Defensive linemen Jachai Polite and Jabari Zuniga also made drive-stopping plays as Polite sniffed out a wide receiver reverse and Zuniga sacked Trask stalling a Gator offensive drive.
Senior defensive standout CeCe Jefferson will be the leader of this front seven for the Gator defense in 2018, but others around him certainly showed promise on Saturday.
Gator defensive backs will be fun to watch
Florida will have the rare combination of youth and experience in the secondary in 2018. While the Gators are extremely young in the back half of their defense, they are also very experienced. Five sophomores in the Florida defensive backfield saw significant time on the field as freshman and you could see that experience and talent on display Saturday.
C.J. Henderson, who played well for Florida as a freshman in 2017, looked good, breaking up a long pass attempt from Kyle Trask that was intended for wide receiver Trevon Grimes.
Henderson, along with Marco Wilson, Brad Stewart, Brian Edwards and Shawn Davis all saw early playing time in their Florida careers and that experience should help them moving forward.
In fact, if you project the top-10 defensive backs for Florida in 2018, there isn’t one senior among them. So, it is safe to say youth will be served in the defensive backfield, but oddly it is experienced youth.
There is a lot of excitement in Gator Nation
With a crowd of over 53,000 announced on Saturday at The Swamp, there is little doubt that Gator football fans are buying into Dan Mullen and are excited for a fresh start in 2018. Mullen has brought a lot of excitement with him to Gainesville and it is translating into the fan base.
Mullen knows from his time as a Gator assistant under Urban Meyer what this fan base can do when they are excited and behind you.
Mullen knows the Gator faithful like offense, he knows they like winning, he knows what they can offer in the good times, and he knows how important they are to the program.
With over 53,000 in attendance at the Orange and Blue game, maybe the Gator fan base knows how important Mullen is as well.
(You can follow Ryan Green on Twitter @RyanGreenGN)
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