The Top 10 Florida Gators of 2012

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida's 2012 season was a surprise to almost everyone in the Gator Nation, with the Gators rolling to an 11-1 record and coming up just short of a berth in the BCS National Championship Game. Today, looks at the key players who made that possible. We rank the Top 10 Florida players in 2012.

Florida running back Mike Gillislee powered the Gators ground game, rushing for 1,152 yards.

10. FB Hunter Joyer -- Joyer might be the last player who comes to mind on offense, but that's certainly not the case for opposing defensive coordinators. His ability to block changed the game for the Gators on the ground and helped Mike Gillislee run for more than 1,000 yards.

9. CB Loucheiz Purifoy -- Like Hines, Purifoy would have been much higher on this list had he been used like was late in the year throughout the season. In addition to providing Florida with a strong cornerback in run support, Purifoy added a presence as an explosive playmaker on offense and special teams late in the year.

8. TE Jordan Reed -- Reed was Florida's best pass-catcher throughout the year. He finished as the leading receiver and was one of the few players who actually created matchup issues for opponents in the passing game.

7. DT Sharrif Floyd -- Floyd was more effective than his numbers would indicate, pushing the pocket routinely and helping the Gators control the line of scrimmage. He demanded double-teams and dictated the tone in the front four.

6. P Kyle Christy -- Florida's punter was one of its biggest assets in 2012. The Gators built their gameplan and playcalling around Christy's ability to flip the field and kicker Caleb Sturgis' ability to hit long field goals consistently.

5. QB Jeff Driskel -- Driskel was one of the biggest reasons for improvement on offense. He added two crucial elements to the offense: ball security and the zone read. That made Florida's plan to win much more successful, even though the overall numbers on offense didn't improve much.

4. LB Jon Bostic -- Bostic manned the middle on an absolutely suffocating defense. He controlled the team and played more physically than he had at any point in his career, hitting hard in the gaps and providing Florida with an effective middle blitzer.

3. S Matt Elam -- Elam's ability to play multiple positions and play in the box in run support or in coverage made Florida extremely versatile on defense. His hitting set the tone in several key games, and he was the electric playmaker on defense that took Florida's defense from good to great.

2. K Caleb Sturgis -- Finishing as the career and single-season record-holder for made field goals, Sturgis' contributions can't be overstated on a team that played a ton of close games in 2012. His consistency and range helped shape the gameplan, allowing Florida to play conservatively on offense to rely on a staunch defense and strong special teams to win games.

1. RB Mike Gillislee -- Gillislee entered the year with questions about his durability, and ability at that, to last for a full-season in a run first offense. He smashed them all to pieces with one of the best single seasons in school history, flashing a gutty, one-cut running style that single-handedly turned around Florida's season.

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