Over the past three seasons the SEC East has gone to the Georgia Bulldogs and the Florida Gators have been on the outside looking in on the conference title game. After winning the East three out of four years during the Tim Tebow era, Florida went to Atlanta twice in the 2010s, the same amount as Missouri who’ve only been in the SEC since 2012.
The 2020 season looks to be Florida’s best chance to overtake Georgia and get back to Atlanta. Remember, this year Florida’s cross-divisional opponent is on the road Ole Miss. Georgia, on the other hand, has to go to Alabama. Between the schedule, and having arguably the best returning quarterback in the conference, that ought to make Florida the favorite to win the East.
Head Coach: Dan Mullen
Offensive Coordinator: Billy Gonzales and John Hevesy
Defensive Coordinator: Todd Grantham
Kyle Trask comes into 2020 as the best quarterback in the SEC and that should give the Gators a legitimate chance to win the division. LSU saw first hand that Trask can play when he walked into Tiger Stadium and threw for 310 yards and three touchdowns. Trask finished the year with 2,941 yards and 25 touchdowns and added another four scores with his legs.
At running back, Florida will have to face life without Lamical Perine. The Gators will turn to junior Dameon Pierce who ran 305 yards and four touchdowns last season; redshirt sophomore tailback Lorenzo Lingard will also join the Gators after transferring from Miami. Lingard was the No. 2 running back prospect in the 2018 class but is working his way back from a torn MCL in 2018.
At receiver, Florida is starting over now that Tyriee Cleveland, Josh Hammond, Van Jefferson and Freddie Swain have all graduated. Luckily, Trask will have tight end Kyle Pitts, arguably the best tight end in the country, to throw to. Pitts is a projected first round pick and is Florida’s leading returning receiver with 54 catches, 649 yards and six touchdowns. Florida also signed a pair of four-star receivers Xzavier Henderson and Jaquavion Fraziars and the two will hopefully ease the burden on Trevon Grimes and Kadarius Toney.
Defensively the Gators figure to be stout once again even without ends Jabari Zuniga, Jonathan Greenard and corner CJ Henderson. Florida’s pass rush will get a boost now that Brenton Cox, a transfer from Georgia, is eligible. Cox was a top-25 prospect in the 2018 class and No. 2 defensive end. Also be on the lookout for Gervon Dexter, Florida’s crown jewel of the 2020 recruiting class. Dexter was the third ranked defensive tackle in America and the No. 12 prospect overall.
At linebacker Florida loses leading tackler David Reese II but retains Ventrell Miller, who finished second in tackles. Fourth-year junior James Houston IV looks to fill in Reese’s vacated starting linebacker spot.
Like LSU, the Florida secondary looks to be the strength of the 2020 defense even with two key departures, For LSU, it was Grant Delpit and Kristian Fulton; for Florida its CJ Henderson and Jeawan Taylor. Marco Wilson looks to be the next No. 1 corner for Florida, while Trey Dean probably becomes a starter after being the Gators’ nickel back last season. Florida also signed five corners, four of whom were four-stars. The top corner of that freshman group is Jahari Rogers from Arlington, Texas.
2020 Florida Schedule
September 5: vs. Eastern Washington
September 12: vs. Kentucky
September 19: vs. South Alabama
September 26: @ Tennessee
October 3: vs. South Carolina
October 10: vs. LSU
October 17: @ Ole Miss
October 24: BYE
October 31: vs. Georgia (in Jacksonville)
November 7: @ Vanderbilt
November 14: vs. Missouri
November 21: vs. New Mexico State
November 28: @ Florida State