Five Mid-Year Enrollees Who Could Stand Out in Florida's Spring Camp
With 15 prospects already enrolled in school, Florida is excited to get it's young talent on the field in spring camp, starting on March 16th.
The Gators lost plenty of key contributors and starters to graduation and the NFL Draft following a successful 2019 season, and will look to spring camp to see who can emerge to replace those contributors.
But that's exactly why Florida has brought in these early enrollees, both transfer students and freshmen. Spring camp gives these players an excellent opportunity to get ahead on the playbook, and potentially earn significant reps. Which of Florida's 15 mid-year enrollees have the best chance to stand out in camp?
Safety Rashad Torrence II
One of Florida's high-floor prospects in the 2020 signing class, Rashad Torrence II is my favorite to breakout in spring camp and earn early playing time.
The 6-0, 202 lb. safety may not possess the elite athleticism of fellow 2020 safety Mordecai McDaniel, but Torrence is a well-rounded safety who plays with a ton of physicality to defend the run and in coverage, but without drawing penalties. A fluid technician, Torrence possesses good footwork and fluid hips to cover ground and stay close to his coverage responsibility.
With a great understanding of the game, willingness to be physical, and of course, inconsistency plaguing Florida's safety position in 2019, Torrence made the right choice to enroll early and begin fighting for playing time. And he should receive it.
Offensive lineman Joshua Braun
Florida's offensive line is in for some major shakeup over the next two years, as the Gators signed four linemen in the 2020 class and five last year, though the 2020 class provided a lot more top-tier talent.
Joshua Braun is one of those top-tier talents.
The 6-6, 356 lb. lineman played both tackle and guard on both sides of the ball at Suwannee, and outside of football, Braun is a nimble tennis player as well. He moves extremely well for his size, and began practicing with the team in December prior to the Orange Bowl, so he can get ahead on the playbook and his development.
Given Braun's poise as a run blocker, size, versatility, and the whole nine yards, he can take advantage of Florida's porous offensive line and steal snaps from the incumbent starters. Whether it be at tackle or guard.
Cornerback Ethan Pouncey
After the loss of C.J. Henderson to the NFL Draft, the Gators are left with a bit of a void at field cornerback. The team has options, such as starting Marco Wilson and Kaiir Elam outside, but Wilson will also see plenty of time at STAR nickel cornerback in 2020. That leaves room for someone to step up.
Rising sophomores Jaydon Hill and Chester Kimbrough both have some playing experience to compete for snaps outside, and rising junior Trey Dean III moved back outside to finish the 2019 season. However, incoming freshman Ethan Pouncey is more than a dark horse to steal snaps.
Though Pouncey absolutely needs to bulk up in order to see consistent snaps in the SEC, at 6-1, 157 lbs., Pouncey is an extremely long and agile cornerback with elite coverage traits. He missed the majority of his senior season with an injury, but Pouncey posted a whopping eight interceptions, three pick-sixes, and 21 defended passes as a junior.
Running back Lorenzo Lingard
While unsure if Lorenzo Lingard will be eligible to play in 2020 or not, the former five star running back will be allowed to practice with the team in spring and has a great shot to stand out.
After losing Lamical Perine to the NFL, Florida is in a bit of limbo at running back. Dameon Pierce is the projected starter and has done well over his first two years at Florida, but could stand to improve as a receiver and pass protector. Behind Pierce is Malik Davis, who struggled in 2019 after back-to-back, season-ending lower-body injuries, as well as Iverson Clement and Nay'Quan Wright, who have combined for 20 career touches.
Lingard can, at least, provide Florida with some optimism regarding the future of the running back position after failing to sign a high school running back prospect in the 2020 class, with a flashy spring camp. And if Lingard ends up getting a waiver, he can carry momentum into the 2020 season and earn significant touches.
Wide receiver Jordan Pouncey
The brother of Ethan and a transfer from Texas, Jordan Pouncey could be another surprise in spring camp after compiling a mere two receptions for 19 yards across 24 offensive snaps in three years.
But, what provides that confidence in Pouncey? The fact that his skill-set should pair very well with incumbent starting quarterback Kyle Trask.
The Gators lost four starters at wide receiver following the 2019 season, and three of those four served as primary targets for Trask on West Coast-style routes including slants, mesh concepts, out routes, and curls. In his high school tape, Pouncey flashed short-area burst and quick processing abilities needed to get open on those types of routes.
Trask is a rhythmic passer and relied upon a great receiver corps in 2019 to move the ball. Pouncey is a candidate to step into a similar role, and his college experience could allow him to emerge as one of the leaders of Florida's young wide receiver room.