ATLANTA — The extra bowl practices give coaches and teammates the chance to see which younger players are emerging and starting to project as breakout players for next season and beyond.
One name popping up around Florida: Defensive back Amari Burney.
The Calvary Christian product has recorded only 10 tackles in 11 games as a true freshman, but defensive coordinator Todd Grantham sees a lot of potential in the former four-star recruit. At 6-foot-1, 222 pounds, he's big and physical enough to play linebacker. He's also quick enough to stay in the secondary, possibly as the replacement for NFL-bound nickelback Chauncey Gardner-Johnson.
"The biggest thing I see with him is positional flexibility…" Grantham said as the No. 10 Gators prepare to face No. 8 Michigan in Saturday's Peach Bowl.
"I think it's just a matter of, how do we get our best 11 players on the field? I think he'll certainly be a guy that will challenge for one of those spots."
"Burney's going to surprise a lot of people…" Gardner-Johnson said. "I feel like he's going to make a big jump going into the offseason and playing in the fall next year."