Black is Back and Expects Big Year

He thought about it for a while, but Florida safety Ahmad Black decided to return for his senior year to play football for the Gators. The experienced and talented Black lacks the prototypical size they like in the NFL, but few players have his instincts to the ball and ability to make a tackle. He returns as a leader for the Gators and expects a big year from him and some young guys.

There were times when Ahmad Black thought he needed to head out after last season. As a returning starter in 2009, he actually gave up some playing time at safety when Will Hill joined the group in a three man rotation. Black's father Bruce was quoted after the season as saying Black wasn't happy about it and would likely turn pro.

Black has always denied that stance and actually turned to his parents and the people that watch him play all the time to help make the best decision for him.

"I stuck with the people I trust," Black said when contemplating a chance to move on to the NFL. "It wasn't really that difficult, I listened to my parents and my coaches.

As he prepares for his senior season there is no doubt that he is one of the leaders on this defense, both vocally and with his on the field presence and play making ability. Still, there are some things in his own game he would like to get better at.

"I need to work on my fundamentals, the small things," he said. "There are a few things I need to tune up."

It is now Black and Hill and then a slew of young talent at safety that has seen next to no time on the field already. Only sophomore Josh Evans has even played a down at the position and that was very few plays at the end of blowouts last year.

There are spots along the whole defense that are much the same. It is a mixture of some experience, a lot of youth, and lot of raw talent that must be molded into a defense that will be asked to do it's share of winning games this season as the offense goes through a similar transition.

Black is having fun helping out the young guys and thinks this is a really talented group to work with.

"We are a young football team, but we have a lot of talent across the board," he said. "There is a lot of talent and I am excited to see us play.

"The young guys look good. They are coming along and taking coaching. I have to take more of a leadership role this year. I need to be more of a vocal leader and keep everybody in line. I was a leader last year, but I had a couple of other guys helping me out. Now I am just kind of taking it by myself with Janoris Jenkins and helping the young guys."

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