Florida has five true freshmen battling for the starting job opposite All-American cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III, and the group isn’t shying away from the pressure early in camp.
Early enrollees Duke Dawson and Jalen Tabor, along with J.C. Jackson, Quincy Wilson and Deiondre Porter, comprise a raw yet talented quintet, and Hargreaves has raved about them.
“They’re all doing really well,” he said. “They’re picking up. They’re learning the defense. They understand that they have to play, and they’re ready for it. I’m impressed.”
Coach Will Muschamp called the freshmen “really athletic,” while Hargreaves, only a sophomore, specifically highlighted the physicality of Jackson, a two-way star at Immokalee. Tabor and Dawson each had a strong spring camp, also leading Hargreaves to already consider the rookie duo “vets.” Dawson could play multiple positions in UF’s secondary, according to Muschamp.
“[Jalen and Duke] had a spring under their belts,” Hargreaves explained. “They understand the defense. They know what’s expected here.”
“He gives you a different skill set as far as a bigger guy that’s a good blitzer,” Muschamp said.
“He’s got good run instincts. He’s a guy we play at the nickel a little in the spring and could possibly get some looks at safety. Smart guy.”