Secondary issues are primary problems for Alabama, Florida and LSU

FLORIDA CBs MARCO WILSON (3) AND C.J. HENDERSON (5), courtesy of Florida athletics


The concern: There is zero proven depth at corner behind two sophomore starters, and safety isn’t exactly filled with proven performers, either.

The skinny: Sophomore CBs Marco Wilson and C.J. Henderson should form a solid duo. Wilson – the younger brother of former UF star CB Quincy Wilson – was a fulltime starter at nickel last season, while Henderson started five games at corner; Henderson had four interceptions and returned two for touchdowns. Wilson, especially, is a talent, and he should vie for all-league honors this fall.

Junior Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (he has added the “-Johnson” to his last name to honor his dad) is a returning starter at safety; he arrived at UF as a corner and struggled for the first half of last season in his new role, then settled in and played solid football down the stretch. It seems likely he stays at safety, but he could move back to corner.

Junior Jeawon Taylor started five times at safety, but he isn’t guaranteed a starting spot. There are high hopes for two true freshmen Ss who enrolled early in Trey Dean and Amari Burney; it would be a shock if both don’t play this fall, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if one wins a starting job. Dean could play corner as well, but his ceiling is much higher at safety.

This is an important spring for six sophomores – McArthur Burnett, Shawn Davis, Brian Edwards, Quincy Lenton, C.J. McWilliams and Brad Stewart. Burnett and McWilliams are corners, Davis and Lenton are safeties and Edwards and Stewart can play corner and safety. The Gators also are looking for a nickelback.

Florida didn’t sign a pure corner in the 2018 class, and there are rumblings that four-star receiver Justin Watkins could start out at cornerback; he also played corner in high school and he might be able to see the field faster on defense. Where he plays this fall will be directly impacted by how all the sophomores perform in spring practice.

New coach Dan Mullen has two assistants overseeing the secondary, with Charlton Warren guiding the corners and Ron English the safeties.

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