The Florida Gators did not enjoy the very best of seasons last time around.
Despite hiring Billy Napier to much fanfare, the Gators could not manage a winning campaign. They had to settle for a 6-7 season finish.
While Napier was disappointed at how the results unfolded, he and the fans understood that change takes time.
As the team’s coach gets to grips with their roster, facilities, culture, and intangibles, he hopes to make swift changes ahead of the new season.
Below is our breakdown of the Florida Gators’ prospects in 2023, along with details about the four most interesting additions they have made to their roster.
Finishing any season with a losing record is not a good look for a college football team. When Billy Napier took over at the Gators, most college football odds expected the team to at least have a winning campaign.
Napier, however, prioritized the future over trying to squeeze out one or two extra wins from his team. The goal of the 2022 season was to put the foundations in place for future success, which meant giving starts to players who he believed could develop in the next few years.
Comparisons to previous regimes are not damning, as Napier saw his team finish 11th in the 247Sports composite rankings. Those figures are similar to what Robert Mullen managed in his final season, where they finished 12th. They were ninth in the two previous years.
Changes are afoot at the Florida Gators. One of the most significant reasons for optimism involves their quarterback Jaden Rashada. They see him as the best talent they have recruited in the position since Will Grier in 2014. The Gators believe that if they can surround Rashada with the right pieces and give him protection through the offensive line, he can be a superstar in college football.
Another reason the Gators are optimistic is that they are focusing on depth with their recruitment. Some highlight names are joining the team in the 2023 season, as we will highlight below. However, the focus for Napier and his staff has been to get a deep roster that can withstand a long and punishing season.
With such a deep roster, Napier can sub players in and out during games without worrying about losing quality on the field.
The four most impressive names among the Class of 2023 Signees for the Gators include Eugene Wilson III, Caden Jones, Gavin Hill, and Dijon Johnson.
Wilson III is a wide receiver who is expected to get a lot of reps, while Jones is an impressive offensive tackle. Hill has built up a reputation in high school for being a solid defensive lineman, while Johnson is a cornerback who will help shore up the Gators’ defense.
These four names are impressive because they are the caliber of players that could fit any college program. Having Napier in charge has helped the Gators recruit such top talent, which bodes well for their next few seasons.
Wilson is one of the names on the roster that will stand out, even in his Freshman year. He managed 40 passes for 11 touchdowns and close to 800 yards during his senior year of high school, even though he only played seven games. Keep him healthy for a whole season, and the Gators have a star.
Most pundits do not believe the Florida Gators will be the top team in their division. They have built a great roster that should see them improve significantly from last season. However, climbing from a losing record to being a top team is a steep hill.
Coach Napier knows that all his changes to the Gators will take time to bear fruit. If he can push them up the 247Sports composite rankings, perhaps to 6th or 7th place, he would have a chance of getting them to the top in 2024.
The Florida Gators are expecting big things from coach Bill Napier. He replaced Dan Mullen and comes with a straightforward goal: win championships.
While Mullen was a respectable coach at the college level, the Gators felt that his recruitment needed to be more impressive to get the team to a position where they could beat the best in their division.
We expect Napier to take the team up several levels in the next few years. The four critical additions outlined above are a step in that direction. Napier hopes that the Florida Gators can have a winning season with players who can perform the way he wants.