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Tennessee Football: Five Florida Gators Vols need to watch out for

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Last week, Tennessee Football looked like it had a sure victory on hand against Florida. However, this past weekend’s games altered the matchups a bit, as both played FCS schools. Here are the five Gators the Vols have to keep an eye on if they are going to win in The Swamp for the first time in 20 years Saturday night.

5. Graham Mertz, QB

This is somewhat by default, as you can’t ignore the quarterback. However, with time, Graham Mertz is very efficient. He’s a pro style passer who comes from the Wisconsin Badgers. The key for Tim Banks and the Vols is to make sure they have the right pressure packages dialed up, as the Utah Utes proved that’s the way to knock him off his game.

4. Jordan Castell, S

One of the most highly touted freshmen in Florida’s 2023 recruiting class, Jordan Castell has already earned a start at safety. Is he too inexperienced for the role, or is he the next Eric Berry. Either way, given the way UT needs its vertical passing attack, Josh Heupel and Joe Milton III will have to test him as much as possible.

3. Shemar James, LB

Before Jordan Castell, there was Shemar James, one of the most highly touted members of Florida’s 2022 class. He already leads the team in tackles this year with 19, as this is shaping up to be his breakout season. Tennessee Football has to keep an eye out for him at all times if they are going to make their offense work.

2. Ricky Pearsall, WR

Last year, Rickey Pearsall had over 100 yards receiving against the Vols. Now, he’s really Florida’s only legitimate offensive weapon, and he already has 14 catches for 215 yards on the season. Given the questions surrounding the Vols’ secondary, watch out for Pearsall. He could be a legitimate threat.

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1. Princely Umanmiele, DL

If Florida is going to beat Tennessee Football, Pearsall will have to torch them through the air, and they’ll have to take away the running game. That next part is possible with Princely Umanmiele. One of the best hybrid defensive ends in the SEC, Umanmiele will test the Vols at offensive tackle like nobody else has to this point, and if the passing game is off again, he could shut down the whole offense.

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