The Florida Gators head into the 2020 season with a bit of a challenge at safety due to the way they have rotated the position under head coach Dan Mullen and defensive coordinator Todd Grantham.
Following the departure of long-time safety Gators Jeawon Taylor, who graduated earlier this year, the Gators will be in search of his replacement, and that may come in the form of incoming four-star freshman safety Rashad Torrence II.
It has been well-documented that the Gators prefer to rotate their safeties, so much so, that the team essentially needs four starting safeties in order to field their defense in any given week. While the team is returning players such as Brad Stewart, Donovan Stiner, Shawn Davis and Quincy Lenton, there remains room for improvement.
After losing out on four-star Deland (Fla.) safety Avantae Williams during the 2019-2020 recruiting cycle, the Gators will need to rely on other incoming players to fill his role.
Torrence, a 2020-early-enrolee out of Marietta (Ga.), has the pedigree and the talent to begin his playing time early, as the Gators have shown in the past they aren't afraid to do.
Last season, a couple of the Gators' freshmen defenders had opportunities to suit up and receive legitimate playing time. Players such as Kaiir Elam and Khris Bogle each played in at least eight games in 2019, with Elam earning himself a few starts down the stretch.
Due to being an early enrollee, Torrence should have a leg-up on several incoming Gators freshmen and could see playing time earlier than expected as a result.
While there isn't much time to necessarily suit up and learn the playbook in quick-fashion as an early enrollee, a player can improve on their strength and conditioning, something pivotal to the rigors of a college football season.
Gators head coach Dan Mullen spoke highly of his early-enrollee players shortly after national signing day earlier this year.
"Yeah, you know, I'm really pleased with them. I think they've done a good job. I think everybody is in pretty good shape," said Mullen when asked about players standing out as early enrollees.
"One of the things I told all of them before they got here, I don't care how much you lift weights. I could care less whether you can lift 400 or 100 pounds...They've done a great job with that, all of them. Really positive in their growth development and what they've been able to do within the workouts so far, so it's not like, hey, we've had to hold this guy back. They've finished every workout."
In high school, the 6-foot-0, 195-pound Torrence accounted for 111 tackles in his senior season, high production for a high school athlete.
The Gators have plenty of options, and one of them could even include veteran defensive back Trey Dean III, who Mullen has stated before would play wherever he feels more "comfortable". However, don't be surprised to see a young buck such as Torrence learning on the fly, so to speak, this season.