As the Gators Football Spring Camp has officially started, the Gators are bringing back a strong defense despite losing two big names off the roster. Here’s a look at the strength and depth the Gators have on the defensive line.
It is unquestionable that the team will have a large task when it comes to filling the shoes of Jachai Polite who forewent his senior season to pursue the NFL Draft.
Polite lead the nation in forced fumbles (6) and his team in sacks (11).
Jachai Polite is an elite QB hunter. pic.twitter.com/OOASWwCPNc
— Jordan Reid (@JReidNFL) February 8, 2019
Another Gator that will be missing on the D-line is Cece Jefferson.
Unlike Polite, Jefferson stayed and played his senior year at UF. Jefferson teetered off during his senior season, only producing 18 total tackles and 1 sack compared to 47 total tackles and 4.5 sacks his junior year.
Although his senior season was less productive compared to his junior year campaign, players will need to step up to fill both the spots Jefferson and Polite leave behind.
Good news for the Gators is that redshirt senior Jabari Zuniga will be back on the field wearing orange and blue. Zuniga had similar production to Polite, trailing closely behind him. In the past two years, Zuniga has recorded 70 total tackles and 11.5 sacks for 86 yards.
Unfortunately, Gators Football announced that redshirt junior Jeremiah Moon will miss most if not all of the team’s Spring Camp.
However, Moon put up impressive numbers last season. In 2018, Moon posted 31 total tackles, improving from his 23 in 2017.
Kyree Campbell will also be a veteran returning to the squad. Campbell also had a productive 2018 season, recording 37 total tackles.
Several other vets like Antonneous Clayton Sr., Luke Ancrum, Adam Shuler, and Marlon Dunlap Jr. will be back to help fill the gaps.
Fighting for Playing Time
Enter Jonathan Greenard.
Gators fans should be excited to see Greenard on the field this season. Greenard, a graduate transfer from Louisville, suffered from a hand injury his last year with the Cardinals, but led his team in tackles-for-loss and tied the team for sacks (7) in 2017.
If true, Jonathan Greenard is a great player and would be a nice proven player to help potentially replace Zuniga and Polite.
— Dan Thompson (@DK_Thompson) December 2, 2018
Moreover, biting at the bit to have a break-out year are players like Zachary Carter, Andrew Chatfield Jr., and Mohamoud Diabate.
Diabate, a 4-star recruit, has shown his one of the better versatile players in the Gators’ depth. It will be exciting to see him on the field and where he will end up. He will be one of the top contenders to win a starting spot this spring and compete for some real playing time in the fall.