Jordan McPherson/SEC Country
Quarterbacks Malik Zaire (8) and Luke Del Rio (14) throw during the first practice of fall.

Observations from Florida Gators’ first fall practice of 2017

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Gators opened fall camp with a split-squad practice on Thursday.

The newcomers and younger players ran in the early portion of the practice, while the returners — and likely starters — participated in the later session.

The media were allowed to watch about 20 minutes of each practice — a scene of stretching, a four-play fastball period and two sets of individual drills.

Here are some highlights from those two sessions:

  • Redshirt freshman Feleipe Franks took reps with the first-team offense during the returning group’s fastball period, while redshirt junior Luke Del Rio ran the second team during that period. Notre Dame graduate transfer Malik Zaire was on the sideline during that period.
  • Below is a video from our Ryan Young showing highlights of the quarterbacks during their individual drills:

  • Coach Jim McElwain roamed around a good bit during the first session but kept his eyes on the quarterbacks for the majority of the second session that was open to the media.
  • The rest of the first-team offense: Jordan Scarlett (RB), Antonio Callaway (WR), Brandon Powell (WR), Josh Hammond (WR), DeAndre Goolsby (TE), Martez Ivey (LT), Brett Heggie (LG), TJ McCoy (C), Fred Johnson (RG), Jawaan Taylor (RT).
  • The first-team defense: CeCe Jefferson (DE), Taven Bryan (DT), Khairi Clark (NT), Jabari Zuniga (DE), Vosean Joseph (LB), David Reese (LB), Kylan Johnson (LB), Duke Dawson (CB), Nick Washington (S), Chauncey Gardner (S), Joseph Putu (CB).
  • Redshirt freshman Kyle Trask was in the early “newcomers” practice and took all the quarterback reps during the fastball period. True freshman athlete Kadarius Toney was used primarily as a receiver during the viewing period and fellow true freshman Jake Allen was on the sideline during the fastball period. Trask and Allen both had their moments — good and bad — during individual drills.
  • All of Florida’s six true freshmen defensive backs were active in the early practice. Brad Stewart, Donovan Stiner and Shawn Davis worked with the safeties, while Marco Wilson, CJ Henderson and Brian Edwards worked with the cornerbacks.
  • True freshman defensive linemen TJ Slaton (6-foot-4, 349 pounds) and Elijah Conliffe (6-4, 312) are massive.
  • Defensive lineman Jordan Smith and tight end Harry Gornto (first session) and Reese and offensive lineman Nick Buchanan (second session) led the team’s “Swamp Jacks” before stretching.

McElwain will address the media after the second practice ends. Stay tuned to SEC Country for more updates throughout the day.