By Edgar Thompson | Orlando Sentinel
3:07 PM PDT, April 24, 2013
Even though the Gators lost seven starters from one of the nation's best defenses, Gators coach Will Mushcamp should have a lot of options next season.
Florida's two-deep depth chart entering the summer reflects Muschamp's goal to get the best 11 defenders on the field in 2013.
Begin with redshirt junior linebacker Ronald Powell, who will return in the fall from a knee injury suffered last spring. The 6-foot-4, 240-pound Powell will move from the Buck position - a pass-rushing postion he played in 2011 - to the Sam position - traditionally a versatile run and pass coverage linebacker.
Sophomore Dante Fowler Jr., who dominated the spring game, is penciled in as the starter the the Buck position.
"To get our best guys on the field is a lengthy discussion we’ve had as a defensive staff," Muschamp said, "and certainly Ronald, we feel like’s going to be one of those guys."
There are others, beginning with senior Jaylen Watkins.
A starting cornerback in 2012, Watkins will move to safety following the loss of Josh Evans and Matt Elam. The 6-foot, 181-pound Watkins had three interceptions and eight pass breakups to go with 35 tackles.
Loucheiz Purifoy and Marcus Roberson will be the starters at cornerback. Muschamp said Wednesday that Purifoy will have a role at wide receiver next season, where he worked some during the spring. But Purifoy will spend the first 12 practices of fall camp soley at cornerback as Florida's other receiving candidates get a chance to shine.
Defensive lineman Dominique Easley, similar to Sharrif Floyd a season ago, will move from end to tackle to shore up the middle. It also will get sophomore Jonathan Bullard, who had eight quaterback hurries in a limited role as a freshman, on the field at end.
The development of senior Darrin Kitchens as an inside linebacker allows him to move from the Sam to the Will position. He will line up inside next to sophomore Mike linebacker Antonio Morrison, who made an indelible mark this spring.
New outside linebackers coach Jeff Choate is excited by the linebacking unit's versatility.
"What offenses do to you nowadays in terms of spreading you out and going up tempo and not allowing you to get in any sub-packages," he said. "That really puts a premium on kids that can do more than one thing."
All the moves, including several in back-up roles on offense, are a lot to digest, but things are sure to change again in a few months.
For one, Muschamp listed just one of the six early enrollees - freshman wide receiver Demarcus Robinson - on the summer two-deep depth chart. Freshman running back Kelvin Taylor's omission is a surprise, given he had a strong spring "game," while Brown looked pretty average on April 6.
For now here is the complete list:
QB: Jeff Driskel (6-4, 236, junior), Tyler Murphy (6-2, 206, R-junior)
RB: Matt Jones (6-2, 226, sophomore), Mack Brown (5-11, 213, R-junior)
FB: Hunter Joyer (5-10, 235, sophomore), Gideon Ajagbe (6-3, 243, R-junior)
X: Quinton Dunbar (6-1, 195, R-junior), Demarcus Robinson (6-2, 201, freshman)
Z: Latroy Pittman (6-0, 208, sophomore), Andre Debose (5-11, 189, R-senior)
F: Trey Burton (6-0, 225, senior), Pittman
LT: D.J. Humphries (6-5, 280, sophomore), Trenton Brown (6-8, 363, junior)
LG: Max Garcia (6-5, 307, R-junior), Ian Silberman (6-5, 290, R-junior)
C: Jonotthan Harrison (6-3, 302, R-senior), Kyle Koehne (6-5, 315, R-senior)
RG: Jon Halapio (6-3, 315, R-senior), Trip Thurman (6-5, 313, R-sophomore)
RT: Tyler Moore (6-6, 312, R-sophomore), Chaz Green (6-5, 305 R-junior)
TE: Clay Burton (6-4, 253, junior), Tevin Westbrook (6-5, 262, junior)
End: Jonathan Bullard (6-3, 265, sophomore), Bryan Cox Jr. (6-3, 260, R-freshman)
Nose: Damien Jacobs (6-3, 286, senior), Leon Orr (6-5, 310, R-junior),
Tackle: Dominique Easley (6-2, 283, senior), Darious Cummings (6-1, 309, junior)
Buck: Dante Fowler Jr. (6-3, 263, sophomore), Ronald Powell (6-4, 240 R-junior)
Sam: Powell, Neiron Ball (6-3, 235, R-sophomore)
Mike: Antonio Morrison (6-1, 229, sophomore), Michael Taylor (6-0, 231, R-junior)
Will: Darrin Kitchens (6-2, 230, senior), Taylor
RCB: Louchiez Purifoy (6-0, 190, junior), Cody Riggs (5-9, 184, R-junior)
S: Jaylen Watkins (6-0, 181, senior), Valdez Showers (5-11, 190, R-sophomore)
S: Marcus Maye (6-0, 200, R-freshman) OR Valdez Showers (5-11, 190, R-sophomore)
LCB: Marcus Roberson (6-0, 195, junior), Brian Poole (5-10, 203, sophomore)
Nickel: Riggs, Poole
Dime: Maye, Showers.
K: Brad Phillips (5-10, 191, senior) OR Austin Hardin (5-10, 205, R-freshman)
Holder: Murphy, T. Burton
Kick returner: Debose OR Purifoy OR Solomon Patton (5-9, 168, senior)
P: Kyle Christy (6-3, 193, junior), Justin Vogel (6-4, 200, R-freshman)
Punt returner: Roberson, T. Burton
Long snapper: Drew Ferris (6-1, 212, R-junior), Kyle Crofoot (6-3, 206, R-sophomore)
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