Kan Li / Scout

Starting to become McElwain's roster at Florida

Conventional wisdom among college football coaches is that by the third year, at least 75% of the roster you’re coaching needs to be guys you’ve recruited to fit your system or you’re probably in trouble. After Wednesday’s impressive finish at National Signing Day, Jim McElwain’s third Florida recruiting class is in the books and he will field a 2017 roster that is almost exactly 75% players he brought to UF.

Florida’s 24-man 2017 recruiting class, ranked 10th nationally by Scout.com, brings the total to 83 scholarship players – 41 on offense, 40 on defense and 2 on special teams. Of those 83, 15 are holdovers from the Will Muschamp era, and 68 are players brought in by McElwain.

Now comes the tricky part for McElwain. He’s won the SEC East two straight years and has a 19-8 record at Florida with a roster that was dominated by Muschamp recruits. For all practical purposes, McElwain inherited an NFL defense. Counting the ones who will be drafted or sign this spring, 15 former Gators who played dominant roles in Florida’s defense the last two years will be playing for pay next fall.

Based on what we saw in the Outback Bowl when the defense was decimated and the bulk of the snaps went to McElwain recruits coached up by then interim (now permanent) defensive coordinator Randy Shannon, the defense should be fine even with the loss of potentially four first round draft picks. The questions will all be on the offensive side where the Gators have finished outside the top 100 nationally in total offense in both of McElwain’s years, strange since he’s an offensive guru who coordinated two national championship units as the coordinator at Alabama (2009, 2011) and his coordinator at UF (Doug Nussmeier) was the OC for the 2012 Alabama national title team.

Although the Gators will likely be starting a completely unproven quarterback in 2017 (Luke Del Rio is experienced but not expected to factor in the competition at the position and could transfer out after the spring), there is experience on the offensive line, playmakers on the outside in Antonio Callaway and Tyrie Cleveland and one of the best running back corps in the SEC. Add to those guys slot receiver Dre Massey, who had to take a redshirt after tearing his ACL in game one, mega-athlete Kadarius Toney, who could play any one of four positions, wide receiver James Robinson and running back Adarius Lemons and the potential is there for Florida to finally have an offense that can get the job done.

So here is how the Florida roster breaks down for 2017. It’s possible McElwain could pick up a player or two through a late signing or a graduate transfer and there is usually some attrition after spring football ends, but this is the way the roster stands today. Players recruited by Jim McElwain are marked in bold face.

OFFENSE (41)

QUARTERBACKS (4): Luke Del Rio (6-1, 211, RJR); Feleipe Franks (6-6, 219, RFR); Kyle Trask (6-4, 238, RFR); Jake Allen (6-3, 200, FR); Kadarius Toney (5-11, 180, FR)

Holdovers: 0; Recruited by McElwain: 5

RUNNING BACKS (5): Mark Thompson (6-2, 237, RJR); Jordan Scarlett (5-10, 213, JR); Lamical Perine (5-11, 221, SO); Malik Davis (5-11, 190, FR); Adarius Lemons (6-1, 195, FR)

Holdovers: 0; Recruited by McElwain: 5

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WIDE RECEIVERS (11): Brandon Powell (5-9, 184, SR); Antonio Callaway (5-11, 197, JR); Dre Massey (5-9, 180, RJR); Joshua Hammond (6-1, 186, SO); Freddie Swain (6-0, 186, SO); Kalif Jackson (6-4, 217, RSO); Tyrie Cleveland (6-2, 196, SO); Rick Wells (6-0, 206, RFR); Daquon Green (6-1, 185, FR); James Robinson (6-4, 205, FR)

Holdovers: 1; Recruited by McElwain: 9

TIGHT ENDS (5): DeAndre Goolsby (6-4, 244, SR); Cyontai Lewis (6-4, 231, RJR); Moral Stephens (6-3, 249, RSO); Camrin Knight (6-3, 246, JR); Kemore Gamble (6-3, 241, FR)

Holdovers: 3; Recruited by McElwain: 2

TACKLES (6): Andrew Mike (6-6, 301, RJR); Martez Ivey (6-5, 305, JR); Jawaan Taylor (6-5, 340, SO); S  Stone Forsythe (6-7, 329, RFR); T.J. Moore (6-6, 290, FR); Kadeem Telfort (6-6, 318, FR)

Holdovers: 1; Recruited by McElwain: 5

GUARDS (8):  Antonio Riles(6-4, 313, RSR); Kavaris Harkless (6-5, 310, RJR); Tyler Jordan (6-4, 309, JR); Fred Johnson (6-6, 311, JR); Nick Buchanan (6-2, 301, RSO); Brandon Sandifer (6-3, 323, RSO); Richerd Desir-Jones (6-4, 292, RFR)

Holdovers: 2; Recruited by McElwain: 5

CENTERS (2): T.J. McCoy (6-1, 308, RSO); Brett Heggie (6-3, 317, RFR)

Holdovers: 0; Recruited by McElwain: 2

DEFENSE (40)

ENDS (8): Jordan Sherit (6-4, 254, RSR); Justus Reed (6-3, 241, RJR); CeCe Jefferson (6-1, 261, JR); Keivonnis Davis (6-4, 241, JR); Jabari Zuniga (6-3, 245, RSO); Antonneous Clayton (6-3, 220, SO); Jordan Smith (6-5, 240, RFR); Zachary Carter (6-5, 250, FR)

Holdovers: 2; Recruited by McElwain: 5

TACKLES (6): Taven Bryan (6-5, 293, RJR); Khairi Clark (6-2, 319, RJR); Luke Ancrum (6-5, 262, RSO); Jachai Polite (6-2, 275, SO); Tedarrell Slaton (6-4, 360, FR);  Elijah Conliffe (6-4, 305, FR); Kyree Campbell (6-3, 323, FR)

Holdovers: 2; Recruited by McElwain: 5

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LINEBACKERS (10): Cristian Garcia (6-1, 231, RSR); Kylan Johnson (6-1, 231, RSO); Rayshad Jackson(6-0, 226, RSO); Vosean Joseph (6-1, 226, SO); David Reese (6-0, 244, SO); Jeremiah Moon (6-4, 218, RFR); @Lacedrick Brunson (6-2, 210, FR); James Houston IV (6-1, 233, FR); Ventrell Miller (6-0, 227, FR); Nick Smith (6-3, 210, FR)

Holdovers: 0; Recruited by McElwain: 10

CORNERS (9):  Duke Dawson (5-10, 208, SR); Joseph Putu (6-2, 195, SR); Chris Williamson (5-11, 191, JR); Chauncey Gardner (5-11, 204, SO); McArthur Burnett (5-9, 174, RFR); C.J. McWilliams (5-11, 171, RFR);  Brad Stewart (6-0, 190, FR); Marco Wilson (6-0, 180, FR); C.J. Henderson (6-1, 175, FR)

Holdovers: 1; Recruited by McElwain: 8

SAFETIES (7):  Marcell Harris (6-1, 211, RSR); Nick Washington (6-0, 197, RSR); Jeawon Taylor(6-0, 187, SO);  Quincy Lenton (5-11, 202, RFR);  Donovan Stiner (6-2, 185, FR); Brian Edwards (6-3, 195, FR); Shawn Davis (5-11, 190, FR)

Holdovers: 2; Recruited by McElwain: 5

SPECIAL TEAMS (2)

PUNTER (1): Johnny Townsend (6-1, 211, RSR)

PLACEKICKER (1): Eddy Pineiro (6-0, 173, RJR)

Holdovers: 1; Recruited by McElwain: 1

Total scholarship players: 83

Holdovers recruited by Will Muschamp: 15

Recruited by Jim McElwain: 68


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