Florida Gators: Jafar Mann

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Not everybody can get on the field right away. Some players take longer than others to develop.

Florida signed 23 players in 2012 and several made an immediate impact: offensive tackle D.J. Humphries, defensive linemen Jonathan Bullard and Dante Fowler Jr., and linebacker Antonio Morrison were Freshmen All-SEC. Others, however, didn’t get a single snap of playing time.

Here’s how we see the rest of the class shaping up:

Top of the class

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- It’s time to dip in to the GatorNation recruiting mailbag and answer your questions. Because of the number of questions we’ve received, we won’t be able to get to all of them today, but we encourage you to ask your questions on our Insider fan forum, The Chompions Club. Astute readers will also notice a new spot on our homepage where you can submit mailbag question about the football team at any time. We read every question we receive.

GatorT51: Do you think Mike Gillislee will be the featured back and get bulk of the carries against BG or do you think it will be by committee with Gillislee, Mack Brown, Matt Jones & Trey Burton getting an equal number of touches?

[+] EnlargePease
UF CommunicationsFlorida offensive coordinator Brent Pease held the same position at Boise State last season.
A: Gillislee will be the main back and I expect him to average about 15-18 carries per game this season. He had a fantastic spring and August and made his biggest improvement in pass protection. He’s had a nagging ankle injury the past two seasons but seems to be over that. Mack Brown and Matt Jones will get their share of carries against Bowling Green and the two will continue to battle throughout the season to be the No. 2 back behind Gillislee.

Impulse36: Haven't seen many Boise St. games, what is Pease's passing game like? Does he go with short passes, screens, throws that require timing? Does he usually throw it deep? From the spring practice, sounds like we play action into deep throws. The coaches (or possibly the reporters) tended to mention receivers getting behind the defense and catching deep passes. Are the QBs capable of making that quick three-step drop slant throw (pinpoint accuracy) or are they more suited for throwing deep (strong arm)? How much is expected of the QB at the line of scrimmage, is he expected to make hot reads, call out blitzes? Thanks!

A: Whew, long list of stuff. I’ll try and answer it all as succinctly as I can. Pease’s offense uses all of those things, and one of the things I’m eager to see is the screen game. UF hasn’t really been a good screen team, with the running backs, anyway, and I’ve always thought that was an area in which the Gators could excel. The problem the QBs are having right now, though, is in their timing. They’re both holding onto the ball too long, which is normal for any young quarterback. Jacoby Brissett seems to be having that trouble a bit more than Jeff Driskel because he doesn’t want to leave the pocket. There are some play-action deep throws, but I question the ability of the receivers to consistently get open.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Jafar Mann played guard and defensive tackle in high school. Florida’s coaches are still trying to figure out where he’ll end up.

The 6-foot-3, 293-pound Mann was a three-star prospect at Stone Mountain, Ga./Stephenson, and Florida signed him as a defensive tackle. He spent the majority of preseason practices working there, but has moved over to the offensive line and will spend the next few weeks there.

After that, the coaching staff will decide where he fits best.

"When we evaluated him, we knew he was a guy who could play nose tackle but also could play offensive guard," defensive coordinator Dan Quinn said Wednesday. "He played both in high school. When we started him off at defensive tackle, we did that for a couple weeks, and then we wanted to put him over at offensive line for a couple weeks and get the evaluation there.

"We took our time looking at him on defense. We’re going to do the same thing on offense. After this week or next, we’ll make a final determination."

Mann started on the offensive line as a sophomore and junior and played on both sides of the ball as a senior in high school. He was ranked No. 30 among defensive tackles by ESPN.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida has lost a pair of reserve defensive linemen to knee injuries this week, and at least one is definitely out for the season.

UF coach Will Muschamp said Friday that senior defensive tackle Nick Alajajian suffered a fractured right knee and will miss the 2012 season and redshirt junior defensive end Kedric Johnson suffered a dislocated left knee and will miss a significant period of time. Both players were involved in special teams and haven't made any impact on defense, but losing those two does hurt the Gators in terms of veteran depth.

Alajajian (6-foot-4, 285 pounds) was a reserve offensive lineman for his first three seasons but was moved to defensive tackle in the spring. Johnson has just nine tackles and one sack in 25 career games.

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ESPN’s GatorNation is previewing each position leading up to the start of the season. Every Friday until the season kicks off, Michael DiRocco and Jeff Barlis will analyze the players, tell you who is starting and why, and provide a breakdown of the depth at the position. This week it’s the defensive line.

The starters: DE/LB Lerentee McCray (RSr.), DT Dominique Easley (Jr.), DT Omar Hunter (RSr.), DE Sharrif Floyd (Jr.)

The backups: DE/LB Dante Fowler, Jr. (Fr.), DE/LB Gideon Ajagbe (RSo.), DE/LB Kedric Johnson (RJr.), DE/LB Alex McCalister (Fr.), DE/LB Bryan Cox, Jr. (Fr.), DT Leon Orr (RSo.), DT Damien Jacobs (Jr.), DT Dante Phillips (Fr.), NT Nick Alajajian (Sr.), DT Quinteze Williams (Fr.), DT Jafar Mann (Fr.), DE Jonathan Bullard (Fr.)

Comment: The line would be much better with DE/LB Ronald Powell, who is out for at least part of the season with a torn ACL. There is a lot of depth, which is in contrast to last season. Easley and Floyd have All-SEC potential, and the hope is some of the freshmen will develop enough to allow the Gators to slide Floyd inside to tackle, which is his more natural position. McCray was having a solid season last year until a shoulder injury caused him to miss four of the final five games. Fowler and Cox could see a lot of time at DE/LB (which UF calls the buck) early in practice to see if they can handle the spot.

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Q&A: Florida DT signee Jafar Mann 

April, 4, 2012
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Over the next few weeks GatorNation will have a series of Q&As with Florida's incoming freshmen. Next up is Stone Mountain (Ga.) Stephenson defensive tackle Jafar Mann, who will enroll at Florida for Summer B in June.

GN: What number will you wear next season?

Mann: When I went down there for my official visit, they gave me my old high school number -- 55. But I want a single digit number at Florida. A lot of them are taken, so maybe a number like 11 or 12.

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What to expect on signing day 

January, 31, 2012
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Will it be boom or bust for the Gators on signing day?

The hoopla actually gets started early, as defensive end Darius Hamilton will make his decision on Tuesday at 8 p.m., ET. He's down to Rutgers, Florida and Miami.

On Wednesday, several top prospects who have the Gators near the top of their lists will announce. Wish so many unknowns heading into signing day, here's a chronological look at announcement details for some of the top prospects.

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Chomp Confidential: Recruiting notes 

January, 26, 2012
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- GatorNation brings you the latest installment of Chomp Confidential, a look inside Florida football recruiting for GatorNation subscribers only. As with anything exclusive, what's reported in the weekly Chomp Confidential must stay here. A few things discussed in this week's update:

• The latest on the quarterback situation
• Will a commit qualify?
• Derek's mock class

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Where UF recruiting stands on defense 

January, 25, 2012
[+] EnlargeMarcus Maye
David De PasMarcus Maye could see early playing time with his ability to play the run and the pass.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida's recruiting board is taking its final shape, as detailed in Tuesday's look at the offense. Here is a position-by-position look at where the Gators currently stand on defense:

Commits: Marcus Maye and Rhaheim Ledbetter
Prospects: none

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Big recruiting weekend on tap at Florida 

January, 20, 2012
[+] EnlargeTracy Howard
William Wilkerson/ESPN.comTracy Howard, ESPNU's No. 1 cornerback, will visit Florida this weekend.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The Florida Gators are bringing in a handful of top prospects this weekend and some commits to help recruit them. The 2012 recruiting cycle is coming down to the wire, as there are less than two weeks left until National Signing Day.

There will be a few prospects visiting next weekend, but this weekend will be the Gators' biggest recruiting push before signing day.

Stefon Diggs (Olney, Md./Our Lady of God Counsel) and Tracy Howard (Miramar, Fla./Miramar) headline the list of official visitors. Diggs enjoyed his trip to Auburn last week, but now the talented athlete turns his attention to Gainesville. Diggs will be joined by his mother, his mother’s boyfriend and possibly one of his brothers. Howard, the No. 1-ranked corner in the country according to ESPNU, will be making a trip to LSU next weekend, so expect Florida to pull out all the stops for this shut-down corner.

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Florida loses juco commitment

January, 9, 2012
Junior college defensive tackle Visesio Salt (Walnut, Calif./Mt. San Antonio) has decommitted from Florida and switched his pledge to Utah. Salt confirmed the switch via text message Monday night.

Salt was one of two juco defensive tackle commits for the Gators. The other, Damian Jacobs (Gray, La./East Mississippi CC) has already enrolled at Florida.

In addition to Jacobs, the Gators have defensive tackle commitments from Jafar Mann (Stone Mountain, Ga./Stephenson) and Dante Phillips (Venice, Fla./Venice).

Chomp Confidential: Recruiting notes

December, 22, 2011

GatorNation brings you the latest installment of Chomp Confidential, a look inside Florida football recruiting for GatorNation subscribers only. As with anything confidential, what's reported in the weekly Chomp Confidential must stay in The Chompions Club forum. We are providing this information for our subscribers and expect you will keep the information here. A few things discussed in this week's update:

  • The latest on Jonathan Bullard
  • Gators offer new wide receiver
  • Is DT Dalvin Tomlinson still visiting?
  • Most likely to end up in Florida's class

Check out the weekly Chomp Confidential.

What I learned this weekend 

November, 14, 2011
Elder sets first official
Four-star safety Chaz Elder (College Park, Ga./Banneker) has set up his first official visit and will hit South Carolina on Nov. 25. Elder, 6-2 and 185 pounds, will likely also set up visits to Georgia and Vanderbilt. If the list grows, watch out for are Arizona State and LSU. Don’t be surprised if he visits one of both of those schools.

But Elder could go ahead and decide to pull the trigger in two weeks when he’s in Columbia as the Gamecocks are thought to be the frontrunner at this time.

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McElwain discusses new Florida football
SEC Network's Greg McElory and Booger McFarland sit down to discuss the future of Florida football with head coach Jim McElwain.