- Mike DiRocco, ESPN Staff Writer
During the summer, GatorNation will analyze each of the scholarship players on the Florida roster -- excluding the Gators’ 2013 recruiting class -- in our Gator Breakdown series. Starting with No. 1 Quinton Dunbar, we will go through the roster numerically, finishing with No. 97 Brad Phillips.
No. 21 Jabari Gorman
Expectations for 2013: This might sound like a recording, but Gorman is in no better situation than any of UF’s safeties. They have all struggled with on-field communication issues and no player has separated himself from the others. Gorman is the most experienced of the players competing to be a replacement for either Matt Elam or Josh Evans, having played in 25 games in his career. That makes him the leading candidate to fill one of the starting spots and he’ll enter August practices tied with redshirt freshman Marcus Maye atop the depth chart.
Best-case scenario in 2013: Gorman’s experience is mainly on special teams, but he has seen spot duty on defense (he had his only career interception against South Carolina last season). His biggest issue is consistency. If he can put together several weeks of solid practices in August, he should win the starting job. Nobody expects Gorman to be the next Elam, but the Gators do need someone in the back end who will not make mistakes and can keep teams from hitting the big play.
Worst-case scenario in 2013: Because he is the most experienced of the safeties and has worked with Will Muschamp for two seasons, it is a little disappointing that Gorman isn’t further along in his development. That’s partly why senior cornerback Jaylen Watkins was moved to safety in the spring and is expected to remain there at the beginning of the season. There is a lot of competition at safety and Gorman can’t afford to fall down the depth chart or his 2013 season will be spent mainly on special teams.
Future impact: Anyone who wins a starting job in the next several seasons will have more than earned it because there’s a lot of young talent at safety, especially with three incoming freshmen in Marcell Harris, Keanu Neal and Nick Washington. Muschamp, who coaches the safeties, now has many more options than when he first arrived. That constant competition for playing time is the best way to develop quality depth.
3dGreg Ostendorf and Alex Scarborough