Brian Blanco Getty Images
With Marcell Harris (left) out for the season with a torn Achilles tendon, Chauncey Gardner (right) will have a bigger role in Florida's young defense in 2017.

What’s the state of Florida’s defense after losing Marcell Harris for the year?

Welcome to another installment of Good Morning, Gators, SEC Country’s daily morning column covering Florida athletics with beat writer Jordan McPherson. Here’s a look at what you might have missed on Thursday.

The state of Florida football’s defense

The Florida Gators football team took a big hit Thursday when the school announced that redshirt senior safety Marcell Harris tore the Achilles tendon in his right ankle and will miss the 2017 season.

All this begs the question: What does this mean for the Gators’ defense, which is already down eight starters from last season.

Well, the answer is simple: More younger guys will need to step up faster than anticipated, as our Ryan Young wrote. An excerpt:

“The Gators already knew they would have to get immediate production from their talented class of six freshmen defensive backs.

The urgency is even greater now.

Along with [freshmen Donovan] Stiner and [Brad] Davis, the Gators bring in 4-star cornerbacks C.J. Henderson, Brad Stewart, Marco Wilson and 3-star corner Brian Edwards.

It is now even more likely that one of those first three guys opens the season as a starter opposite senior Duke Dawson.”

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Our latest ‘Next Gen’

Zach Abolverdi has the latest installation of our “Next Generation” series with a look at running back Malik Davis, who brings record-setting skills and top-notch grades to Florida.

Recruiting roundup

Florida’s premier recruiting camp, Friday Night Lights, takes place tonight, and the Gators will be hosting a bevy of talented high school players. The list includes 5-star quarterbacks Matt Corral and Justin Fields, both of whom would be major additions to the Gators’ 2018 recruiting class.

Other recruiting highlights:

In other Florida football news

Let’s keep talking

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What they’re saying on Twitter

Coach Jim McElwain

Punter Johnny Townsend

Quarterback Luke Del Rio

Defensive end Zach Carter

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