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.
9 – Josh Evans (Irvington, NJ)
6’2” 201 lbs.
Quick Bio: One of only five true seniors on the roster, Evans was a four-star recruit coming out of high school who appeared in 21 games over his first two seasons. He was forced into a reserve role because of the Gators’ extreme depth at safety but bided his time until his junior season.
Career Stats (34 games): 71 tackles (52 solo, 2.5 for loss), sack, fumble recovery, two interceptions, pass defense
2011 Season: Evans started eight games his junior year but played in all 13 contests, registering 51 total tackles including a career-high 11 against South Carolina. Arguably his best game of the season came in his last, the Gator Bowl, where he notched five tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery.
2012 Outlook: Evans made additional strides this offseason, according to defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who said his communication and confidence has improved. Now making more plays than ever in the defensive backfield, he is once again listed as a starting safety and should hold down that position all year. “I think Josh has improved tremendously, and it has nothing to do with athleticism, it has to do with communication and being on the same page and anticipation. The safety position, a lot of it is anticipation for the communication,” head coach Will Muschamp said recently. “That’s where I think Josh has taken the next step, and he certainly has done that. And he’s been very good in camp, and he was very good throughout spring as far as taking the next step.”
8 – Jeremy Brown (Orlando, FL)
Redshirt junior cornerback
5’10” 184 lbs.
Quick Bio: A four-star prospect, Brown was sidelined by back problems for two full seasons and earned a redshirt as a freshman. He made it a point to rehab his back as much as possible during and after the 2009 season and sought to earn a starting role when Joe Haden declared early for the NFL. Brown succeeded in that goal in 2010, winning the job across from Janoris Jenkins and starting 10 contests. He missed the final two regular season games with a hamstring injury but played in the Outback Bowl.
Career Stats (11 games): 15 tackles (11 solo, one for loss), three interceptions, five pass defenses, touchdown
2011 Season: Brown suffered a knee injury right before the season began and was expected to only miss a few weeks of action. Many accused Muschamp of misleading the public as to the severity of Brown’s injury, but the coach explained in the spring that was not the case. “Our medical evaluation was he was going to be out for a week,” Muschamp said. “That’s what I was told. [...] Jeremy was a situation where he rehabbed, it didn’t work, we rehabbed a different way, it didn’t work. We continued to progress, we tried to work him back in practice as the season was going, and he just never responded to rehab, so eventually we had surgery.”
2012 Outlook: Returning to practice this summer, Brown fractured his wrist and had surgery on July 18. He was reevaluated on Aug. 28 to see if he could return to practice though the result of that check-up is not yet known. Brown would have had an opportunity to start at cornerback for Florida this season, but his injuries allowed four other players to jump ahead of him in the pecking order. He should see the field eventually if he can get back healthy but may have to focus on 2013 (his sixth and final season) to regain his starting job.
Check out 11 more players in this edition of The Countdown…after the break!