Florida football without three starting defensive backs, kicker Evan McPherson among 14 out vs. Missouri

By Adam Silverstein
October 31, 2020
Florida football without three starting defensive backs, kicker Evan McPherson among 14 out vs. Missouri

Image Credit: UAA

The No. 10 Florida Gators will be without 14 players on Saturday as the program makes its return to action following a two-week layoff due to a COVID-19 outbreak that affected more than two dozen players and a handful of staff members within the program. Among those out for the night game are four starters, including three in the secondary.

Florida will not have redshirt junior Marco Wilson and seniors Shawn Davis and Donovan Stiner in the defensive backfield, OnlyGators.com has confirmed. Rivals’ Zach Abolverdi first reported their absences. Next up on the depth chart at their respective positions are sophomore Jaydon Hill, freshman Rashad Torrence II and junior Trey Dean III. Hill has started two games this season, while Dean started six games in 2019. Torrence has appeared in all three games but will presumably be making his first start Saturday.

Junior kicker Evan McPherson, who has made all five of his field goals and all 16 of his extra points this season, will also be out of action, OnlyGators.com reports. In his place is redshirt junior Chris Howard, who has never kicked a collegiate field goal but went 4-for-4 on extra points in 2019.

Though the COVID-19 outbreak initially occurred two weeks ago, players who test positive must be in isolation for 10 days, and those pinged during contact tracing must quarantine for 14 days. As such, these absences do not necessarily indicate that there is an ongoing outbreak but rather that availability clocks have not expired.

Among the 10 others who will not be playing Saturday include five more defensive backs: freshman Avery Helm, sophomore Chester Kimbrough, redshirt senior Quincy Lenton, freshman Mordecai McDaniel and redshirt senior C.J. McWilliams.

Redshirt junior linebacker Lacedrick Brunson, sophomore defensive lineman Jaelin Humphries, redshirt junior offensive lineman T.J Moore and redshirt junior Austin Perry are also out, as is sophomore OL Ethan White, whose absence was known as he is recovering from knee surgery.

McWilliams, Kimbrough and Moore are all second-stringers. It is being reported that McWilliams has opted out of the 2020 season, but OnlyGators.com cannot confirm that at this time.

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