Gators’ playmakers poised to return, but will they help Florida beat Georgia?

By Adam Silverstein
October 25, 2017
Gators’ playmakers poised to return, but will they help Florida beat Georgia?

Image Credit: ESPN

As bad as the Florida Gators may have looked in consecutive home losses, the fact is they were without two of their top playmakers in those contests — one for both games and another who was injured in the first and missed the second. As the Gators prepare for a rivalry showdown this weekend that they enter as two-touchdown underdogs, it appears as if both of those playmakers are on their way back.

Head coach Jim McElwain on Wednesday listed sophomore wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland (high-ankle sprain) and freshman athlete Kadarius Toney as probable for Saturday’s game against the No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs. Media in attendance noted both players participated in practice on Tuesday, and McElwain said Wednesday the players are “doing everything they can to get rolling.” He then noted that the trainer would make the final determination of their availability prior to the game.

Though neither has outstanding numbers, Cleveland and Toney are the No. 2 and No. 4 offensive yard-getters on the team. Cleveland is Florida’s leading receiver with 326 yards and two touchdowns on the year, while Toney has amassed 225 total yards and averages 9.8 yards per touch. The duo are also responsible for three of the team’s four most explosive plays this season.

With Cleveland back in the fold as a deep threat, the receiving rotation will straighten out. Toney helps spread the field horizontally, potentially keeping Georgia’s third-ranked defense guessing and providing more time for redshirt freshman quarterback Feleipe Franks to deliver the ball.

While the Gators’ offense has been lackluster all season, the losses of Cleveland and Franks for a unit that was already without its returning receiver and rusher from a year ago undoubtedly hurt. Florida may well have won close games over LSU and Texas A&M with that additional firepower in the fold.

Their return may not do the same for the Gators against the Bulldogs, but it certainly won’t hurt Florida’s chances.

In other injury news, McElwain referred to junior WR Josh Hammond (back) as “very questionable” and redshirt freshman cornerback C.J. McWilliams (hamstring) as questionable. Redshirt sophomore defensive end Jabari Zuniga (ankle) and redshirt freshman linebacker Jeremiah Moon (undisclosed) are expected to suit up and play.

One Comment

  1. 1974Gator says:

    Giddyup Gators! Let’s get a big lead so they can’t catch us in the 4th quarter! 😉 Franks goes 24 of 30 for 240 yards and two touchdown while Perine and Davis gut the Dawgs for 200+. We harass Fromm all game, sack him 3 times and intercept him once. We win 31-20.

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