Gator Wildcard Week: Taven Bryan

Every day this week we are going to talk about one of the players on the 2016 Gators that can have a huge impact that hasn’t already done so. We are going to call this the Wildcard because there is a bit of the unknown. Wednesday’s Wildcard is defensive tackle Taven Bryan.

How he got to Florida: All the way from Casper, Wyoming, Taven Bryan camped with the Gators and the staff loved his athleticism for his size so much he was offered shortly after. The Gators competed with Tennessee and Washington for his services; those were the other two major programs that came after the guy from the state that doesn’t produce much football talent. Bryan committed to Florida shortly after his camping session (June 10, 2013) and stayed true to that commitment wanting to come the thousands of miles to play in a big time program.

Gator Wildcat Week: Duke Dawson (Saturday)

Gator Wildcat Week: Ahmad Fulwood (Sunday)

Gator Wildcat Week: Alex Anzalone (Monday)

Gator Wildcard Week: Mark Thompson (Tuesday)

What has he done at Florida:  Physically gifted and powerful Bryan came to Florida as a defensive end because of his quickness for his size but he soon began to put on even more weight and was moved inside while redshirting as a true freshman in 2014. As a redshirt freshman in 2015 he played sparingly but did see action in 12 of the 14 games on the schedule. He was injured in the next to last game of the regular season against Florida Atlantic when returning a fumble 48 yards and missed the final game against Florida State and the SEC Championship. Bryan finished with a half sack, 10 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss in his little bit of time on the field in 2015.

Why is he a Wildcard?: He may be the most physically gifted big athlete on the team. His teammates regularly talk about his freakish ability to do some of the things he has done. The only thing seemingly holding him back is that he is raw. Playing high school ball in Wyoming requires a huge steep to make it to the SEC. Being more consistent will get him on the field.

He’s just not a name we talk about much but that ability means there is a real possibility. He’s nasty gin the trenches and if he can make a real difference this year, he is one that will help bridge the gap for seasons to come at a position that is really thin for the future. Living up to that potential will go a long way in curing the wound of losing NFL talent Jonathan Bullard to the draft.

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