Florida football depth chart: Billy Napier talks Max Brown starting, role of Swamp vs. Florida State

By OnlyGators.com Staff
November 24, 2023
Florida football depth chart: Billy Napier talks Max Brown starting, role of Swamp vs. Florida State

Image Credit: Mallory Peak, UAA

This is it for the Florida Gators. There is only one chance remaining to become bowl-eligible this season, and it comes with the Gators hosting the rival No. 5 Florida State Seminoles on Saturday night inside Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. As if facing a third straight ranked program — and fourth in the last five games — was not enough, Florida will go into the contest without redshirt junior quarterback Graham Mertz (collarbone).

Mertz’s absence has elevated redshirt freshman Max Brown into the starting role, but that’s not the only change that has come to the quarterback depth chart (see below). In fact, there are a number of notable changes this week — not all of them for injury reasons.

“He’s done a great job,” Napier said of Brown’s work this week with the first team. “… It’s been a good week. It’s fun to see the players rally around him. … Everyone knows where he started Day 1, and they know where he’s at now as a player, and ultimately, they respect that. Helps that he was productive when he got in the game last week — that helps him mentally. But you know, there’ll be some butterflies, you know that’s coming. But Max, he’s done a great job so far this week.”

While Napier admitted that Brown’s athleticism adds a different element to the offense, he cautioned that his lack of experience counteracts that benefit. “Everybody understands they need to raise their level of play to help make up for Max’s experience factor,” he explained, “but Max is definitely a different type of player than Graham, and there will be some elements there that could be a factor.”

All of this comes as Napier faces the prospect of losing five straight games to end the season after losing three straight to conclude Year 1. The schedule has been a murder’s row, but as the Gators proved last week, they are capable of stepping up to the competition. On Saturday night in The Swamp, one would think Florida is ready to take it to one of its top rivals.

“They can have a significant impact on the game,” Napier said of the fans in The Swamp. “We have one of the best if not the best venue in all of college football, and we play there Saturday night in a rivalry game, one that is historic. … Our fans can make a significant impact relative to how they can affect how Florida State operates on offense, especially with an inexperienced backup quarterback. It’s been rowdy in there in the past, but we need it to be special, and we’re going to need them to do their part Saturday night.”

Let’s take a look at the depth chart ahead of Saturday night’s game against FSU.


QB: Max Brown, Micah Leon, Parker Leise
RB: Montrell Johnson Jr., Trevor Etienne, Treyaun Webb
TE: Hayden Hansen, Dante Zanders
TE: Arlis Boardingham, Tony Livingston
WR: Eugene Wilson III, Thai Chiaokhiao-Bowman, Andy Jean
WR: Kahleil Jackson, Marcus Burke, Aidan Mizell
WR: Ricky Pearsall, Ja’Quavion Fraziars, Taylor Spierto

LT: Austin Barber, Kamryn Waites
LG: Richie Leonard IV, Knijeah Harris, Christian Williams
C: Jake Slaughter OR Kingsley Eguakun
RG: Micah Mazzccua, Jalen Farmer
RT: Damieon George Jr., Lyndell Hudson II

Not only is Mertz out for the season, redshirt sophomore QB Jack Miller III was completely removed from the depth chart. That means Brown’s only capable backup is Leon, the redshirt senior walk-on. One must presume Miller has decided to leave the program after being jumped on the depth chart by Brown earlier this season and not getting the starting opportunity.

Eguakun, who was listed as the starter but did not play last week, now has an “OR” designation behind Slaughter, who has started most of the season at center.


F: Tyreak Sapp, Kamran James OR Kelby Collins
NT: Cam Jackson, Jamari Lyons OR Desmond Watson
DE: Chris McClellan OR Caleb Banks
JACK: Princely Umanmielen, T.J. Searcy
LB: Teradja Mitchell OR Scooby Williams
LB: Derek Wingo, Mannie Nunnery, Jaden Robinson
SAM: Mannie Nunnery, Scooby Williams

CB: Jason Marshall Jr., Ja’Keem Jackson
CB: Devin Moore OR Jalen Kimber, Dijon Johnson
STAR: Jaydon Hill, Sharif Denson
S: Miguel Mitchell OR Bryce Thornton, R.J. Moten
S: Jordan Castell, Bryce Thornton, Aaron Gates

Though they are still using the “OR” designation, McClellan has jumped ahead of Banks at defensive end, and Mitchell is listed ahead of Williams at linebacker. Wingo has also jumped Nunnery and Robinson at the other linebacker position. Moore is back ahead of Kimber with the “OR” designation; he was supposed to start the last two weeks but was ruled out. Sophomore safety Kamari Wilson remains unlisted.

Special teams

KO: Trey Smack, Adam Mihalek
PK: Trey Smack, Adam Mihalek
P: Jeremy Crawshaw, Jacob Watkins
H: Jeremy Crawshaw, Jacob Watkins
LS: Rocco Underwood, Gannon Burt
KR: Trevor Etienne, Jason Marshall Jr., Montrell Johnson Jr., Ricky Pearsall
PR: Ricky Pearsall, Trevor Etienne

No changes to the special teams depth chart this week.

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