With the 2011-12 athletic season now in the books and the 2012-13 season about to begin, the focus has shifted to the return of Florida Gators football. For the second-straight year, OGGOA will take a look at every player of substance on the roster, counting down by jersey number, in this series: The Countdown.
67 – Jon Halapio (St. Petersburg, FL)
Redshirt junior guard
6’3” 321 lbs.
Quick Bio: A versatile offensive lineman in high school, Halapio settled into the right guard role in 2010 when he was named to the 2010 Sporting News All-Freshman Team. He has started 20 contests throughout his career after taking a medical redshirt as a freshman in 2009.
2011 Season: One of the most consistent players on the offensive line last season, Halapio started every game at right guard – the only member of the unit to completely lock down his position. According to UF, he “owns the most consecutive career starts” on the Gators offense with 14.
2012 Outlook: Nothing has changed as far as Halapio is concerned heading into his redshirt junior season. He has only strengthened his hold on the right guard job and has continued growing as a team leader both on and off the field.
66 – James Wilson (St. Augustine, FL)
Redshirt senior guard
6’4” 323 lbs.
Quick Bio: Ranked as the No. 2 overall prospect in his recruiting class by Rivals, Wilson was a five-star prospect who redshirted as a freshman and played in 24 of Florida’s 28 games from 2008-09, earning four starts. He was slated as the starting left guard in 2010 but missed the final 10 games of the season with a left knee injury.
2011 Season: Originally left off of the spring depth chart as his participation was very limited, Wilson wound up playing the final 12 games of the season, was a key member of the team’s field goal unit and even earned a start in the Gator Bowl.
2012 Outlook: Wilson participated in his first spring game in his six years at Florida, crediting strength and conditioning coach Jeff Dillman with his improved health. He is a candidate for the starting left guard job this season (competing in practice with redshirt junior Kyle Koehne) but at worst will be a reserve who will see plenty of action.
Check out six more players in this edition of The Countdown…after the break!
65 – Tommy Jordan (Ridgefield, CT)
Redshirt freshman guard
6’3” 306 lbs.
Quick Bio/2011 Season: A three-star recruit, Jordan was the No. 2 prospect coming out of Connecticut and joined the team in the summer of 2011. He took a redshirt last season after undergoing shoulder surgery and did not dress for any games.
2012 Outlook: Jordan did not work with the team in the spring as he was still recovering from surgery but has been getting repetitions as a reserve during fall camp. He is expected to contribute this season, likely on special teams and perhaps as a reserve offensive lineman on occasion.
64 – Kyle Koehne (Indianapolis, IN)
Redshirt junior tackle
6’5″ 311 lbs.
Quick Bio: Koehne was a three-year starter in high school who left as a three-star prospect and did not see the field initially with the Gators. He saw action in 13 games during his redshirt freshman season, playing as a member of the field goal unit.
2011 Season: After spending the spring as a reserve at tackle, Koehne broadened his repertoire and wound up as a key reserve for Florida all over the offensive line. He played in all 13 games and proved that his arrow for his potential is pointing upward.
2012 Outlook: Koehne was the second-string center during the spring but is now competing with Wilson for the starting left guard job. Like Wilson, he will see plenty of action this season whether or not he is named the opening day starter.
63 – Trip Thurman (Dover, DE)
Redshirt freshman guard
6’3” 303 lbs.
Quick Bio/2011 Season: The top-ranked player in the state of Delaware and a four-star prospect coming out of high school, Thurman joined the team in the summer and played in the season opener against UAB but did not see the field the rest of the season, taking a redshirt after undergoing shoulder surgery.
2012 Outlook: Barely mentioned this offseason, Thurman looks to be in the back end of the depth chart and may not see much time on the field this season.
58 – Nick Alajajian (Naples, FL)
Senior defensive lineman
6’3” 269 lbs.
Quick Bio: After seeing time as a back-up offensive lineman in 2009, in which he played in seven games including the season opener, Alajajian was on the field for the entire 2010 season but spent most of his time on the field goal unit and saw sparse action as a reserve right tackle.
2011 Season: Alajajian tore his meniscus in practice and underwent surgery in April but was still able to play in 12 games. He was again used mostly on the field goal unit though he did see some time at right tackle and actually started at left tackle in the Gator Bowl.
2012 Outlook: With Florida suddenly set on the offensive line and Alajajian in the back of the pack, the Gators decided to move him to the defensive line. He had successful surgery in April on his right wrist and returned for fall camp only to be “slowed” for the first 10 days due to a back injury. It was announced on Aug. 11 that he fractured his right knee and would miss the entire season though head coach Will Muschamp said 10 days later that there is a possibility he could return in mid-October.
51 – Michael Taylor (Atlanta, GA)
Redshirt sophomore linebacker
6’0″ 226 lbs.
Quick Bio: The third-ranked linebacker in the nation coming out of high school, Taylor was a four-star recruit who dressed for four games in 2012 but did not see the field and ultimately took a redshirt.
Career Stats (12 games):36 tackles (4.5 for loss), forced fumble, interception
2011 Season: The main reserve behind Jon Bostic at Mike linebacker, Taylor earned more and more snaps throughout the season as he seemed to improve his play each week. He earned a start against Vanderbilt and registered seven tackles each against VU and LSU but had a standout performance against Kentucky with six tackles (two for loss) and an interception.
2012 Outlook: With Bostic still manning the middle of Florida’s defense, Taylor will again be forced into a reserve role but is on the fast track to being a starter in 2013. He is also seeing some time at Will linebacker in order to improve his versatility.
50 – Sam Robey (Tampa, FL)
Redshirt senior center/guard
6’3” 305 lbs.
Quick Bio: Robey sat out his freshman year with an injured left knee but came back in 2009 to play in 13 games including the SEC Championship and Sugar Bowl. He followed that up with a productive 2010 season in which he played 10 games and saw time at center in four contests.
2011 Season: Though he was expected to jump into the starting role at center following the departure of Mike Pouncey, Robey wound up being beat out by Jonotthan Harrison, who worked at the position for the first time since high school. He wound up playing in nine games as a reserve when all was said and done.
2012 Outlook: Robey has been working as a reserve at left guard, right guard and center during practice but is not in the mix to win a starting job at any of the three positions. He should once again be an important reserve for the Gators, and his increased versatility should result in more playing time overall.