Gorman leading the young safeties

Jabari Gorman isn’t the focus when talks turn to the safety position. The younger players usually steal that conversation whenever people outside the people bring it up. Inside the program, the coaches and young safeties know how important the senior safety is to the group.

Gorman is the only scholarship safety on the roster older than a redshirt sophomore. The talent at the position is impressive. The experience is not. Last season, it was Cody Riggs and Jaylen Watkins that manned the safety spots. Before that, it was Matt Elam and Josh Evans.

Heading into their second straight season with two new starting safeties, the experience is low. Marcus Maye has starting experience during the first two games last season before he was bench and saw his playing time decrease during the remainder of the season. Maye and Gorman, who has started five career games, are the only safeties with starting experience.

It’s Gorman that is being leaned on at the position for experience and leadership on and off the field.

“(Leading) hasn’t been tough because we have a lot of great guys,” Jabari Gorman said. “These guys buy into everything I say. They want to learn, want to do better and put up the effort. It makes my job much easier. All I have to do is help them communicate on the field. We’re clicking right now.”

There is a sense of finality around this camp for Gorman. It’s his last year at Florida, and it’s his final chance to earn a consistent starting job and make an impact in the secondary.

“It is special. It’s more serious,” Gorman said. “It’s a different approach. They’re different every year, but when it’s your last year, it’s more serious and more of a reality. You understanding that everything matters now -- the things you eat, the way you treat your body, the way you walk around campus, how you present yourself. You want to be that good guy.”

Gorman is set to graduate in December with a degree in sociology. He’ll give the NFL a shot, but if that doesn’t work out, he wants to get into either counseling or teaching at a high school. That would be combined with a job coaching football.

He’d like to return home to Monsignor Pace High School and work as a coach at the same school he graduated from. His love of the game is a big reason for it, but Gorman also wants to be around kids who are trying to achieve the same goals he has.

“I like to talk to a lot of young kids and motivate them and be personal with them,” Gorman said. “I want them to understand that I’ve been through what they’ve been through. If they’ve been through it, I probably understand it and have maybe been through it, too.”

Before that happens, Gorman has one year left at Florida to get the program back on track and put more on tape for a potential NFL team to give him a shot.

“It’s more special because those are your last moments,” Gorman said. “You always remember last moments. For this to be my last year as a Gator, I want to go out with my team and win. That’s all we’re trying to build on is winning. Hopefully success comes with that.”

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