Important Newcomers: No. 4 Vernon Hargreaves

As the final group of incoming freshmen report to campus in Gainesville this week, we'll start the run down the five most important freshmen to the 2013 Florida football team. Vernon Hargreaves III joins the deepest position on the Florida roster, which wouldn't normally make him an important newcomer. The five-star cornerback has the talent to force his way onto the field this fall.

WHY HE'S HERE: Vernon Hargreaves III has been a name known for years in recruiting circles and finally enrolls in classes in Gainesville this week. The son of current Houston linebackers coach, Hargreaves has grown up in a football family and shows that in his instincts at cornerback.

That's what makes him special and could get him on the field immediately in a Florida uniform. The 5-11, 185-pound corner has good size but plays bigger because of his aggressiveness to go after the football. He also knows how to tackle and is trusted to get the ball carrier on the ground.

He's technically sound for a freshman, and that's what could get him on the field immediately. He made five interceptions and five forced fumbles during his senior year, even when opposing teams knew where he was and tried to stay away from the top cornerback in the country.

PATH TO PLAYING TIME: Similarly to Kelvin Taylor at No. 5 on this list, Hargreaves would be higher on this list if there was a bigger need. The Gators feel so strongly about Loucheiz Purifoy and Marcus Roberson at cornerback that they moved Jaylen Watkins to safety for the start of fall camp. Florida still has Jeremy Brown, Brian Poole and Cody Riggs available to play cornerback or nickelback.

Then comes Hargreaves.

He'll start fall camp down at the bottom of the depth chart like most freshmen, but it's unlikely that's where he'll be heading into the start of the season. He's athletic and advanced at slowing receivers off the line, giving him the skills to play the nickel if needed.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Hargreaves will get on the field this fall. He won't be taking a redshirt unless there's an injury, not only because he can help the team this fall, but he's also an important piece to the 2014 team. Purifoy and Roberson are both expected to leave after this season to enter the NFL Draft. Brown will graduate and Poole -- already at 5-10, 203 pounds -- could grow out of cornerback.

Hargreaves needs to be thrown into the fire this year so he'll be better prepared for the 2014 season when he'll likely be matched against the opposition's top receiver. However, focusing on the future isn't his only benefit.

He can help Florida win as a freshman. It's an exciting piece for the Florida coaching staff to have in its back pocket, knowing they can use him on special teams or at nickel or cornerback. Wherever it is, Florida fans will find Hargreaves on the field plenty this fall.


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