Will someone be able to rise up and be the defensive standout now-departed cornerback Janoris Jenkins once was?
This year's Gator defense should be very interesting to watch.
It is full of high school All-Americans who are young and have yet to prove they can dominate in college like they did on the prep level.
But the potential definitely is there. Remember, prior to the 2010 season, who really had heard of Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley?
Is there a Fairley or two (or three or four...) on the Florida roster? We'll see.
Here is a look at one man's opinion of the projected starters come the season-opener against Florida Atlantic.
After being one of the first Gators to lose his stripe as a true freshman, it has been a relatively quiet career for William Green.
Now, as a senior, there is no Jermaine Cunningham, Carlos Dunlap, Justin Trattou or Duke Lemmens in front of the 6'4", 245-pound Green on the depth chart. And with Chris Martin's recent departure, that worry also no longer exists.
But it definitely is a "prove it" season for Green, who has combined to make 25 tackles (seven for loss) the last two years.
At 6'3", 303 pounds with tremendous power and quickness, Sharrif Floyd has all of the makings of an All-SEC defensive tackle.
But he's just a sophomore, and remember: The best offensive lineman he said he faced in high school (All-Star games excluded) signed with Temple.
However, if the old adage is true that a player makes his biggest performance jump between his first and second years on campus, Floyd should be one of many Gators on defense to look like new men in 2011.
That's not to say he had a bad 2010 campaign. The truth is he was a member of the All-SEC Freshman team after recording 23 tackles (eight for loss) while playing in all 13 games last year. And in UF's game at Vanderbilt, he and QB/TE Jordan Reed showed the Gator Nation they could be standouts.
The most accomplished (and underrated) of all of Florida's defensive linemen is 6'3", 302-pound senior Jaye Howard.
A third-team All-SEC selection, Howard is stout against the run and gets a nice push against the pass. He could have exited UF for the NFL draft after the 2010 season and been an early-round selection, but he elected to come back.
A definite positive for Howard (and fellow DT starter Sharrif Floyd) will be the presence of talented sophomore Dominique Easley and powerful junior Omar Hunter, each of whom were prep All-Americans at one time. Additionally, junior Earl Okine (who also can play end) is a veteran with experience, and redshirt freshman Leon Orr is a 315-pounder who is athletic enough to do a standing backflip. So, missing out on rest won't be an issue at either defensive tackle spot.
The nation's No. 1 overall recruit in the Class of 2010, Ronald Powell was a major get for then-Gator coach Urban Meyer. It was easy to see how hard Meyer was working on the California product at Florida's 2009 "Friday Night Lights" when the coach stood at midfield with his arm around Powell's shoulders while a big-screen video of UF highlights aired.
Now, it is time for the 6'4", 250-pound sophomore to make some highlights of his own.
He was named to the All-SEC Freshman team last year after recording 25 tackles (three for loss) and a pair of pass breakups. Look for him to spend more time in 2011 doing what it is expected he does best—use his outstanding athleticism to get after the quarterback.
This one is a tricky pick.
A versatile 6'3", 232-pound sophomore, Christian has bounced back and forth between tight end and linebacker while on campus. The thought here is he could see time on both sides of the ball, but with Jordan Reed and freshman A.C. Leonard stabilizing the tight end position and DE Chris Martin transferring (and thus, likely forcing DE/OLB Ronald Powell to spend more time at end), linebacker is a bigger need.
Christian spent most of his freshman season playing special teams, but his work at linebacker impressed new coach Will Muschamp in the spring.
Potentially, top backups include redshirt freshmen Gideon Ajagbe and Michael Taylor, junior Dee Finley and sophomore Darrin Kitchens. Maybe junior defensive end Lerentee McCray also could get a look there, if needed.
A 6'1", 238-pound junior, Bostic is UF's second-leading returning tackler, having recorded 57 last year. His three interceptions in 2010 are tied with cornerback Jeremy Brown for the most among Gators back for 2011.
In addition to being a strength in coverage (he also had three pass breakups as a sophomore), Bostic also can get to the quarterback when asked, evidenced by his two sacks last season.
The daunting shadow of Brandon Spikes is now a year removed, so look for Bostic to come into his own this season.
A cerebral and athletic third-year sophomore, Jenkins is the top returning tackler from last year's team, having recorded 76 in 2010.
Playing alongside his close friend, Jon Bostic, Jenkins got better and better as last season went along and eventually finished with 11 starts. Those two should battle for the team lead in tackles all year.
At 6'1", 223 pounds, Jenkins isn't the biggest of linebackers, but look for him to be one of the SEC's best in coverage this year.
Not just a talented football player, Jeremy Brown is one of those kids you'd want your daughter to bring home.
His body torn apart by chronic back issues during his first few years on campus, there were times Brown thought his college career might be over before he ever played a down. But he focused on rehabbing and his education, and what UF has now is a second-year starting cornerback who is a junior in eligibility and a grad student in actuality.
Brown got onto the field in 2010 for the first time and accounted very well for himself, starting 10 times and recording three interceptions opposite All-SEC cornerback Janoris Jenkins.
Now, Jenkins is gone, and it is the 5'10", 184-pound Brown's turn to be the shutdown corner on the Gator defense.
It would be tough to bet against him succeeding.
At 6'3", 183 pounds, Moses Jenkins is the tallest and most veteran of all of the Gator corners.
After playing in six games (starting three) in 2010, Jenkins is playing in his fifth year at UF after being granted a medical hardship by the NCAA.
During his college career, Jenkins primarily has played special teams, but really, who was going to knock Joe Haden or Janoris Jenkins out of the lineup?
Perhaps the product of Lauderdale Lakes (Fla.) Boyd Anderson's best game as a Gator came last year against Appalachian State when he registered seven tackles and graded out as a Champion. He also started against Florida State.
Injuries are a concern, as a hyperextended elbow kept him out of seven games in 2010 and a concussion limited him to just four games in 2009.
Potential top backups include sophomores Cody Riggs and Jaylen Watkins, as well as a gaggle of true freshmen that include highly recruited Pop Saunders, Marcus Roberson, Louichez Purifoy and Valdez Showers.
The younger brother of NFL veteran Abram Elam, Matt Elam also could have been a Division I tailback. Two years ago, he was one of talent-rich Florida's best two-way players as a prep senior at powerhouse Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer High School.
But the 5'10", 199-pounder has settled in nicely as a full-time college safety.
One of just six true freshmen to play in all 13 games last season, Elam registered 22 tackles as a backup safety and special teams standout in 2010.
With Ahmad Black off to the Tampa Bay Bucs, UF will need a leader in the back of the secondary, and Elam appears to be the best bet.
He also has a potentially strong backup in 6'3", 186-pound former cornerback Joshua Shaw, who also is a sophomore.
There was something about long-haired, rangy free safeties from New Jersey that appealed to former coach Urban Meyer.
First, it was Will Hill. And now, this year, Hill's former backup, 6'1", 195-pound junior Josh Evans, is set to take over.
In two seasons, Evans has just 20 tackles and one interception, but he has a lot of athleticism and promise.
There isn't a lot of depth behind him, so cornerback Jaylen Watkins or backup strong safety Josh Shaw also could see time behind Evans. Aside from them, true freshmen Chris Johnson, Jabari Gorman and walk-on Tim Clark (from nearby Branford, Fla.) are the top options.
Punters don't often get a lot of credit. Some say they aren't actual "football players."
However, you'll be hard-pressed to find a member of the 2011 signing class who will be asked to do more or replace a bigger stalwart than Kyle Christy.
Provided he beats out senior walk-on David Lerner (a product of Gainesville's Buchholz High School), Christy will be asked to step in for one of UF's three most consistent players of 2010 (along with also-departed safety Ahmad Black and cornerback Janoris Jenkins), All-American Chas Henry.
A 6'3", 189-pound product of Brownsburg, Ind., Christy enrolled last January and participated in spring drills.
A three-year starter in high school, Christy was a United States Army All-American who averaged an Indiana-best 42.37 yards per punt in 2010. He also booted a pair of 45-yard field goals for good measure.
For his part, Lerner has yet to punt in a game for the Gators, but he is a two-time Academic All-SEC selection who was named first-team all-area by The Gainesville Sun his senior year in high school.