Devy Team Review: Florida Gators

AJ Fernandez

Dan Mullen has a batch of exciting offensive players at his disposal. Here we go in depth on NFL hopefuls.

As a Florida alumnus, I take great pleasure in writing this review as there are finally some players to be excited about in The Swamp. Since the departure of Urban Meyer, the Gator offense has been thoroughly depressing. While the program has churned out NFL talent, none of them have been fantasy-relevant.

Through improved recruiting and some good use of the transfer portal, Dan Mullen has some potential diamonds in the rough. Virtually all of these players can be had in the last round of your devy drafts, and I think some will pop in 2020.

Quarterback (DLF devy positional ADP, overall ADP, my positional rank)

Kyle Trask (6’5” 239) – NR, NR, QB12

One of the feel-good stories of 2019 was Trask starting his first game since his freshman year of high school. As a prep QB, he was the understudy to D’Eriq King who committed to Houston then transferred to Miami. Trask caught the eye of Gator scouts and he was offered a scholarship despite his backup role.

When Feleipe Franks went down against Kentucky, Trask entered with a 21-10 deficit and rallied the Gators to a 29-21 victory with three fourth-quarter touchdown drives. He went on to deliver an 8-2 record in his starts capping his dream season with a victory over Virginia in the Orange Bowl.

Trask was good enough to be put on many analyst’s short list of top senior quarterbacks in the country entering 2020. When peeking under the hood, he meets two important thresholds for future success with a very good +8.9% completion percentage over expected along with an 8.3 yards per attempt. He displays confidence and a calm pocket presence but watching the throws I have concerns about arm strength and accuracy. Unfortunately, he offers zero on the ground, so I am bearish on his fantasy potential.

Emory Jones (6’2” 199) – NR, NR, NR

One of the most exciting coups of the 2018 recruiting class has yet to do much for Florida. Jones arrived as a raw dual-threat quarterback, and that is how the coaching staff has deployed him so far. He has only seen time in rushing packages and mop-up duty. With Trask entrenched as the starter this year, we will have to wait on an Emory Jones break out.

The tools remain intriguing as he has shown a live arm and rumbled for 256 yards on the ground in limited action a season ago. I am concerned he wasn’t able to edge out Trask given his strengths and Mullen’s scheme.

Anthony Richardson (6’4” 224) – NR, NR, QB24

I wanted to include Richardson because he is the definition of a high-upside freshman. A local product, he was fairly unnoticed until his senior year when he gained a fourth star and some big-time offers. ARich was the SPARQ champion at The Opening, showing elite athleticism. Another promising quality is that he limited interceptions in high school, only throwing 19 in 32 career games. If you want to get crazy with me, he has Cam Newton upside.

Running Back

Dameon Pierce (5’10” 207) – NR, NR, RB41

I was very excited to land Pierce as a recruit, as I thought he had good wiggle and vision. In limited duty, he’s shown efficiency averaging about six yards per touch. Pierce will get first crack at feature back duties this coming season in what should be a solid Gator offense. Should he earn the lion’s share of the touches, he’ll rocket up draft boards. He has home-run speed, but I would like to see him add five or ten pounds before entering the NFL.

Lorenzo Lingard (6’0” 200) – NR, NR, RB47

Formerly one of the top recruits in the nation, Lingard suffered a knee injury his freshman year and eventually transferred out of Miami. He lands on a loose Florida depth chart and will be eligible immediately. Lingard is explosive, but whether he is a complete running back remains to be seen. His gait is a little awkward and he looks more like a track sprinter than a running back at times. Look for a timeshare in 2020 but he’s got a high ceiling.

Wide Receiver

Trevon Grimes (6’5” 214) – NR, NR, WR46

Grimes transferred to Florida after heading to Ohio State as a five-star recruit in 2017. He was injured early in his career in Columbus and never made an impact. He has prospect pedigree and intriguing attributes but has yet to break out. The good news is that there is tons of room for someone to have a monster season with 179 receptions, 2,133 yards and 21 touchdowns gone from the 2019 team.

He’s a smooth mover for his size and has WR1 potential. Grimes has a good chance to be the biggest riser on this team and I can see a Chase Claypool-like ascension during the draft season.

Jacob Copeland (6’0” 192) – NR, NR, WR43

Continuing a disturbing trend, Copeland represents another high-profile offensive recruit yet to produce for the Gators. However, there should be plenty of opportunity in 2020 as Mullen called about seven more pass plays per game with Trask at the helm. Copeland has as much straight-line speed as anyone but needs to show he’s a complete receiver. He had his best game later in the season against South Carolina so hopefully he will build on that.

Justin Shorter (6’4” 235) – NR, NR, WR44

Oh look, another former five star who transferred to Florida after bombing. Shorter was one of my favorite recruits in the 2018 class but like many players who have made their way to UF, he failed to do anything after an early career injury. There is some hope attached to him after being named 247sports’ top WR in his class. As mentioned above, there is a lot of opportunity for someone to step up and make a name for themselves this season. He has silky moves and a true alpha receiver frame.

Xzavier Henderson (6’4” 180) – NR, NR, NR

Brother of first-round pick CJ Henderson, Xzavier could be in line for early production as a freshman. Mullen likes big WRs on the outside and Henderson is no different. With a massive catch radius and good speed, projects him as an eventual early pick in the NFL Draft. It’s worth taking a flier on any Gator receiver in deep devy leagues and his ceiling may be the highest.

Kadarius Toney (5’11” 194) – NR, NR, NR

A proverbial Swiss army knife, Toney has been used sparingly in his three years on campus. He has flashed devastating open-field moves, provoking many fans to wish he saw the ball more often. Despite the sizzle, he has only seen 50 receptions and 47 rushes in his career. I can see him being a draft process riser as a gadget player analysts fall in love with. However, unless he’s featured this upcoming season I am not interested from a fantasy point of view.

Jaquavion Fraziars (6’4” 194) – NR, NR, NR

Doing my due diligence, Fraziars deserves to at least be on your radar. He is a possible redshirt candidate but with the attrition at receiver, I think he’ll see playing time. A four-star recruit, he is a bully at the catch point and we’ll see if there’s more to him once the lights come on.

Tight End

Kyle Pitts (6’6” 239) – TE1, 34, TE2

Currently the DLF devy TE1, Pitts moves like water on his long frame. Any tight end that leads his team in receptions as a sophomore has to be taken seriously. Combine that with superb athleticism and the ability to line up wide or in the slot and you have all the ingredients for a fantasy superstar at TE.

The blocking ability may cause some teams to balk but as an offensive weapon his upside is unmatched. Pitts is almost a first-round lock in next year’s draft and could have an Evan Engram-like rookie year.

Keon Zipperer (6’2” 232) – NR, NR, NR

Zipperer arrived as an athletic marvel but redshirted. He’ll spell Kyle Pitts but he has a quality profile as a catch-first TE.


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