Five Most Important Offensive Freshmen

The Florida offense lost its quarterback, top wide receiver and tight end, but the 2010 version doesn't expect to miss a beat. The loss of key players leaves starting spots open for competition, and a highly touted freshmen class could fill some of the necessary spots.

5. Running back Mack Brown- After a first glance at the depth chart at running back, Brown could easily redshirt. Jeff Demps, Mike Gillislee and Emmanuel Moody will get a bulk of the carries. Rainey and Debose should also get some carries, similar to what Percy Harvin did at Florida, also adding to the running attack.

However, Moody's injury history could open the door for Brown. Three healthy running backs would be ideal, so Brown's playing time could be determined by Moody's health. If Moody's continued struggles with injury during spring practice were any indication, the freshman should be ready to play.

He struggled with a hamstring injury during most of his high school career, so a redshirt wouldn't be the worst thing if it allowed him to get into the Florida workout program and receive constant treatment.

4. Wide receiver Solomon Patton- He was the most impressive offensive freshman that enrolled for spring practice. Patton showed off dynamic ability after the catch, making veteran cornerbacks that have been on campus for multiple years look like they were playing the position for the first time.

The only thing that may keep him off the field is the lack of need. Chris Rainey and Andre Debose are expected to get most of the snaps from the slot receiver position. Patton showed during the spring he is capable of contributing at this level, and that may be enough to burn the redshirt and use him on the field. It wouldn't be a bad idea to try him out as the kick or punt returner.

The depth at the slot receiver position is the only thing keeping him this low on the list.

3. Wide receiver Adrian Coxson- The freshman provides a type of receiver that the Gators don't currently have. He's 6-1 but a stocky 200-pounds. He can go down the field to make catches or run intermediate routes and bounce off tacklers.

Deonte Thompson will serve as the team's deep threat at wide receiver, and Carl Moore will be the possession receiver. However, Coxson has an opportunity to push for playing time. He doesn't have elite speed, but he does have an understanding for how to play the position.

Don't expect this freshman to redshirt, especially with the Florida coaches looking for playmakers from outside receivers.

2. Tight end Gerald Christian- This is more based on necessity than anything. Christian was one of the more impressive physical specimens on the field as an early enrollee during spring practice. The 6-3, 240-pounder should receive immediate playing time.

Redshirt freshman Jordan Reed and Christian will get plenty of receptions, but they could be similar to what the Gators had at the tight end position in 2007. Aaron Hernandez was used as mainly a blocker, while Cornelius Ingram caught seven touchdown passes. Christian should be used similarly to Hernandez, while Reed will be the down the field passing threat Ingram was.

That doesn't mean Christian won't catch the ball. Anytime there is an athlete his size with the ball skills Christian possesses, the Florida coaches will find a way to get him touches.

1. Wide receiver Chris Dunkley- With the lack of playmakers at wide receiver outside of the slot position, Dunkley will play right away. He has already impressed in his short time on campus.

His size and speed combination is enough to get him on the field, but it's his knowledge of the position that will help him thrive. During one-on-ones at high school camps, it was always his route running ability that made him difficult to cover.

Dunkley has always had the ability to rise to the occasion and better himself on the bigger stages. He stole the show at Friday Night Lights last summer against some of the best defensive backs in the country. The challenge will now be stiffer as he tries to solidify playing time in Florida's wide receiver rotation, but he will see playing time for the first game of the season.

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