Florida Gators Football: 2015 Season Preview and Prediction

3 of 5

Jan 3, 2015; Birmingham, AL, USA; Florida Gators defensive back Vernon Hargreaves III (1) catches the ball for an interception to seal the game for the Gators agaisnt the East Carolina Pirates during the 2015 Birmingham Bowl at Legion Field. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive Outlook

Florida’s defense has been overlooked this offseason; offensive problems have dominated as the topic of conversation. But the relative silence around Florida’s defense is actually a good thing, as it means its on track to be just as strong as it was last year.

The Gators have a new defensive coordinator in Geoff Collins, who was previously Mississippi State’s defensive coordinator. Collins has veritably no problems to fix; rather, his job will be to maintain the defense’s high level performance, an expectation that comes with its own pressures.

Florida returns some major star potential on defense. Vernon Hargreaves III has made it on just about every preseason All-American list and is considered one of the top overall prospects for the 2016 NFL Draft.

Next: Top 30 College Mascots of All-Time

Senior Brian Poole also brings experience to the defensive back squad but sophomore and former five-star recruit, Jalen Tabor could be the breakout star in the secondary. Sophomore defensive back Duke Dawson seems to be following in his footsteps, recording 10 solo tackles and one interception in the six games he played in last season.

Jonathan Bullard, after considering a move to the pros, has decided to return for his senior year and will be a big force on the defensive line that has to replace No. 3 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, Dante Fowler Jr. Caleb Brantley, Joey Ivie, Alex McCalister round out the front four with Bryan Cox Jr. playing in a heavy rotation. Keep an eye on true freshman and former five-star recruit, CeCe Jefferson as the season progresses as he presses for playing time

Middle linebacker Antonio Morrison has had his share of ups and downs in his career, but he’s as talented as any MIKE backer in the SEC and should be in line for a career year. All in all, Florida’s defense will once again the most reliable part of the Gators team.

Next: Breakout Player to Watch