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July 29, 2010

20/10 for 2010: Pouncey an All-American?

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With the 2010 season fast approaching, InsidetheGators.net will stop to take a look at the 20 returning players and the 10 incoming freshmen most important to Florida's success.

GBN will count down two returning players and one incoming freshman in each part of this 10-part series, finishing with the most important players for Florida in the 2010 season.

TOP 20/10 FOR 2010

  • PART ONE
  • PART TWO
  • PART THREE
  • PART FOUR
  • PART FIVE
  • PART SIX
  • PART SEVEN

    TOP 20 MOST IMPORTANT RETURNING PLAYERS

    No. 6
    Jeff Demps
    Position: Running Back
    Class: Junior
    Size: 5-8, 190
    Winter Garden (Fla.) South Lake
    2009 season: 745-yards rushing in 14 games (12 starts)
    • Why he makes the list: Demps is the leading rusher on a team that has excelled running the ball the past few years. As the reigning NCAA champion in the 100 Meter Dash, he has world class speed and the ability to take it to the house every time he touches the ball. Simply put, he's one of the rare weapons in all of college football.
    • Questions to be answered: After staying relatively healthy throughout his Gator career, Demps finally succumbed to injury in the Sugar Bowl win against Cincinnati. Will he be able to stay healthy throughout the season? Has he added some weight in the off-season to help him accomplish that and also provide the Gators with a stronger running presence between the tackles?
    • Best case scenario: After adding some weight in the off-season, Demps becomes an even grittier runner between the tackles and turns into a guy the Gators can hand the ball off to 15-20 times per game. He becomes a more well-rounded running back, adding an element of power to his already electrifying game. His running ability eases the transition of new quarterback John Brantley and helps give the Gators one of the most proficient running games in college football yet again.
    • Best guess: He will add some weight in the off-season, but not enough to be a truly reliable third-down threat. He continues to provide the Gators with a home run threat. Splitting carries with Mike Gillislee and Emmanuel Moody will keep him relatively fresh. He will finish the season as Florida's leading rusher with right around 1,000 yards rushing.

    VOTE: WILL DEMPS RUSH FOR 1,000-YARDS IN 2010?

    No. 5
    Mike Pouncey
    Position: Center
    Class: Senior
    Size: 6-4, 310
    Lakeland (Fla.)
    2009 season: Played and Started in all 14 games
    • Why he makes the list: Pouncey has been one of Florida's most reliable linemen throughout his career as a Gator. After playing right guard for the past few years, he will now slide to the center spot, where he will snap the ball to Brantley. How his transition to the position goes will be a big factor in how good the Florida offense can be in 2010.
    • Questions to be answered: After not playing much during the spring, it's hard to get a feel for how comfortable he is at the center position. At times in practice earlier in his career he struggled with snaps in the shotgun when moved to center. Will snapping the ball be an issue for him in 2010? Can he make the transition as well as his brother Maurkice did a year ago?
    • Best case scenario: Pouncey makes the transition to center smoothly, and the Florida offensive line emerges as one of the best units in the country. Behind that line, Brantley stays healthy and becomes one of the most dangerous passers in the SEC. In addition, Demps and the stable of running backs are able to find enough holes to make up for the loss of Tim Tebow in the running game. Like his brother, Mike Pouncey is a leading candidate to win the Rimington Award for the nation's best center.
    • Best guess: While he will be a more-than-adequate starting center, he won't fare quite as well as his brother did a year ago. The Florida offensive line will be just fine, but they won't be able to run up the middle quite as well as they did a year ago. Pouncey may struggle with the occasional snap, but overall he will be a high-quality starting center. Florida's offense will finish near the top of the league in sacks allowed and rushing yardage.

    VOTE: WILL POUNCEY HAVE AN ALL-AMERICAN TYPE OF SEASON?

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