The defending SEC East champion Florida football team opens spring practice on Feb.28. Coming off of a 9-4 season under second-year head coach Jim McElwain, the Gators will look to solve their offensive woes heading into 2017.
Replacing the Gators Defense
The Gators lost several key players from last season’s elite defense, highlighted by defensive backs Quincy Wilson, Marcus Maye, and Jalen Tabor, linebackers Jarrad Davis and Alex Anzalone, and defensive lineman Caleb Brantley and Joey Ivie.
— Quincy Wilson (@dc_wilson954) January 31, 2017
Those players will participate in UF’s Pro Day, scheduled for March 28.
Additionally, the team will also look to replace Defensive Coordinator Geoff Collins after he left for the head coaching job of the Temple Owls this off season. Florida’s linebackers coach Randy Shannon is the lead candidate expected to fill the vacant coaching position.
Even with these losses, the Gators will enter the 2017 season as the defending SEC East Champion for the second consecutive year. Florida lost the SEC Championship to the eventual National Champion runner-up Alabama Crimson Tide. The Gators proceeded to route the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Outback Bowl behind the defense’s superior performance.
Elite 11 Finalist quarterback Jake Allen headlines the group of newcomers. Shoring up the offense and quarterback battle is a top priority for McElwain and his staff. Other significant recruits include OT Kadeem Telfort, DT Kyree Campbell, DE Zachary Carter, and CB Brad Stewart. The Gator’s football recruiting class currently ranks 21st nationally and 7th in the SEC according to 247 Sports Composite Rankings with 17 recruits.
— Gators Football (@GatorsFB) January 30, 2017
Heading in to next season, Florida is ranked 21st by ESPN, 14th by Sporting News, 21st by Pro Football Focus and 18th by SB Nation. They are unranked by CBS.
Important Off season Dates and Events
February 28: Start of spring practices
March 28: UF Pro Day
April 7: Blue and Orange Game – Gators hold intrasquad scrimmage at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. This marks two years in a row with Friday night spring games.
Sept 2: Season opener against the Michigan Wolverines in AT&T Stadium