Adding Antonio Shelton will be a huge boost for Dan Mullen’s Florida football team.
Shelton brings his 6-foot-3 and 327-pound frame to a Florida defense in need of getting a little tougher in the trenches. While Florida football fans were excited to win the SEC East for the first time since 2016 this past season, the Gators went 8-4 with three big losses after Thanksgiving. Shelton will play right away and should give the Gators enough bite to repeat in the division.
Can Antonio Shelton help solve Todd Grantham’s defensive issues?
Florida will likely be playing in its fourth straight New Year’s Six bowl under head coach Dan Mullen next year. The Gators will almost certainly battle the rival Georgia Bulldogs for divisional supremacy. Should the Gators go 10-2 or better next year, they will be a lock to play in one of college football’s most prestigious bowl games. However, they may not make the playoff in 2021.
With Georgia in flux at quarterback and Florida having a Heisman Trophy finalist under center in Kyle Trask, 2020 was the Gators’ best shot to make the College Football Playoff to date. An embarrassing home loss to cross-divisional rival LSU ended any notion of that. Florida followed that performance up with losses to Alabama in Atlanta and to Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl.
The best thing the Gators can do to contend for a playoff spot next year is to get better on the defensive side of the ball. Though Trask has turned pro, Mullen has a promising quarterback in Emory Jones who will surely succeed in his spread offensive attack. But as long as it continues to be third-and-Grantham in Gainesville defensively, Florida is not going to win the SEC.
Look for Shelton to make Todd Grantham’s defense more formidable in the trenches in 2021.