Florida Soccer Positional Quarter Rankings for 2023

I’m going to try to avoid clichés here (like a chain is only as strong as its weakest link), but you know coaches are using them across campuses as they prepare for the 2023 season.

And while most of the clichés are true, they can also be overcome. Sometimes the weakest link is tolerable by the players around it.

We also know that most of the so-called extras are having a hard time picking Florida to do much this season because they see so many weak links.

Sounds like that old TV show… which wasn’t any good either.

In this edition of Dooley’s Dozen, we bring you the mighty Gators with each position (yes, I thought of a way to get to 12) ranked by how good that position looks to be.

Of course, many things can change.

running backwards

Easy peasy. Trevor Etienne and Montrell Johnson rushed for 1,560 yards and 16 TDs a year ago and now the room has been bolstered with a transfer and a freshman. I don’t understand why this staff doesn’t throw the ball to running backs more often (less than two sacks by running backs per game), but that’s the strength of the team.

wide receiver

James Gilbert/fake images

James Gilbert/fake images

This may surprise you…or you may think that Florida doesn’t have a clear room number 2. Ricky Pearsall is really good. We know. The Gators need great seasons from Marcus Burke and Caleb Douglas. But I’m high up in this group because I think the freshmen are going to play a big role.


Matt Pendleton/Gainesville <una clase="enlace " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/wnba/teams/con" data-ylk="slk:Sol;elm:context_link;itc:0">Sun</a>” data-src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/ZFyYydU61FSauszdK4lVLw–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTY0MA–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/gators_wire_usa_today_articles_447/762d 0a265ce90d636ec425d481e4df43″/><noscript><img alt=Sun” src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/ZFyYydU61FSauszdK4lVLw–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTY0MA–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/gators_wire_usa_today_articles_447/762d0 a265ce90d636ec425d481e4df43″ class=”caas -img”/>
Matt Pendleton/Gainesville Sun

I’m including the nickels here and this is one area where Florida could be a lot better than people think. Jason Marshall’s experience (19 starts) and having Jaydon Hill healthy makes me think he has to be better. Devin Moore is back from injury and there’s a lot of depth in this room.

offensive line

Really, who knows if the transfer portal is going to pay off here? Florida lost four of five starters, but hopefully having a veteran at center will be an advantage. This is a great offensive line, but bigger isn’t always better. This line has a chance to be as good as last year, but if it’s not closed, it’s going to be a tough season.

inside defensive line

Matt Pendleton/Gainesville Sun

Matt Pendleton/Gainesville Sun

Again, putting a lot of faith in the guys they pulled out of the portal. Cam’Ron Jackson could be the key, and hopefully Chris McClellan can use his 262 snap play behind Gervon Dexter to make a big leap this season.

special teams

Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

Not the kickers, but the guys who run across the field and kick back. In theory, having that many four-star freshmen should pay off on special teams in terms of kick coverage. If they can block a bit, Pearsall and Etienne could turn special teams to Florida’s advantage.


Matt Pendleton/Gainesville Sun

Matt Pendleton/Gainesville Sun

This is a group that may be better than we think. But a lot depends on whether Shemar James is ready to take that leap. He started the first two games last season and had his moments. This is not the deepest area on this team, which could be a problem.


Matt Pendleton/Gainesville Sun

Matt Pendleton/Gainesville Sun

Everyone would like to think that they will be better. There are a lot of them. I think Miguel Mitchell could have a great year. I know: One of Florida’s biggest problems in the past three years has been losing safeties. That needs to change.


You probably know that Florida expects to play a lot of close games this year with a ball-control offense. That means you better have a good field goal kicker. We’ll see, because last season it was erratic as Adam Mihalek missed one out of three attempts. Jeremy Crawshaw is a weapon.

attack player

Matt Pendleton/Gainesville Sun

Matt Pendleton/Gainesville Sun

It could work. But all I know is that there was a collective groan from the Gator fans who watched Graham Mertz play at Wisconsin when he announced his transfer to the UF. He’s a smart guy who has experience and Jack Miller is a capable backup. But where are the stars in the team’s most important position?

edge runner

OK, the guys have burst onto the scene here before. And maybe it will happen to Princely Umanmielen, who actually led Florida in sacks last year. Or maybe Kelby Collins is one of those guys who plays up to his rating from the start. I’m just not seeing it now.

hard end

Florida barely used tight ends for anything other than blocking last year and there’s no reason to think that’s going to change with the loss of the season’s best. Hey, someone had to be 12.

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The story originally appeared on the Gators Wire