SEC Network analysts Peter Burns and Chris Doering released their rankings of the top five best teams at defensive line.
Here are their rankings:
4. Mississippi State
Come to think of it, this wasn't much of an article
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On Monday, defensive lineman CeCe Jefferson and Jabari Zuniga were named to the 2018 Ted Hendricks Award Preseason Watch List.
Announced by the Ted Hendricks Foundation.
Jabari Zuniga stands at 6'4, weighing 257 pounds, had a good year in 2017, having a total of 34 tackles, eight tackles for a loss, four sacks, six quarterback hurries and he forced one fumble.
playing in 10 games during the 2017 season.
CeCe Jefferson also had a good year in 2017, having a total of 47 tackles, 1tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks.
The winner of this year's award will be announced on Dec. 12, 2018.
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On Monday, the University of Florida announced that Ole Miss transfer Van Jefferson is eligible to play during the 2018 football season.
The Southeastern Conference has granted the wide receiver the ability to play this season, including the opening game against Charleston Southern on September 1st at 7:30 PM ET.
Which means both the NCAA and the Southeastern Conference has approved his waiver to play this season.
Whenever a player transfers to a different school within the same conference, by SEC rules, you have to sit out an entire year.
Typically speaking of course.
The SEC passed a new rule during this year's spring meetings that would allow players transferring from a program within the SEC to transfer to another SEC school and play right away.
Van Jefferson stands at 6'2, weighing 197 pounds, he is quick, and is really good at running his routes, with good body control to add.
Van Jefferson finished his career at Ole Miss with 91 catches for 999 yards and four touchdowns under two seasons.
Florida wide receiver Trevon Grimes is eligible to play this season as well.
Just to add to note.
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Former Florida Gator head coach Jim McElwain ended his era at the University of Florida going 4-7, (3-5) during the 2017 season.
That's never fun to bring up, well a new era has begun, the Dan Mullen era.
The 2018 football season will be the first season for Dan Mullen as the new head coach for the Florida Gators, today, Saturday Down South announced their predictions for the Florida Gators 2018 football season.
Saturday down South predicts Florida will go 7-5 (4-4) for the 2018 football season:
Here are their game-by-game predictions
Week 1: vs. Charleston Southern (W)
Week 2: vs. Kentucky (W)
Week 3: vs. Colorado State (W)
Week 4: vs. at Tennessee (W)
Week 5: at Mississippi State (L)
Week 6: vs. vs. LSU (L)
Week 7: at Vanderbilt (W)
Week 8: Bye
Week 9: vs. Georgia (L)
Week 10: vs. Missouri (W)
Week 11: vs. South Carolina (L)
Week 12: vs. Idaho (W)
Week 13: at Florida State (L)
Final Standings: 3rd in SEC East
Do you agree with their predictions?
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2017 was one of the worst years in Gator football history. Going 4-7 was not the only embarrassing part of the season. The Gators were handed a win at Kentucky, survived Tennessee with a hail mary, played three quarterbacks who were beyond terrible, and let a team gain 10 yards after getting an interception on defense….on the same play. I don’t know which was worse; blocking each other in 2013 or giving up 10 yards to the offense on an interception in 2017. With all of this happening Florida Athletic Director Scott Stricklin decided it was time for some better leadership on the field and better guidance off the field. Jim McElwain was fired on Oct. 29 after the “Jacksonville Massacre” in which the Gators’ will was broke by Georgia 42-7.
On Nov. 26, Scott Stricklin found the coach he believes that can turn it all around, a man who has won everywhere he has coached, and is familiar with the expectations of the Gator Nation, a man who has won numerous championships in Gainesville, and a man the Gator fans believe in, Dan Mullen.
Mullen is known for his quarterback developing history including several quarterbacks at Utah, Florida, and Mississippi State. Mullen turned around the MSU football program around in quick fashion. He went 69-46 with only two losing seasons, 2009 (5-7) and 2016 (6-7). His quarterback resume includes Brian Johnson (Utah), Tim Tebow (UF), Cam Newton (UF for one season in 2006), Dak Prescott (MSU), and Nick Fitzgerald (MSU). Three out of five have won an NFL playoff game. Mullen has all of the tools to be successful at Florida.
Florida can either continue being the laughing stock of the state of Florida or they can be a championship contender, it all comes down to one position, which just happens to be the most important position in the history of sports.
Luckily for the Gator faithful, it’s Mullen’s expertise. The Gators have been terrorized with garbage quarterback play since the departure of the great Tim Tebow. Florida has been teased with finding a great quarterback with Jeff Driskel in 2012 and Will Grier in 2015. Driskel broke his leg in 2013 and Grier was caught accidentally taking PEDs mid-2015. The Gators never recovered and both quarterbacks transferred.
The 2018 quarterback room looks promising with Feleipe Franks, Kyle Trask, and Emory Jones leading the pack. The Gators also have Nick Sproles for depth. Jake Allen was a part of the squad in the spring, but he later chose to transfer to Dartmouth University. The Gator Nation wishes him the best. Kyle Trask looked to be the strongest candidate in spring football.
The offense, with Trask, looked more comfortable with him in charge. No offense to the other three guys, but to me, Trask has the best mentality for the position and that could lead him to starting under center by the Tennessee game.
The quarterback with the most athletic ability is true freshman Emory Jones. Add experience and playbook intelligence with this guy’s athleticism and the SEC could be on notice in 2019. I don’t think he gets the starting job in 2018, but makes a strong push at the beginning of the season. His passes looked sharp in the spring game and looked to really understand the offense. Jones has also been traveling across the country with other athletes to help craft his skill. Jones looks to be the future of the Gators at quarterback. He has the best chance to take the starting job from Trask, but can he do it in 2018?
Feleipe Franks brings in a skill that none of the other quarterbacks have to offer — experience. Franks played in 11 games (starting 8) in 2017 for the Gators. While Franks does have the experience factor, he does have a consistency problem. The offensive line was also subpar last season, but whoever takes the snaps this season doesn’t have that excuse. Florida is returning all the starters on the line, including senior Martez Ivey.
Projected QB depth chart; 1. Feleipe Franks 2. Kyle Trask 3. Emory Jones 4. Nick Sproles
I predict Kyle Trask will transfer at the end of the 2018 season due to depth with the Gators looking to bring in 2019 three star quarterback Jalon Jones who is on the verge of four star status heading into his senior year.
Charleston Southern Buccaneers (Sept. 1. Gainesville, FL)
CSU comes into Gainesville looking to pull a Georgia Southern memory on the Gators. There’s not much to say about CSU other than receive a paycheck and go home. This game is basically a warm up for all the quarterbacks before they truly battle it out against Kentucky they following Saturday.
Look for the top three quarterbacks to see playing time to earn trust and momentum in the quarterback battle. Look for the defense to swarm in this game as they also have something to prove after a down year compared to prior seasons.
The biggest key for this game will be if everyone can stay healthy. Injuries have plagued the Gators in recent years and a majority of them come in games like this. I predict Florida lights up the scoreboard and obliterates Charleston Southern, 45-6. Nice way to start the campaign. 1-0 (0-0)
The Streak: Kentucky Wildcats (Sept. 8. Gainesville, FL)
After narrowly escaping Lexington last season with a 28-27 freeby, the Gators look to bounce back and continue their winning streak against the Wildcats. Florida currently owns the longest active winning streak against any team in the nation with this series with 31 straight wins against UK.
Two blown coverages cost the ‘Cats their first win against Florida in three decades. The last time UK intruded The Swamp they limped out of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium after a 45-7 beat down. Can Kentucky finally elude these demons or will the Gators thwart another streak-ending attempt? I predict Florida holds their own and defends The Swamp with a 38-13 victory and a strong showing by Franks with two passing touchdowns and running another in. Gators win their first back to back games since September of 2017. 2-0 (1-0)
Colorado State Rams (Sept. 15. Gainesville, FL)
Ironically, CSU comes into The Swamp again. Jim McElwain’s former team looks to shock the Gators. After two blowouts to start the season, the Gators look for more of the same. With a hot hand, Mullen should go with Franks to start but throw in Trask to get him some reps if Franks doesn't seal up the QB battle.
Florida looks to dominate this Mountain West team and move to 3-0 for the third time in four years. Strong early season starts haven’t been the problem for Florida, it’s been the rest of the season, particularly conference play. To build momentum for their trip to “Rocky Top” next week, the Gators own CSU 52-10. 3-0 (1-0)
Road to Rocky Top: Tennessee Volunteers (Sept. 22. Knoxville, TN)
“Florida wins on a Hail Mary full of grace!” Brad Nessler’s words echoed throughout the Swamp as the Gators ripped Tennessee’s heart out on a last second 63-yard heave to the endzone. This game has been full of excitement the past five years including a fourth-quarter comeback by both teams, a Hail Mary, and numerous quarterbacks for Florida.
Both teams come into the 2018 season with new coaching staffs. Opposing Mullen will be Jeremy Pruitt. Pruitt is very familiar with the Gators while serving as Florida State and Alabama’s defensive coordinator. Pruitt and the Vols luck up and get the Gators at home in his first season with the UT. Will Rocky Top echo in the night or will Rocky flop? Florida survives on an interception within the final two minutes and run the clock down, 21-20. 4-0 (2-0)
Mullen Returns to Starkville: Mississippi State Bulldogs (Sept. 29. Starkville, MS)
We all know the success Mullen had at MSU, but did the Bulldogs take his departure personal? Mullen will face a first-year head coach for the second consecutive game as he strolls into Starkville. MSU replaced Mullen with former Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead.
Florida not only stole Mullen, they also took the Bulldogs’ athletic director and multiple recruits, including the number one kicker in the country, Evan McPherson. I expect this game to be very chippy and maybe a dual team meeting at midfield before the game.
The last time these teams faced off was 2010 with Mississippi State got out of the Swamp alive with a 10-7 victory when Florida missed field goal as time expired. The Gators hit their first barricade in 2018 with a 27-24 loss in Starkville after a failed 4th down conversion around midfield within a minute left and lose their first overall game and conference game. 4-1 (2-1)
LSU Tigers (Oct. 6. Gainesville, FL)
No catchy headlines needed for this game. This game is going to be exactly what it has been for years: a knock-down, drag-out, hard hitting thriller.This will be Florida’s most important game of the season as they look for retribution for a 17-16 fluke loss to LSU last season. If Florida wins this will be their first credible win of the season and Mullen Era.
This game isn’t just going to be special because it’s a normal Florida-LSU game, the 2008 BCS National Champions will be in town as the Gators honor the 10 year anniversary of their last championship.
Oct. 6 will also be special for a particular former Gator, Tim Tebow becomes the sixth member of the Ring of Honor, joining Steve Spurrier, Danny Wuerffel, Jack Youngblood, Wilber Marshall and Emmitt Smith. The Gators will make a statement with 27-20 victory. 5-1 (3-1)
Thorn in the Side?: Vanderbilt Commodores (Oct. 13. Nashville, TN)
Florida makes its third road trip and second trip to the state of Tennessee in less than a month. The Gators head into Nashville after surviving Vanderbilt for the third straight season, winning last year's game by a score of 38-24 with a Malik Davis run to ice it late.
Vanderbilt always gives Florida trouble, can they pull off the upset after years of being so close?
I don’t think they even come close this year with a new and improved Gator offense. The Gators get over the hill and gain momentum heading into a bye week before going to Jacksonville, 41-10. 6-1 (4-1)
Retribution?: Georgia Bulldogs (Oct. 27. Jacksonville, FL)
42-7, the score that made everyone forget Georgia was Florida’s….well you get the idea. The Gators lead the Dawgs 21-7 since 1990. While Georgia has lost numerous seniors and reloaded, Florida has lost few seniors and look hungry after an embarrassing 4-7 season. This could be the statement game that proves the 42-7 butt kicking fiesta was a fluke.
Georgia lost both Nick Chubb and Sony Michel while Florida gets back a man hell bent on making a name for himself, running back Jordan Scarlett. Scarlett leads the pack as LaMical Perine and Malik Davis follows. Expect hard hitting on the line of scrimmage as this game will be low scoring. Georgia will outlast Florida due to strength of the depth chart and win 27-17. 6-2 (4-2)
Homecoming: Missouri Tigers (Nov. 3. Gainesville, FL)
Florida returns home after two games away from The Swamp. Missouri rolls into town after throttling the Gators 45-16, a year ago. This matchup has been back and forth since Missouri joined the SEC in 2012.
The home team has won two-thirds of the games with Florida winning once in Columbia (2015) and Missouri winning once in Gainesville (2014).The last time Mizzou tried to take over The Swamp they ran into a wall called DBU. Florida won 40-14, highlighted by back-to-back interceptions returned for touchdowns by Jalen Tabor and Quincy Wilson. Jordan Scarlett took over offensively and he looks to do the same in 2018.
Both teams will be well known and ranked by November after starting the season underrated. I expect a very close game. The Gators survive 31-28 on a game-winning field goal as time expires by Evan McPherson. 7-2 (5-2)
Muschamp Returns: South Carolina Gamecocks (Nov. 10. Gainesville, FL)
Will Muschamp got the best of his former players and recruits last season as the Gamecocks outlasted Florida 28-20 in a sloppy game.
The Gators defense had several busted assignments giving up huge runs for touchdowns. Gators fell like flies due to injuries last season in Columbia. Can coach Nick Savage get the Gators ready for a grueling season and rematch with South Carolina? This is a game Florida could and should win, but won’t capitalize on numerous opportunities to put Carolina away.
Carolina and WIll Muschamp scurry out of Gainesville giving Florida a heartbreaking 21-13 loss. 7-3 (5-3)
Senior Night: Idaho Vandals (Nov. 17. Gainesville, FL)
Cece Jefferson and Martez Ivey leads the Gator Seniors into their last game in The Swamp. The Gators host their second FCS team of the season with this game being a make-up game from 2014. It was cancelled because of weather right after the opening kickoff by, ironically, Valdez Showers.
Unfortunate for Florida, Idaho made the transition from FBS to FCS this off-season making their schedule look even more weak. The Gators handle business, 51-3, as they look ahead to their date with Florida State in Tallahassee. 8-3 (5-3)
Reclaim The State: Florida State Seminoles (Nov. 24. Tallahassee, FL)
Can Florida finally end the five years of misery? Blowout after blowout, heartbreak after heartbreak, the Gator faithful yearn for a victory over FSU. 2018 could finally be the year the embarrassment ends. Florida State also brings in a new coach but with less credentials than Mullen.
Florida State has a tough stretch to end the season in college football facing Clemson, at Notre Dame, at NC State, and Florida in four of their last five games. FSU will presumably be battered and bruised as they look to maintain their dominance. Florida State has a lot to fix with Jimbo Fisher leaving the program in shambles after his departure to Texas A&M.
Will the fans be right saying they have nothing to worry about and will continue to own Florida or will Florida prove to them that it’s time for the roles to be reversed? Florida escapes Doak Campbell 31-20 to end the regular season 9-3 with a 5-3 conference record.
Florida has the chance to start the Mullen Era strong. Will they live up to the hype the Gator fans are exclaiming or will it be just another year of being laughed at? Florida could finish 10-3 or 9-4 depending on the bowl game, which would be perfect heading into Mullen’s second season. The future certainly looks bright in The Swamp. Are the Gators back?
Photo is owned by Footballscoop / Article was written by AJ Sills