Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports
Florida is losing both starting safeties, but the secondary has enough talent to rebound.
Cornerback Starters: Marcus Roberson, Vernon Hargreaves III
Backups: Loucheiz Purifoy, Jaylen Watkins
Safety Starters: Marcell Harris, Brian Poole
Backups: Jabari Gorman, Marcus Maye
The Gators have an embarrassment of talent in the secondary, especially at cornerback. Marcus Roberson is the Gators' best cover corner but lacks the physicality that Muschamp likes in his cornerbacks. Roberson recorded a team high 12 pass breakups but struggles with his tackling. Loucheiz Purifoy is a more physical player and a great tackler, but he can struggle at times in man coverage and needs to develop more ball skills.
Vernon Hargreaves will enroll in the summer, and he could be the most complete cornerback Florida has had since Joe Haden. Hargreaves is an exceptional cover man and a sound tackler. Hargreaves earned Player of the Game honors at the Under Armour All-America Game, and he should see plenty of playing time early. Jaylen Watkins earned nine starts in 2012 and will continue to be a big factor on defense.
The Gators lose both starting safeties from 2012, but have a lot of talent left on the roster to fill in.
Marcell Harris is a dark-horse candidate to start at free safety. Harris has big plans to make an early impact, and the talent to back those plans up. Harris is an instinctive player who can play up at the line of scrimmage and is a good cover man. At 6'1" 207 pounds, Harris is already bigger than most of the players that the Gators have at safety.
Brian Poole saw limited playing time in 2012, compiling two tackles. Poole earned the coaches' trust as a freshman, and should be the leading candidate to replace Matt Elam.
Marcus Maye sat out the 2012 season but is an impressive athlete who will vie for a starting spot, and Jabari Gorman is the most seasoned player the Gators have at safety.