Jaylen Watkins will take over for Marcus Maye at safety. (Photo credit: Kim Klement/US Presswire)
The Florida Gators released an updated version of the team’s depth chart this week and there were a few changes. Most notably, senior Jaylen Watkins will take over for redshirt freshman Marcus Maye as one of Florida’s starting safeties.
The move is not all that surprising. Maye got beat for a 52-yard touchdown against the Miami Hurricanes that put the Gators in a 14-6 hole that they were unable to climb out of.
“You just can’t give up big plays,” head coach Will Muschamp said in a press conference Monday. “We can’t afford that to happen. You’ve gotta tackle better. Marcus knows that.”
Watkins is a more than capable replacement. The senior has been a more than solid contributor on Florida’s defense in each of his first three seasons, including recording three interceptions last season. While Maye, 6-foot, 206 pounds, is slightly more physically imposing than Watkins, 6-foot, 188 pounds, Watkins has been a cornerback most of his career and should provide an upgrade in terms of coverage.
Other notable changes to the depth chart:
Senior Jon Halapio returns to his spot at right guard after missing the first two games of the season with a torn pectoral.
Linebacker Antonio Morrison is listed as the starter at middle linebacker for the first time since returning from his suspension.
Freshman cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III is listed as the backup at three cornerback positions. After recording two interceptions through two career games, Hargreaves role in the defense looks like it will only get bigger as the season progresses.