Sports

Florida’s future looks bright with production from underclassmen


Florida’s season has been somewhat of a disaster so far with losses against Kentucky and LSU, but the future looks bright with a few underclassmen overperforming seven games in.

ESPN ranked the college programs with the most production from underclassmen in 2021 and Florida landed at No. 5. The Gators have nine underclassmen who have played 100 snaps or more this year, and four of them have a Pro Football Focus grade of 70 or higher.

On offense, Anthony Richardson is the obvious standout. He’s outperformed starter Emory Jones in half of Florida’s games this year and sat on the sidelines with an injury in the other half. He seemed like the obvious starter going forward after taking over for Jones against LSU, but head coach Dan Mullen is still evaluating both quarterbacks over the bye week.

Gervon Dexter, a five-star recruit in 2020, has taken over the starting role at nose tackle for Florida. Standing at 6-foot-6-inches and 303 pounds, Dexter has the size to handle SEC linemen and his stats are among the best in the nation right now:

Dexter has recorded an 86.4 pass-rush grade, 22.7% pass-rush win rate and 18.1% pressure rate, all of which are among the top five among Power 5 interior defensive linemen.

Georgia ranked just ahead of Florida at No. 4 on the list, and Alabama was one spot higher at No. 3. Florida’s future does seem bright, assuming Richardson stays, but the SEC’s best is on almost equal footing. LSU and Auburn are right behind Florida at Nos. 6 and 7 as well.

Ohio State and Oklahoma have quite a bit of young talent and top the list, but Florida doesn’t need to worry about that until it’s back in contention for a College Football Playoff spot.

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