It’s taken some time, but senior running back Jordan Scarlett is starting to hit his stride in the Gator offense.
Scarlett, a redshirt junior, missed the entire 2017 football season due to suspension. Once he returned to the team, he had to learn a new offense under new head coach Dan Mullen. In this new offense Mullen emphasized protecting the ball and protecting the quarterback, something he had to improve on. On top of that, Scarlett had to break through a talented and deep backfield. Now four weeks into the 2018 season, Scarlett has begun to emerge as the clear starter at running back and maximize his athletic potential
Great win … on to the next one…,
— Jordan Scarlett (@ScarlettFever25) September 23, 2018
Getting Back Into Groove
Scarlett was named the starter going into the season, and has started every game so far. His production did not reflect that. In the first two games he rushed for 24 and 25 yards and failed to score.
“I had to knock off a little bit of [rust],” Scarlett said. In the third game against Colorado State, Scarlett showed steady improvement. He rushed for 56 yards and also scored his first touchdown of the season on a 30-yard run. That earned him more carries the next week against Tennessee. He made the most of them.
I'm a huge fan of Jordan Scarlett. He's got quicks, he's got longspeed, he's got power. Rarely brought down by first contact. pic.twitter.com/rPpgvQWIbr
— Jared Stanger (@JaredStanger) September 23, 2018
Scarlett upped his yardage total to 77 and scored another touchdown. While steadily improving, Scarlett is still adjusting. Not only to the playbook, but to the defenses as well.
Matching Up Against The Bulldogs
The Gators’ next opponent is Dan Mullen’s former team: the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Scarlett and the Gator rushing attack face a tough challenge as they go up against the monstrous Bulldog defensive front. Defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons and defensive end Montez Sweat are projected high NFL Draft picks, and Scarlett thinks highly of them.
The challenge is a big one, but Scarlett believes there are weaknesses they can try to exploit in the Bulldog defense.
Jordan Scarlett is still adjusting after missing a year of football. He is improving however, and should see an increased workload every week. He’s not faced a defensive front as challenging as Mississippi State’s, but they’ve not faced him either. He looks to make it more of a challenge for the Bulldogs.
The Mississippi State Bulldogs host the Florida Gators at 6 P.M. ET on Saturday, September 29th.