2017 Prespring Rankings: No. 11 Florida Gators
The 2017 prespring college football rankings, taking the first look at the Florida Gators
No. 11: Florida Gators
Florida Gators Prespring Status
It might not have been gorgeous football, but Florida has been to two straight SEC championship games, and you haven’t. Who cares how it all looked?
Yeah, the Gators have to be more dynamic – with a more interesting offense to go help out the fantastic defense – but Jim McElwain hasn’t done a bad job so far in two very good seasons. Soon, though, he’ll have to crank out a truly great one. Going to the conference title game is nice, but Florida is supposed to win it. It’s supposed to be a program that’s deep in the College Football Playoff mix every year.
This year’s O loses OT David Sharpe early to the NFL, but nine starters are back, and it’s really ten if you count banged up QB Luke Del Rio. The defensive side loses eight starters and needs a bit of an overhaul, and …
Florida Gators Biggest Issue
Where are the defensive stars? Leading tackler Marcell Harris is back, along with plenty of productive tacklers from last year. But Marcus Maye, Quincy Wilson, and Teez Tabor were special defensive backs who’ll make a huge impact in the next level, and Caleb Brantley was yet another elite defensive lineman who’s gone early, too. The Gators will be more than fine, but more future NFL-caliber players have to emerge and fill in the gaps for the D to be among the elite again.
Florida Gators Biggest Positive
The offensive line and the running game should be better. It was the hope coming into last season, too, with a few powerful backs expected to emerge,, Instead, the Gators ran for a paltry 1,667 yards and 11 scores, and was a disaster against just about everyone over the second half of the season.
As good as things have been under McElwain, the offense has yet to hit the 2,000-yard mark on the ground, but it probably will this year with four starters returning up front and almost all the rushing production back. This won’t be the nation’s 113th-ranked rushing game again.
Really, Why Are The Florida Gators Ranked Here?
It’s hard to sell Florida to a weary nation that witnessed the floundering against Florida State and Alabama in each of the last two years. But McElwain doesn’t get enough credit for cranking out teams that find ways to get the job done – at least until it’s time to meet the Seminoles and Crimson Tide.
Get ready for the 2017 Gators to be right back in the conference title hunt. This year’s team has more good options at quarterback, more veterans at the other skill spots, and an offense that should finally be more explosive – at least that’s the hope. The defense, though, will be one of the SEC’s biggest keys this spring to see how quickly it jells. Spoiler alert – it’ll be just fine.