Impact freshmen: Offense

Most of the impact freshman this fall will come on the defensive side of the ball, but the Gators do have some players that will see the field and could make a splash this fall.

Quarterback Will Grier/Treon Harris: This spot comes down to who wins the backup quarterback job. We’ve written plenty here about the race for the job, but the truth is, we won’t know anything until fall camp is over. It’s unlikely the Florida coaches announce anything before game week, giving everyone significant time to settle into the position and have time to show what they can do.

The coaches have seen Grier on the field in the spring. He had the expected inconsistencies of a freshman that should be finishing his senior year of high school, but he showed off a big arm and an accurate arm down the field. He also has the athleticism to run the offense Florida wants to under first-year coordinator Kurt Roper.

But Harris getting to campus this summer could make an impact on the backup quarterback race. Grier mentioned wanting to redshirt when he was being recruited, but it’s way too early to say that will happen. Harris has to show what he can do in fall camp. If he shows the ability to run an offense and command the huddle, the coaches could go with him on the field. If not, he could be the one redshirting while Grier serves as the backup.

Skyler Mornhinweg could also factor into the job and keep both freshmen off the field, but that doesn’t seem likely.

Running back Brandon Powell: The depth at running back on the Florida roster is impressive. Kelvin Taylor heads into fall camp as the starting running back while Matt Jones has shown the ability to fill that role. Mack Brown began the 2013 season as the starter, and Adam Lane had a strong camp. Mark Herndon even earned a scholarship last fall for his play in the backfield. So how could Powell make it on this list?

He has something none of the others do.

Powell’s game is built around speed. The coaches made a late run at him last season after Roper was hired, prying Powell away from his Miami commitment and getting him to enroll at Florida early instead of in Coral Gables. Roper made him a priority and got it done. The running back position is deep with between-the-tackles backs that can grind out yardage and occasionally hit the big play. But none of the other running backs scare opponents with the ball in their hands on the perimeter. Powell has the chance to be that guy if the Florida coaches give him a small package of plays to get on the field.

Tight end DeAndre Goolsby: This pick is based on the future. Jake McGee will have the biggest impact of any tight ends on the Florida roster. Clay Burton and Tevin Westbrook can get on the field but won’t be anything more than blockers. Burton, McGee and Westbrook are all seniors that will be gone for the 2015 season.

The Gators have to find a way to get the younger tight ends time on the field and prepare for the 2015 season. I’d guess Goolsby is the most likely one to see the field, but the one reason for that is him being the only freshman tight end to enroll early and go through spring practice. At 6-4, 230 pounds, he is a big target that needs to add some strength to serve as a blocker. C’yontai Lewis and Moral Stephens are the two other freshmen tight ends that could see the field this year.

Wide receiver C.J. Worton: It’s hard not to think about what could’ve been at the receiver position for Florida. The Gators have missed on multiple key targets in recent recruiting classes, and after showing a dismal passing game last season, the Gators whiffed on their major targets again last season.

Worton joined Ryan Sousa as the two receivers that ended up in the 2014 recruiting class. At 6-0, 183 pounds, Worton has the size and strength to make an immediate impact if there’s a spot for him.

Whether or not that happens might come down to him. The Gators have a deep group of veteran receivers that are predicted to take a majority of the reps this season, but Worton has the ability to get on the field and earn a role during fall camp.

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