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Florida Football: 5 Newcomers to Watch for the Gators

Florida Football: 5 Newcomers to Watch for the Gators

Florida Football: 5 Newcomers to Watch for the Gators

After an 8-4 season, including an SEC East title and appearance in the conference championship game, the Florida Gators were able to land another top-15 recruiting class. With that, there will be a lot of talented freshmen and transfers who could provide a spark next season.

Florida lost a lot of its offense that finished ninth in the nation last season as the Gators averaged 509.8 yards per game. The Gators will look to improve their defense that finished 83rd in the country with 428.0 yards allowed per game.

Here are the newcomers who hope to make an impact in Gainesville in 2021.

Jason Marshall, CB

To say Florida struggled defensively last season would be putting it mildly. The Gators ranked 100th in passing yards allowed, so an influx of a lot of talent on that side of the ball could pay dividends. This is where Marshall, a MaxPreps Preseason All-American second-team selection, could come into play, and right away.

Daejon Reynolds, WR

After the departure of Trevon Grimes and Kadarius Toney, Reynolds has a chance to come in and produce as a freshman. Reynolds has appealing size (6-2, 210) and could emerge as a reliable complementary option in a short amount of time. Even with proven veterans in Jacob Copeland and Justin Shorter, Reynolds should compete for a few snaps this spring.

Corey Collier Jr., S

With the need for improvement in the secondary, Collier should figure into the rotation. In 2019, Collier was a Miami Herald All-Dade 8A-6A first-team selection as a junior. He also helped Miami Palmetto win the district title. Collier is a rangy (6-1, 172) safety, who could prove to be a big addition.

Donovan McMillon, S

McMillon was another one of the big safety additions the Gators made this year. He can play either a true safety position or the STAR nickel cornerback back role in his career. Along with classmates Jason Marshall and Corey Collier Jr., McMillon could also see the field a lot in the spring and beyond.

Nick Elksnis, TE

Elksnis has big shoes to fill at Florida. While he isn't expected to solely replace potential first-round NFL draft pick Kyle Pitts, Elksnis has a lot of upside, thanks in part to his size (6-6, 237). The 15th-ranked tight end in his class, Elksnis made the All-First Coast first team in 2019 and '20 with 61 catches for 1,181 yards and 13 touchdowns during those two seasons.

— Written by Antwan Staley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and has extensive experience covering Florida sports teams. Staley has written for Bleacher Report, the Miami Herald and the Palm Beach Post and is a reporter for Pro Player Insiders. Follow him on Twitter @antwanstaley.