Five impact freshmen for the Gators

Florida’s freshmen enrolled earlier this week, and here are five to watch that should play immediately this fall.

Wide receiver Antonio Callaway: One of two wide receivers in this freshman class, Callaway has the talent to get involved with the offense as a true freshman. Demarcus Robinson will be the unquestioned first option in the passing game, but behind him, there’s a big group of receivers battling it out for the rest of the catches.

Callaway tore his meniscus during his senior season but should be healthy by the time fall camp opens. The new coaching staff made him a priority during the recruiting process and landed him.

Offensive tackle Martez Ivey: The desperate need at offensive line combined with Ivey’s natural talent will have him on the field this fall. Maybe a redshirt could help him physically be more prepared, but even if the Gators had a deep, experienced offensive line, Ivey might be too talented to keep off the field. He has a prototypical offensive tackle build and was a five-star recruit because of that and his athleticism at the position.

His competition for playing time at tackle isn’t deep. After Roderick Johnson’s career came to an end this spring, David Sharpe is the only player with a similar upside at tackle. Ivey could start at the other tackle spot, but those questions will be decided during fall camp.

Defensive end CeCe Jefferson: After losing Dante Fowler following the 2014 season, the Gators have to replace one of the best pass rushers in the country. They’ll have to do it as a unit. The 6-6, 238-pound Alex McCalister will be the focal point of the pass rush, but he’ll also get help off the edge from Jonathan Bullard and Bryan Cox, Jr. It wouldn’t be a stretch to see Jefferson getting involved with that group.

He can get after the passer as a standup rusher or put his hand in the dirt. It’s probably too much to think Jefferson leads the Gators in sacks as a freshman -- even Fowler had just an OK freshman year while showing flashes -- but Jefferson’s raw ability will be too much to keep off the field this fall.

Offensive lineman Tyler Jordan: There has to be another offensive lineman after Ivey on this list because the Gators will have to use more than one true freshman offensive lineman this fall. Jordan makes the most sense. He’s versatile and can play anywhere he’s asked to on the offensive line.

The one position to keep an eye on is center. Trip Thurman could slide to center if needed or third-year lineman Cam Dillard could win the job, but I’m not sure either of those are the best case scenario for Florida at the position. Jordan enrolled early for Summer A and has the extra time under his belt. It’s never ideal to play a freshman at center in the SEC, but Jordan could force the staff’s hand and give the Gators a bright future at the position.

Running back Jordan Scarlett: Kelvin Taylor is the only returning running back with significant experience, which should allow a player Scarlett’s caliber to get on the field. But even if the Gators had two trusted backs returning, I’m not sure it would be smart to count Scarlett out. He is that talented. Flip on his highlight film and you see a complete running back, one that can run through tackles or past defenders. He is a difference maker.

The Gators can piece the rest of it together. It would make sense that Taylor starts the year seeing a majority of the carries, but I don’t think many would be surprised if Scarlett inserted himself into meaningful carries by the start of SEC play. Florida still can use Adam Lane and Jordan Cronkrite in other roles.

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