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College Football Preview 2024: Florida Gators win projections, strengths and weaknesses, quarterback spotlight and more

2T75MM7 Baton Rouge, USA. 11th Nov, 2023. November 11, 2023: Florida quarterback Graham Mertz (15) delivers a pass during NCAA football game action between the Florida Gators and the LSU Tigers at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, LA. Jonathan Mailhes/CSM/Sipa USA (Credit Image: © Jonathan Mailhes/Cal Sport Media/Sipa USA) Credit: Sipa US/Alamy Live News

Billy Napier heads into his third season as Florida’s coach, and he's on the hot seat with a disappointing 11-14 record across his first two years.

2024 could mark the Gators' fourth straight losing season. The last time the program went through such a severe dry spell was during the Great Depression. Unfortunately for Napier, Florida will endure one of the most brutal schedules in college football in 2024.

There are still reasons to be optimistic about the Gators’ chances to make a bowl game in 2024, particularly the team's offense. Florida will need its defense to step up to avoid another losing year, though.

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Biggest Strength: Talent everywhere on offense

The Gators have a top-10 offensive line in college football, a very good receiving corps and a strong starting running back in Montrell Johnson Jr. And then there is Graham Mertz, a top-five quarterback prospect in the 2025 NFL Draft, according to PFF lead draft analyst Trevor Sikkema.

Biggest Weakness: Pass defense

Passing attacks in 2023 diced up Florida's defense, which placed 111th in team coverage grade and 62nd in team pass-rushing grade. The Gators then lost star edge defender Princely Umanmielen and two of its top-three cornerbacks to the transfer portal this offseason, leaving the team with even more uncertainty heading into 2024.

2023 Team Overview

EPA per play Yards per play Successful play rate Explosive run play rate Explosive pass play rate
0.067 6.1 38.2% 17.8% 16.0%
41st 45th 37th T-33rd 43rd
EPA allowed per play Yards allowed per play Successful play rate allowed Explosive run rate allowed Explosive pass rate allowed
0.090 6.5 33.2% 19.4% 15.2%
113th 125th 43rd 129th T-97th

Three Notable Transfer Portal Additions

Three Notable Transfer Portal Losses

  • EDGE Princely Umanmielen (Ole Miss): 76.5 PFF grade
  • RB Trevor Etienne (Georgia): 82.1 PFF grade
  • G Micah Mazzccua (Nebraska): 71.4 PFF grade

Quarterback Spotlight: Graham Mertz

2023 Grade: 75.8
Key Stat: 1.4% turnover-worthy play rate (third best in FBS)


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