Florida Player Observations from FNL

With the focus on high school juniors and seniors trying to earn offers from Florida, there were also plenty of current players that decided to look on for Friday Night Lights in The Swamp. It didn't take long to notice the difference first-year strength and conditioning coach Jeff Dillman has made in his short time in Gainesville. Multiple Florida players looked in good shape when seen on Friday.

The early positive reports on Jeff Dillman are easy to understand. His voice can be heard no matter where you are in the stadium, and his infectious personality makes him a likeable member of the program. Multiple current Florida players went out of their way to go shake his hand and say hi. It's clear the players have a strong relationship with Dillman.

The biggest observation from the players was Ronald Powell. If it weren't publicized that he tore his ACL in the spring game, no one in the stands would have been able to recognize it. He showed zero signs of the injury. Powell is one of the more outgoing players on the team, and it was easy to see.

From the moment he emerged out of the tunnel and onto the field, he spent almost every moment talking to someone. He was walking without a limp and even jogged softly to see a few of his teammates. As the night went on, Powell started to play with some younger kids on the sideline.

There were even times where he was standing still and would burst into a sprint to get away from the kids. In all of it, there weren't any limps. There was plenty of skepticism when Florida talked about Powell potentially being ready in the middle of the season, but watching him move around on Friday, he looked like he was hampered at all.

Jon Bostic was around for a majority of the event. He looks to have added good weight in the offseason. The senior almost looks like he doesn't have a neck anymore. His upper body has added some good muscle that should help him this season. Lerentee McCray also looked bigger.

The reports about Damien Jacobs when the junior college transfer got to campus were that he was out of shape and overweight. That changed quickly. Dillman ripped the pounds off him, and Jacobs looked much thinner than I expected.

Xavier Nixon struggled during the 2011 season and couldn't keep his weight up. That isn't a problem as the Gators start fall camp on August 4. Nixon looks to have added muscle since the end of the season last year.

Other offensive linemen—Chaz Green, Ian Silberman and Jessamen Dunker—were also at the event and looked impressive. This unit struggled in 2011, but they're handling one of their issues in the offseason—getting stronger.

This was also our first chance to see some of the freshmen that recently enrolled in school. There has been talk about Kent Taylor adding weight at the end of his senior year and since he has been on campus, and it looked to be the case on Friday.

I remember watching him leave Friday Night Lights as an uncommitted recruit in 2011, and his body has undergone an impressive transition since then. His weight won't keep him off the field as a freshman.

Other freshmen were in attendance on Friday. Quinteze Williams seems to be one of the more outgoing freshmen. He was very active talking to his teammates and didn't seem to lack energy on the sidelines. Matt Jones and Brian Poole were also their for the entire event.

It's easy to see why Alex McCalister intrigued the Florida coaches. He towers over most teammates, but he's rail thin. Give him a few years with Dillman, and he could be a versatile player on the defensive side of the ball. Dante Fowler was also in attendance and helping the effort to bring in five-star defensive lineman Demarcus Walker.


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