Gators add explosion to backfield

Florida knew it needed difference makers on the offensive side of the ball in the 2014 class. The board changed when offensive coordinator Kurt Roper came to Gainesville in early January, and two of the three signees in the offensive backfield were recruits that Roper wanted to go after.

Quarterback Will Grier was already on the board when Kurt Roper took the offensive coordinator job at Florida. The Davidson Day High School product committed to the Gators in December of 2012 and never waived. He received offers from Auburn and Tennessee but remained faithful to his commitment to Florida.

Grier was named Parade Magazine's Player of the Year and brings gaudy high school stats with him to Gainesville, but there are still question marks. Grier didn't always play against the best competition during his high school season, and he'll have to adjust to the college level. However, he'll have the extra benefit from enrolling early and going through spring practice this year.

The Davidson, N.C. product also needs to add weight. Grier enrolled at Florida at 6-2, 190 pounds and will have to get bigger to withstand the weekly hits in the Southeastern Conference.

Grier is willing to redshirt if that's what the coaching staff believes is best, and the happenings of Wednesday could make that possible.

The flip of Treon Harris means that he could serve as the backup if Grier does need to redshirt this season. Harris committed to Florida State over the summer and was targeted as the Seminoles' second quarterback in the 2014 class. When Roper was named the offensive coordinator at Florida, he quickly began his pursuit of an athletic quarterback.

Harris got an offer from the Gators and immediately set up an official visit to Florida. After taking trips to Auburn and Miami before signing day, Harris flipped to the Gators on Wednesday morning. The Booker T. Washington quarterback will be under center for Florida and could even carve out a role in 2014.

With the loss of Trey Burton, the Gators need a wildcat quarterback. Harris has the arm to stick as an every-down quarterback, but Roper could choose to get the Miami native involved in the offense as a freshman with a smaller package of plays. The Gators need to find explosive playmakers on the offensive side of the ball, and Harris has proven in high school to be that kind of player.

The only running back in the 2014 class is Brandon Powell. The 5-10, 171-pound running back has plenty of speed to burn. He, like Harris, was a late offer made when Roper took the job at Florida. Powell was set to enroll early at Miami but changed plans just days before and enrolled early in Gainesville. Powell originally committed to Tennessee in June before flipping to Miami in August.

Despite not having ideal size for an every down back, Powell runs between the tackles without fear and shows quickness and acceleration. The Gators already have depth at the running back position, but Powell's speed is something that isn't on the roster at the position. Valdez Showers carved out a role last season, but between running backs Mack Brown, Matt Jones and Kelvin Taylor, there isn't much speed at the position.

That's why the Gators went after Powell and made him a priority late in the process.

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