You might know Wilson, and you might know Henderson.
You might remember them making themselves known to Florida fans early last season with their pass breakups and picks, their coverage and their consistency. But you may not know Davis or Edwards.
Shawn Davis and Brian Edwards, that is. They’re also sophomore defensive backs for the Gators who, like Marco Wilson and CJ Henderson, are from South Florida. And while they don’t have the prestige or renown of their more well-known counterparts, they’re hoping to be bigger contributors to UF’s South Florida-heavy defensive backfield in 2018.
“Man, we can be gooood,” Edwards said of the group’s potential. “We’re DBU. We’re just coming together now knowing the scheme and playing a lot of different coverages. We’re going to be tight. We’re going to be cool.”
Let’s start the group breakdown with Henderson, who was perhaps the most impressive of the group last season. The Columbus alum was, if not the best, at least the flashiest.
He shined in Florida’s first two games of the season, hauling in a pick six in the season opener against Michigan and another two weeks later against Tennessee. He finished the year with two more interceptions, which tied him with senior Duke Dawson for the team lead.
Henderson’s emergence wasn’t expected as a freshman, but it wasn’t exactly a surprise either. He signed with UF in a bit of a surprise move on National Signing Day in 2017 and boosted the class considerably. The 247Sports Composite rated him as Florida’s fourth-best prospect and the nation’s 139th-best player.
Entering year two after success in year one, he knows he still has much work to do despite early success.
“Confidence-wise, I always knew I could be that great,” he said of last season. “My family set me up that way, and I just continue to work hard.”
His partner on the outside was Marco Wilson, brother of former Gators corner and current Indianapolis Colt Quincy Wilson. The younger Wilson brother, however, is sick of that comparison.
“I'm not my brother,” he explained. “I'm my own person. I play like how I play. He's a great corner, I'm a great corner too, but we're not the same."
Marco is smaller and quicker than Quincy. He used that quickness to his advantage as a freshman, and he said he’s added 10 pounds of muscle this spring to help him with physicality. That brings him to just under 190 pounds.
The American Heritage-Plantation alum didn’t register an interception as a freshman, but he did lead all UF freshmen in tackles with 34.
He also swatted away passes on multiple occasions and rarely got beat one-on-one. Yet if you ask him about that success, he shrugs. He’s more focused on starting again in 2018.
“I wasn't impressed by my freshman season,” he said. “I know I've got a lot more to do. I don't even like pay attention when everybody says, like, 'I'm good.' I know I've got a lot more to go and I've got a lot of work to do because I want to be the best, I want to be known as the best and I want to end up going on to the next level.”
That leaves Edwards and Davis as the remaining pieces of the South Florida delegation in Florida’s defensive backfield. Davis, a Miami Southridge alum, was the more prominent of the two a year ago.
He started the season’s final game and has showed flashes of emergence this spring. He’s a safety, and he’ll likely challenge for a starting spot with fellow sophomore Brad Stewart and junior Jeawon Taylor.
Davis looked lost at times early last season when he did see the field, but he says this year will be different.
“Last year I was just coming in and I needed to get my feet wet,” he said, “but I feel like I am more comfortable and I can play fast and make a lot of plays.”
That leaves Edwards. In the scrimmage that was open to reporters on March 30, Edwards made several impressive open-field tackles and apparently ended this past weekend’s scrimmage with a 90-yard pick six.
Edwards, who attended Miramar High, brings his 6-2 size to the corner position, although he was the lowest-rated recruit of the quartet coming out of high school. He also didn’t register any statistics. He, like his fellow quartet members, wants this year to be different — whether that’s through individual achievement of more wins.
“I will play a lot this year,” Edwards said. “I know last year I played a lot of special teams, but (I want) to get in the game this year and make a lot of plays for my team.”