Recently, a certain contributor named Vari, wrote a piece on here about Amari Burney needing to play safety. Vari, who is famous for lying all summer, said two years ago that Nick Washington would magically learn how to take better angles and not be a step late every play after four and a half years on campus. Fast forward two years and he is the only one dying on the “Amari Burney is a Safety” Hill. I agree with Vari on the Safety room needing a new face, however in my opinion Burney is not the answer. It’s sophomore cornerback Trey Dean.
THE STATE OF THE ROOMS:
Dean was given a trial by fire at corner during his true freshman season when Marco Wilson tore his ACL in the early moments of week two. He held his own very well but with the return of Marco island and the best corner in college football (CJ Henderson), Dean appears to be sliding into the STAR position role filling the void of Chauncey Garder-Johnson. With the two boundary corners set in stone along with the addition of Kaiir Elam (more on that latter), the corner room is loaded with talent as always with a refreshing amount of depth for the first time in a few seasons.
The safety room on the other hand….. Is a borderline shit show. I have no faith in Ron English whatsoever to improve the room with the cards he has. Brad Stewert is the only one you can consistently count on, and that is when he isn’t in the doghouse. Shawn Davis can make plays but is extremely inconsistent. He is also much better in the passing game than against the run. Donovan Stiner has ski masked his way into people actually thinking he is good based off of a sack on an 8 man blitz, and an INT on a fourth and a mile. And then there’s 5th year senior Jeawon Taylor who is very good vs the run but is average vs the pass. Overall, every safety does something different which is the only justifiable reason I can think of for how much the unit rotates on and off the field.
STAR IS IN GOOD HANDS:
Seriously if you would have told me before the spring I would be writing in a column that John Huggins should be the guy at STAR I would've probably laughed in your face. But following a monster spring where it seemed every other practice he would have an interception according to twitter and a pick six off Kyle Trask in the spring game. When you combine the performance with Chris Steele already being gone, and the Safety room not improving like most thought. It makes sense to give him the nod at the slot corner position. I still haven’t even mentioned that we recruited the perfect nickel corner in Chester Kimbrough who is going to be a monster after a year of eating real food and working with Nick Savage.
The Future of the rooms:
The future of the corner room is pretty much set. I personally believe Marco Wilson will be back for the 2020 season just because he might need a third year of film so that would be CB1. While Kaiir Elam is too damn good to keep off the field this year let alone next so that is your CB2. The safety room loses Jeawon Taylor to graduation and likely Brad Stewart to the league so that room is going to be a lot thinner and younger down the line.
Trey Dean was a Safety in High School! He was a damn good ball hawk, which despite the recent run of Safeties we’ve had here at Florida, Is something we have been seriously lacking. He’s got long arms, great ball skills, and athleticism. Seriously put that out there next to stew with Huggins at STAR in a nickel defense and it essentially become pick your poison for whoever the unfortunate QB on the opposing team is.
Overall D.B.U. will be business as usual this season and in the foreseeable future but so much of the pressure can’t be on the corners. The safety play needs to improve and for the long term effort of the group from a talent and depth perspective, Dean needs to be in the Safety room.
Written by Harrison Tenzer. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @Harrison_Tenzer.