Maye standing out in camp

Florida head coach Will Muschamp didn't need to wait until game week to end the battle at safety. Redshirt freshman Marcus Maye did enough in the first few weeks of camp to squash any doubts and earn the safety spot opposite of Cody Riggs. It might not have even taken that long. Now healthy after a meniscus injury last year, Maye has turned himself into the talk of fall camp.

The word started to leak out during the spring. During the first open practices of the spring, Maye would make a big play only to get lost on the next play and let a receiver run free. He still didn't fully trust himself after missing his freshman year with the meniscus injury he suffered in high school.

The inconsistency came with the territory.

Maye wasn't a factor in 2012 because of the injury. He could've been used on special teams, but instead, he sat on the sideline. He still managed to learn. The 2013 NFL Draft was the first time in school history the Gators had both safeties drafted. Maye had the benefit of sitting and watching both of them.

"It definitely helped a lot," Marcus Maye said of his redshirt last year. "I got to learn a lot. I got to watch, I got to get healthy. I watched two great guys, I watched a great team defense. I really got to see how it was done."

After his inconsistent spring, Maye took that knowledge into the summer. He worked hard in the weight room while spending extra time in the film room to learn. Maye earned some positive talk from his teammates after the summer, and he started to show why once practices started.

He was everywhere. Maye will play up in the box and be a big part of the run defense, but he showed a capability of making plays in coverage, too.

"Marcus Maye has had a really good camp, Florida defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin said. "He's a productive player throughout camp. He's always around the ball. He has great skill-set for the position. That's a guy we take over and over again at the safety position. He's long, rangy. He's physical, and he's a smart football player.

"He has done a great job getting better and better with all the snaps he had in the spring as well as here in the fall. We're looking for a great year out of him."

His teammates see it, too. Maye is only a freshman and heading into his first season of playing time, but they have plenty of respect for his ability.

"Marcus Maye is amazing," Brian Poole said. "He a great player. He should have a great year this year."

Added Marcus Roberson, "He's a ball hawk. He makes a lot of plays and we like that about him."

Maye will have plenty of youth to help him in the secondary. Freshmen safeties Marcell Harris and Keanu Neal have drawn rave reviews from the coaches and players, and they should both see playing time this season.

"Those guys came in and they caught on real well," Maye said. "They work hard. They're picking up pretty good. They don't complain about anything. I'm excited to see those guys play. Those two guys are doing good."


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