The Florida Gators
Last season’s record: 8-5
Returning starters/letterwinners: QB John Brantley, RB Jeff Demps, RB Chris Rainey, WR Deonte Thompson, WR Frankie Hammond, TE Jordan Reed, ATH Trey Burton, OG Jon Halapio, OT Xavier Nixon. DT Shariff Floyd, DT Jaye Howard, OLB/DE Ronald Powell, LB Jelani Jenkins, LB Jon Bostic, CB Jeremy Brown. K Caleb Sturgis.
Key losses: SS Ahmad Black led the team with 108 tackles last season. DE Justin Trattou led the Gators with 12 tackles for loss last season. CB Janoris Jenkins intercepted three passes as one of the best cover cornerbacks in the country before being dismissed from the team in late April.
Key returnees: RB Jeff Demps led the Gators with 551 rushing yards and 927 all-purpose yards during an injury plagued junior season. DT Jaye Howard recorded three sacks while playing an important part of the run defense. ATH Trey Burton played quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end during his freshman season, and his knowledge of offensive coordinator Charlie Weis’ offense will put him on the field in multiple spots this season.
Best game: October 1 vs. Alabama
Projected finish: 9-4
Outlook: Depth issues on the offensive line could stunt the team’s growth in Will Muschamp’s first season as head coach, as the offense ended the 2010 campaign searching for playmakers. The defense lost leadership but has young talent waiting in the wings.