Editor’s note: Each day between now and Florida’s Allstate Sugar Bowl date with Louisville, GatorNation will review the season for a key Gators player and attempt to project what’s next. Today we’ll look at FB Hunter Joyer.
FB Hunter Joyer
UF is averaging 194.5 yards per game rushing; 2 carries for 1 yard; 4 catches for 17 yards
Role in 2012: Joyer was the Gators’ primary blocker in the running game and he helped RB Mike Gillislee become the school’s first 1,000-yard rusher since Ciatrick Fason in 2004.
The good: Joyer is the prototypical fullback -- he’s 5-feet-10 and 249 pounds and he’s completely selfless. Though he was a pretty good ball carrier in high school, he has no trouble being a blocker who rarely touches the ball. He’s also the Gators’ strongest player -- he bench pressed 445 pounds in high school and now squats more than 550 pounds. That’s why he has no trouble moving linebackers out of the hole and knocking down defensive ends.
The bad: It’s not Joyer’s fault, but he could be more than just a blocker in the offense, especially in the passing game. With Gillislee and Matt Jones, he’s not going to get many carries, and he is too valuable a blocker to carry the ball on short-yardage plays. He’s got good hands, so he could be used more as a pass catcher out of the backfield. He’d be a nightmare for a defensive back to try and tackle. UF struggled to make plays in the passing game but did have success with short passes and passes in the flats.
Crystal ball: Joyer will be clearing holes for two more years, and he’ll be getting plenty of work with the infusion of talent in the backfield. Joining Jones will be recruits Kelvin Taylor (who is scheduled to enroll in January) and Adam Lane, giving the Gators three big-time backs and the opportunity to finally become the power-run team that coach Will Muschamp envisions. There’s no bigger part of that than Joyer.