"No Better Staff" than Florida's for NFL Prep

Will Muschamp has been clear that a majority of his team's playmakers are in the junior class. It's a group that came to Gainesville highly recruited and expected to have more success than the last two seasons have provided. The talent in the junior class is still there. Depending on how each of them performs this season, the Gators could have players eyeing the NFL Draft after the year.

Muschamp wants to make sure its something that waits until after the season before its addressed. When that time comes, the Florida head coach believes he has the best staff at helping players make an intelligent decision about whether or not to leave early and pursue their NFL careers.

"There's no better staff in the country that is equipped to talk to you about going to the National Football League because of our experience in the National Football League," Muschamp said. "You look at Tim Davis, myself, Dan Quinn, Bryant Young as a player, and the connections we have with every general manager and a lot of the owners. There's nobody that can give you better advice on what you should do."

There are multiple players on the defense that could make the leap to leave early. Defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd has shown the ability to play any position on the defensive line and is viewed as a solid NFL prospect. Defensive lineman Dominique Easley has also proven to be versatile and has a quick burst off the snap.

Jon Bostic and Lerentee McCray will be gone after their senior seasons end this fall, but redshirt junior Jelani Jenkins could also leave with a big season. BUCK linebacker Ronald Powell has an NFL body that hasn't matched his production to this point, but he is also coming off a torn ACL that will force him to miss time this season and could keep him around for another season.

Safety Matt Elam has drawn rave reviews from players and coaches this fall after being second on the team in tackles in 2011. This could be his final season if he elects to give up his senior year and head to the NFL.

Muschamp knows he'll have conversations with at least some of those players in the offseason about their futures.

"If a young man wants to test the waters and that's what he wants to do, I'm going to support him 100%, regardless of my advice is," Muschamp said. "This is a family decision of a young man and what he wants to do.

"At the end of the day, the guy has to play well. It's not what you're going to do at the combine or what an agent thinks. It's how you play. They're going to watch the tape and see how you play."

BACKUP RUNNING BACK OPEN: Muschamp admitted on Monday that senior running back Mike Gillislee "has distanced himself" above the competition as expected. After the senior, it gets complicated.

Mack Brown was assumed to be the backup, but Muschamp said he wouldn't make that decision three days into camp. There are still other players showing they're also capable of handling the position.

"We've got a group behind that needing to keep developing and coming on," Muschamp said. "Whether that's Chris Johnson, Matt Jones or Trey Burton, who can do the one-back stuff very well. Hunter Joyer can do the one-back stuff. Omarius Hines is a guy we're still putting back there."

The coaches hope to have more answers this weekend. The Gators will have their first scrimmage on Saturday, and Muschamp hopes to start figuring out which players deserve increased reps as practice continues.

"We're going to scrimmage Saturday, which will be the ninth practice," Muschamp said. "We've got to start diving who is getting the reps and the touches. Who can be the guys that can score for us at the end of the day? Those are the decisions we need to make."

Even as a freshman, Jones is starting to open some eyes in the backfield. The former Armwood High School running back is starting to catch the eye of the Florida head coach.

"Matt is going to help us this year," Muschamp said when asked about the freshman. "How much depends on how the rest of training camp goes, so let's don't jump off a ledge here. He's a mature young man that's very driven, intelligent and runs the ball hard based on what I saw (Sunday) night."

The issue, as it is for all freshmen in camp, remains consistency.

"You've got to show up and do it down-in and down-out, but he's certainly a guy who has the ability and the maturity to handle playing that early," Muschamp said. "How much? Who knows?"

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