GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- After going 11-2 in the regular season in large part thanks to the strides the offense made in the running game and the turnover department, GatorBait.net takes a stab at ranking the importance and impact of the 11 starters in 2012, five of which the Gators will lose going into 2013.
Fullback Hunter Joyer had a quiet season, but his impact was felt all over the offense all year.
11. RT Chaz Green -- Green struggled throughout the year after a promising 2011 season. He was beaten off the edge pretty routinely in pass protection and was average as a run blocker.
10. LT Xavier Nixon -- While more frustrating for fans than Green, Nixon played much better at times. He had more ups and downs, but he was a strong blocker on outside zone runs and did a better job run blocking than Green.
9. WR Frankie Hammond Jr. -- Hammond had the most drops on the team at receiver and was not a consistent target in the passing game. Aside from a 75-yard touchdown reception at Tennessee, his numbers were barely better than Trey Burton's as a pass-catcher.
8. RG Jon Halapio -- Halapio was fairly consistent throughout the season but never made a big step forward in his progression. He was good as a run blocker but struggled to pick up middle blitzers.
7. C Jon Harrison -- You can copy and paste the evaluation for Halapio here. Harrison gets the nod over Halapio because there was more on his plate, and he has been a consistent snapper over the past two years.
6. WR Quinton Dunbar -- Dunbar became a reliable receiver, particularly toward the end of the year. His hands were the best among the receivers, and he gained tough yards after the catch. He also did a good job working himself open when Jeff Driskel scrambled.
5. LG James Wilson -- Wilson stepped in for Dan Wenger at left guard this year, and it was a noticeable upgrade. It's no coincidence Florida ran the ball well to the left side. Wilson was a very good run blocker and struggled least of the five starters in pass protection.
4. FB Hunter Joyer -- Florida's run game was drastically improved, and Joyer's blocking was a major reason why. The sophomore stoned opposing linebackers repeatedly throughout the season, freeing up a few extra yards here and there for Mike Gillislee.
3. TE Jordan Reed -- Reed was the release valve for Driskel all year. He was the guy the sophomore quarterback relied on as his go-to target, and Reed's athleticism made him one of the few mismatches for Florida's offense against opposing teams.
2. QB Jeff Driskel -- Driskel's play as a whole was fairly average, but he ranks this high on our list for one reason and one reason only: He played safe football. That was the biggest difference in Florida's turnaround, and Driskel also added a nice component to the running game with his ability to run the zone read.
1. RB Mike Gillislee -- Florida couldn't have won 11 games without the ability to grind out games late or control the tempo to allow its defense and special teams to dictate play. Gillislee made that all possible with his strong, one-cut running style and ability to get tough yards after contact.
Already have an account? Sign In