Napier has deviated from the program's traditional practice of jersey numbers holding meaning, any time the No. 1 jersey is vacated, considerable intrigue looms regarding who will be awarded the once-coveted number from the fanbase.

This offseason, the No. 1 was up for grabs on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball.

Two undenied program leaders heading into year three of the current regime emerged to don the uniform.

Running back Montrell Johnson Jr. and defensive end Justus Boone are slated to occupy the number, according to 

Johnson returns for his third season with Florida, expected to command a heavy workload in the backfield following the departure of his backfield partner Trevor Etienne to Georgia. Averaging a team-high 817 yards, 5.4 yards per carry and five scores a year ago, Johnson's proven to possess a reliable skillset as a rusher, pass protector and pass catcher during his time at UF.

Boone, coming off an ACL tear suffered prior to the 2023 campaign, continues to serve as a coaching-staff favorite entering his fourth year at Florida. He'll assume critical responsibilities on the edge and in the defensive meeting room for the Gators this season.

A handful of other returning contributors underwent number changes this offseason as well, including defensive back Sharif Denson — who switches back to No. 0 after wearing No. 4 in the final seven contests a season ago.

Florida's transfers and class of 2024 freshmen received numbers for the first time in orange and blue.

All Gators has included the number designations for each piece, new and returning, below.

  • DB Sharif Denson (Sophomore) - 0
  • EDGE Justus Boone (Redshirt Junior) - 1
  • RB Montrell Johnson Jr. (Senior) - 1
  • QB DJ Lagway (Freshman) - 2
  • WR TJ Abrams (Freshman) - 4
  • DB Teddy Foster (Freshman) - 4
  • LB Myles Graham (Freshman) - 5
  • RB Treyaun Webb (Sophomore) - 5
  • DB Trikweze Bridges (Transfer) - 7
  • EDGE Ja'Markis Weston (Redshirt Senior) - 9
  • WR Tank Hawkins (Freshman) - 10
  • LB Grayson Howard (Transfer) - 10
  • DB DJ Douglas (Transfer) - 12
  • QB Paul Kessler (Walk-on Transfer) - 12
  • RB Jadan Baugh (Freshman) - 13
  • QB Aidan Warner (Walk-on Transfer) - 16
  • WR Chimere Dike (Transfer) - 17
  • EDGE LJ McCray (Freshman) - 17
  • QB Clay Millen (Transfer) - 18
  • DB Asa Turner (Transfer) - 20
  • RB KD Daniels (Freshman) - 21
  • DB Josiah Davis (Freshman) - 23
  • DB Jameer Grimsley (Freshman) - 26
  • DB Gregory Smith III (Freshman) - 30
  • EDGE Brien Taylor Jr. (JUCO Transfer) - 33
  • DL D'Antre Robinson (Freshman) - 35
  • K Hunter Smith (Walk-on Transfer) - 41
  • DB Ethan Wilson (Walk-on Redshirt Senior) - 46
  • EDGE George Gumbs Jr. (Redshirt Junior) - 49
  • P Jack Muse (Walk-on Transfer) - 49
  • LB Jake Xeller (Walk-on Freshman) - 50
  • OL Mike Williams (Freshman) - 55
  • OL Chase Stevens (Walk-on Freshman) - 60
  • OL Brandon Crenshaw Dickson (Transfer) - 65
  • OL Fletcher Westphal (Freshman) - 68
  • OL Dameion George Jr. (Redshirt Junior) - 70
  • OL Noel Portnjagin (Freshman) - 74
  • OL Devon Manuel (Transfer) - 79
  • TE Gavin Hill (Redshirt Freshman) - 87
  • DL Michai Boireau (Freshman) - 93
  • DL Joey Slackman (Transfer) - 97

Scholarship Count 

Florida retooled its roster this offseason, bringing in several key transfer contributors and highly regarded prep talent to supplement the unit's talent and depth.

Thirty-two additions were made in total to complement the preexisting group this offseason. Every position received at least one new face. 

As a result, Florida's two-deep seems better equipped to withstand the attrition that comes during a season in the SEC.

However, according to the newly released spring roster, the Gators currently sit one player over the 85-man scholarship limit.

By All Gators' count, there are 86 scholarship athletes on the 2024 spring roster, presenting a predicament for UF in the near future. They don't have to be at or under that number until fall camp begins, but it indeed suggests more outward movement when the next transfer portal window opens post-spring.

Weight gains/losses from returning pieces

As strength and conditioning staffs have become more prevalent in the sport throughout the 21st century, monitoring physical composition progress has grown increasingly popular.

That's especially true at the University of Florida.

Since he arrived in Gainesville, defensive tackle Desmond Watson has stood under the microscope in that regard. Entering the program at 400 pounds in 2021, the expectation was for the Plant City, Fla., native to drop weight to perform at a consistently high rate without worrying about fatigue.

However, the scales went up instead of down, fluctuating between 415 and 450 during his sophomore and junior years.

Rumors of Watson dropping under 400 pounds surfaced this time last year, although his official weight on the Gators website never dropped below 415.

When he stepped on to get official measurements for this spring, he saw the scale once again go in the wrong direction, weighing in at 464 pounds. The continued gain suggests another step backward in his body transformation efforts. 

On a positive note, wideouts Eugene Wilson III and Aidan Mizell have seemingly benefitted from the collegiate weightlifting regimen, which is now led by Tyler Miles.

Wilson, who starred as an explosive weapon for the Gators offseason a season ago, has packed on 11 pounds since his arrival in Gainesville last season, moving from 170 pounds as a summer enrollee to 181 pounds entering his first spring with the program.

His fellow class of 2023 pass-catching weapon, Mizell, has also made considerable strides in the process of filling out his slender frame. Arriving on campus last January at just below 170 pounds, Mizell underwent a transition year to grow physically acclimated to the SEC — although he got his feet wet with two appearances throughout the year.

He's impressively climbed to 182 pounds, presenting the opportunity to crack an open wide receiver rotation in his second season with the unit if he continues on the current path.

Several others have either gained or lost weight from a season ago. Below, you can find a list of players who saw considerable changes to their bodies since the 2023 fall camp, when they were last measured in.

  • WR Eugene 'Tre' Wilson: Up 11, 170 pounds to 181 pounds
  • WR Aidan Mizell: Up 12, 170 pounds to 182 pounds
  • OL Austin Barber: Up 16, 300 pounds to 316 pounds
  • OL Bryce Lovett: Down 10, 335 pounds to 325 pounds
  • OL Damieon George Jr.: Up 12, 350 pounds to 362 pounds
  • OL Caden Jones: Down 14, 350 pounds to 336 pounds
  • OL Kamryn Waites: Up 15, 350 pounds to 365 pounds
  • OL Roderick Kearney: Up 17, 285 pounds to 302 pounds
  • DB Jordan Castell: Down 13, 220 pounds to 207 pounds
  • LB RJ Moten: Up 10, 220 pounds to 230 pounds
  • DL Desmond Watson: Up 29, 435 pounds to 464 pounds
  • DL Cam Jackson: Up 14, 360 pounds to 374 pounds

Transfer classes

Florida made several roster additions via the transfer portal this offseason to fill glaring holes at several positions.

Notably, the unit added two pieces to the exterior offensive line and three to the secondary—four including freshman Jameer Grimsley, who signed and enrolled at Alabama before transferring to UF following Nick Saban's retirement—showcasing an evident focal point for increased talent and depth in those two groups.

Unlike in years past, most of the additions they made bring considerable experience to the table. Wide receiver Chimere Dike, offensive tackle Brandon Crenshaw-Dickson, safeties Asa Turner, Trikweze Bridges and DJ Douglas, and defensive tackle Joey Slackman possess considerable playing time at the collegiate level under their belt.

Those proven producers Napier and Co. brought in have the potential to elevate what is expected to be another youthful unit in 2024.

But, in the current world of college sports, with rapid team-to-team movement and COVID years still in the mix, monitoring eligibility is a daunting practice. Fortunately, the first roster full release of 2024 shed some light on how long each transfer pickup could remain in Gainesville.

  • DB Trikweze Bridges: Redshirt Senior
  • OL Brandon Crenshaw-Dickson: Redshirt Senior
  • WR Chimere Dike: Senior
  • DB DJ Douglas: Redshirt Senior
  • EDGE George Gumbs Jr.: Redshirt Junior
  • LB Grayson Howard: Sophomore
  • DB Jameer Grimsley: Freshman
  • OL Devon Manuel: Redshirt Junior
  • QB Clay Millen: Redshirt Junior
  • DL Joey Slackman: Graduate Transfer
  • DB Asa Turner: Redshirt Senior

Stay tuned to All Gators for continuous coverage of Florida Gators football, basketball and recruiting. Follow along on social media at @AllGatorsOnFN on Twitter and All Gators on FanNation-Sports Illustrated on Facebook.