GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Three deserving Florida players earned recognition from the conference’s coaches with selection to the Freshman All-SEC team, the league announced Thursday.
Cornerbacks Marco Wilson and C.J. Henderson and running back Malik Davis were honored among the best rookies in the talent-rich conference after breakout seasons.
Wilson led Florida with 10 pass break-ups, the third-most nationally among first-year freshmen and tied for third overall among all SEC players. He also racked up 34 tackles while stepping in as a starter from day one and helping to stabilize a position of uncertainty for the Gators after they sent corners Jalen “Teez” Tabor and Quincy Wilson, Marco’s older brother, to the NFL.
Wilson, senior Duke Dawson and Henderson formed the Gators’ cornerback rotation with Dawson sliding into the nickel in five-DB sets.
Henderson was also an AP All-SEC second-team selection after recording 4 interceptions and returning 2 for touchdowns. He became the only true freshman in program history to return an interception for touchdown in consecutive games, doing so in the first two games of his collegiate career. For that matter, he’s the only player in school history to accomplish the feat according to records dating back to 1965. He also tallied 22 tackles and 4 pass break-ups.
He and Wilson figure to be a dynamic duo for the Gators for at least the next couple seasons.
Davis, meanwhile, was the breakout offensive star for Florida this fall, rushing for 526 yards in just seven games before sustaining a season-ending knee injury. He averaged 6.7 yards per carry, which ranked sixth nationally among first-year freshmen, and he became the first Florida true freshman to rush for more than 100 yards and 2 touchdowns in a game since Jeff Demps in 2008.
He was on pace to become the first Florida first-year freshman to rush for 1,000 yards since Emmitt Smith in 1987.
Davis’ timeline for recovery and a return to action remains unknown, but if he’s able to reclaim the form he showed as a rookie he could be an offensive cornerstone for the Gators into the future.