Florida Gators: CFN College Football Preview 2021

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Florida Gators: CFN College Football Preview 2021

2021 Preview

Florida Gators: CFN College Football Preview 2021

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4. Florida Gators College Football Preview 2021: Defense

The defense wasn’t that bad. The pass rush wasn’t great, there wasn’t a prayer of stopping Alabama in the SEC Championship or Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl, and there were way too many misfires in key spots against LSU and Texas A&M, but …

Okay, the D wasn’t up to normal Gator snuff, allowing 428 yards and 31 points per game. However, most of the time it was able to get the job done just enough to let the offense take care of the rest.

Start with the positives – the linebacking corps should be a menace. The trio of Ventrell Miller, Mohamoud Diabate and Amari Burney combined for 206 tackles – finishing 1st, 2nd, and 4th on the team, respectively. Miller is the mainstay on the inside, and Diabate and Burney will move around where needed.

The front should be okay, too, even without Tedarrell Slaton anchoring things on the nose. Senior Zachary Carter is a versatile 277-pound playmaker who can work inside or out – he led the team with five sacks – and Brenton Cox is a 250-pound hybrid on the outside who’ll be even more of a pass rusher.

Inside, landing 6-3, 318-pounders Daquan Newkirk from Auburn and Antonio Shelton from Penn State is a big deal, Antonio Valentino is another big body coming into the program, 6-6, 308-pound sophomore Gervon Dexter will be in the rotation, and for sheer bulk, get ready for 6-5, 432-pound Desmond Watson to see a little time.

The corners are back, but the safeties aren’t. Donovan Stiner (62 tackles), Brad Stewart (44), Shawn Davis (40) and Marco Wilson (33) are all done after an – let’s just say – interesting season, but they made a whole lot of tackles.

Sophomore Tre’Vez Johnson is a good looking safety who’ll likely take over Wilson’s spot at the Star position, and Rashad Torrence and Trey Dean should be among the team’s leading tacklers after combining for 59 tackles in a reserve safety role.

Kaiir Elam is a solid corner with good 6-2, 195-pound size at one corner – he tied for the the team lead with two interceptions – and Jaydon Hill got enough starting experience last year with 14 tackles and seven broken up passes to be a bigger factor.

– What You Need To Know: Offense
Top Players | Keys To The Season
What Will Happen, Win Total Prediction
Florida Gators Schedule Analysis

NEXT: Florida Gators College Football Preview 2021: Top Players

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