Florida defensive lineman Antonio Valentino runs a drill during the college football team's Pro Day for NFL scouts in Gainesville, Fla., Monday, March 28, 2022. (Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun via AP)

Corey Raymond reviews cornerback room

Billy Napier and company’s first spring practice is in full swing. Cornerbacks coach Corey Raymond discussed where his unit is at and how it is adjusting to the new system.

Corey Raymond as Cornerbacks Coach

Raymond played defensive back in college at LSU and spent six years in the NFL. He has spent the last 10 seasons with the LSU Tigers. He coached defensive backs between 2012 and 2017 and cornerbacks from 2018 through 2021. Raymond also served as the recruiting coordinator for LSU the last two seasons while coaching.

During his tenure with LSU, Raymond produced seven first-team All-Americans and saw 14 of his players drafted.

Cornerback Outlook

The focus for the Gators right now is identifying and developing the talent already on the roster. The staff wants to determine how to use its current talent best this upcoming season. The cornerback position is vital to the defense, and the Gators will run going forward, as they will continue to operate out of a base nickel package. Luckily for Raymond he has some experience in his unit.

The Gators have Jason Marshall Jr. returning at outside cornerback. He showed promise last year as he stepped into early action due to lack of depth and an early-season injury to Kaiir Elam.

Marshall made his first collegiate start against Tennessee and from there was plugged in as the No. 2 cornerback as the season went on, in rotation with Avery Helm. Helm was a starter last season but he will have some competition securing that spot opposite of Marshall this year. With the return of Jaydon Hill from injury and Georgia transfer Jalen Kimber coming in, there has been an immediate increase in not only depth but also competition in the cornerback room.

Nickel/STAR Outlook

The nickel cornerback position will remain a staple in the Gators defense as the team transitions from the Todd Grantham era to a Patrick Toney-led defense.

The Gators have two returning players who will be battling for the spot that they split time at during the 2021 season. Tre’Vez Johnson  received more snaps at nickel last season and has impressed the coaching staff thus far. However, Jadarrius Perkins, due to his size and JUCO experience is also a top contender for the spot.

The Gators also have Kamar Wilcoxson back as he is bouncing back from his season-ending knee injury that occurred during fall camp last season. He will re-enter into a competitive defensive back room. However, he will be a heavy contender to take over the role of nickel as he reacclimates.

The competition will heat up, but as the spring and fall practices continue the roles on the defense will become more clear with the guidance and evaluation of Raymond and the other defensive coaches.

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