It was a whirlwind offseason for the Florida Gators. Lost in translation of this obscure, extended offseason was the transfer of ex-Mississippi State Offensive Guard Stewart Reese.
Reese, the older brother of Gators linebacker David Reese, announced his transfer to Florida in May. The 6-5 340 lb guard, on his fifth and final year of eligibility, discusses his path to Gainesville below.
Reese originally committed to Mississippi State in 2016 under Dan Mullen.
Living in Fort Pierce at the time, Reese set his eyes on playing at Florida. However, due to a miscommunication Reese committed to Mullen and co., playing two full seasons under Mullen and John Hevesy.
Reese’s commitment filled a position of need for the Gators.
In 2019, out of 128 FBS schools Florida ranked 115th in stuff rate and 117th in power success rate. From 2017-2018, Reese started 26 straight games for Mississippi State, starting only eight games in 2019.
In Reese, Florida added a lineman with over 30 games of SEC experience. Reese’s experience has proved invaluable for the Gators, and the fifth-year senior says it gives him confidence.
Reese’s experience has helped the Gators immediately. Through two games this season, Florida ranks first in power success rate, over 100 spots better than last year.
The Gators also rank first in pass downs sack rate, protecting star quarterback Kyle Trask. Yet, Florida ranks just 49th in rushing offense, an issue that’s carried over from last season.
Given, Florida runs a very pass-heavy system centered around Trask and Pitts. However, Reese believes that the Gators offensive line will get the run game going.
Reese has breathed new life into a unit that struggled a year ago for the Gators. Not only his play, but Reese’s confidence and leadership have improved John Hevesy’s unit from a year ago.
Last season, confidence wouldn’t describe the Florida offensive line. However, this season, the unit exudes confidence sparked by new leader Stewart Reese.
Reese and the Gators offensive line return to action this Saturday against Texas A&M. The unit looks to improve on last week’s rushing performance, only putting up 80 yards on the ground.
To see the improvement of Florida’s offensive line from a year ago, find the current offensive line ranks here