With just 40 days to go until the Florida Gators‘ 2011-12 football season gets underway, the sixth part of OGGOA‘s new series, The Countdown, takes a look at those players expected to contribute on the field wearing jersey numbers ranging from 49-40.
49 – Darrin Kitchens (Homestead, FL)
6’2” 230 lbs.
Quick Bio: A three-star recruit coming out of high school, Kitchens was a late commit to Florida who is currently majoring in social & behavioral sciences.
2010 Season: Played on the kickoff coverage team in 10 of 13 games during his freshman season, registering a pair of tackles.
2011 Outlook: Slotted as a second/third-string weakside linebacker on the spring depth chart, Kitchens may see the field on defense during his second year with the team but will do so in a reserve role.
48 – Neiron Ball (Jackson, GA)
6’2” 220 lbs.
Quick Bio: An early enrollee last spring, Ball was a four-star prospect who was All-State in Georgia and currently majors in social & behavioral sciences.
2010 Season: On the field for all 13 games, Ball accumulated 10 tackles while mostly serving as a member of the kickoff and kickoff return special teams units.
2011 Outlook: After a blood vessel ruptured in his brain back in February, Ball hospitalized, treated and diagnosed with an arteriovenous malformation in his brain. Now healthy and recovering, he has been unable to practice or workout with the team and is expected to take a medical redshirt for his sophomore season. Ball hopes to return when he is completely healthy and in football shape next year.
Redshirt sophomore kicker
5’11” 155 lbs.
Quick Bio: A walk-on who majors in business, Crofoot spent his freshman year as a long snapper but eventually took a redshirt after he did not see the field.
2010 Season: Transitioning to a kicker and holder, he played in nine games last year and helped then-punter/kicker Chas Henry complete some important field goals including the 37-yard game-winner in overtime against Georgia.
2011 Outlook: Will compete for the holder job on field goals and extra points.
46 – Drew Ferris (Carlsbad, CA)
Sophomore long snapper
6’0” 215 lbs.
Quick Bio: A highly rated long snapper coming out of high school, the social & behavioral sciences major did not play as a freshman and took a redshirt in 2010.
2011 Outlook: Entered spring as the back-up long snapper and will likely retain that role throughout the season as long as redshirt sophomore Christopher Guido holds down his job.
44 – Kyle Christy (Brownsburg, IN)
6’2” 195 lbs.
Quick Bio: An early enrollee this January, Christy was one of the highest rated punters in the nation coming out of high school and committed to Florida partially because of Henry’s departure and the ability to start right away.
2011 Outlook: The starter going into spring practice, he was called “a real talented guy” with “a real good leg” by head coach Will Muschamp in April. Muschamp has been putting extra pressure on him during practice by standing right next to him while punting in an effort to help him mature quickly and rid himself of any nervousness going into the season.
41 – Hunter Joyer (Wesley Chapel, FL)
6’0” 237 lbs.
Quick Bio: The top-rated fullback nationally, Joyer enrolled in the summer and is expected to compete for time on the field right away.
2011 Outlook: On National Signing Day, Muschamp raved about how Joyer can help the team going forward. “We’re going to get back to more traditional as far as running two back runs. And he’s a young man that’s got a lot of lower body power, punch and explosion,” he said. “He’s a very strong young man. He lives in the weight room, and we’re excited to what he brings to our football team from a toughness standpoint.”