- Mike DiRocco, ESPN Jacksonville Jaguars reporter
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. 29 Rhaheim Ledbetter
Redshirt freshman fullback
Expectations for 2013: The 5-foot-9, 207-pound Ledbetter was a safety until the spring, when coach Will Muschamp moved him and linebacker Gideon Ajagbe to offense to provide depth behind starting fullback Hunter Joyer. The move was made to ease the physical burden on Joyer, who has been the only scholarship fullback on the roster the past two seasons. The coaching staff feared an injury to Joyer would devastate the offense, because there was no one who could fill the void as a lead blocker.
Best-case scenario in 2013: Lebetter is No. 3 on the depth chart and likely won’t get much work as a blocker, although UF coach Will Muschamp said Ledbetter did a solid job as a blocker during spring ball. He’ll be more of a factor in the passing game as a receiver. Throwing to the backs is something coordinator Brent Pease said would be featured more in 2013, and Ledbetter gives the Gators almost a scat-back option.
Worst-case scenario in 2013: Ledbetter certainly will get work on special teams, and that’s where he could see most of his playing time. Joyer and Ajagbe will play the bulk of the snaps, and it’s unclear just how much the Gators will throw to the backs. Matt Jones and Mack Brown are solid receivers and would be the top two options.
Future impact: It’s hard to find fullbacks in high school, so Ledbetter should be in line to become the Gators’ top option there in 2015 -- provided he gains weight and continues to improve as a blocker.
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.