Redshirt senior Gideon Ajagbe hasn’t had a lot of stability as far as his position goes. He’s switched around from running back to linebacker and now has seen some success as a fullback. Ajagbe’s done whatever’s needed to help the team the most and this season will present new challenges as the Gators look to implement Kurt Roper‘s spread offense.
As far as statistics go, Ajagbe had a very successful career on both sides of the ball at Ransom Everglades High School in Coconut Grove, FL. He burst on to the scene during his junior year when he rushed for 1,354 yards and 12 touchdowns to go along with 57 tackles with nine tackles-for-loss and two sacks playing linebacker. Ajagbe followed that up with a Florida Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Second Team All-State performance his senior season. On offense, he ran for 1,294 yards and 12 touchdowns, but it was on defense that he started to get noticed. Ajagbe racked up 96 tackles, 17 pass deflections, seven sacks, five forced fumbles, and four fumble recoveries. That’s when major colleges started recruiting him as a linebacker.
Following high school, college coaches saw a “raw” talent in Ajagbe that definitely needed to learn technique. As a result, his recruiting ratings suffered. 247Sports composite ratings pegged him as a three-star prospect, ranked as the 31st OLB, 75th Floridian, and 497th overall player of the 2010 recruiting class. He decided to attend Florida over Florida State, Boston College, North Carolina, South Florida and UCF and, in the process, became the first Miami-Dade player to sign with UF since 2005 (Dorian Munroe).
At 6-2, 234 pounds, Ajagbe’s size translated to a linebacker position. That’s where he spent his first three years at Florida. Ajagbe’s career got off to a tough start when he tore his rotator cuff prior to the season and took a medical redshirt for the 2010 season. His next year, he got some playing time on special teams, seeing action against UAB, Furman, Florida State, and Ohio State, but not notching any stats. After not seeing the field in the 2012 season due to an MCL injury, Ajagbe transitioned from linebacker to fullback in the spring, despite the emergence of fellow FB Hunter Joyer.
Ajagbe used the same skills he used at Ransom Everglades when he just about ran for over 1,300 yards and 12 touchdowns as a running back to help make the move to fullback. The transition was hugely successful. Ajagbe started the first game of the season against Toledo and caught his first two passes for 16 yards including a four-yard TD catch.
He ended up playing all 12 games with two starts and caught four balls for 28 yards in the process. He became the perfect complement to Joyer and provided depth where the Gators desperately needed it.
Now Ajagbe will have to make another transition, this time to a spread offense that rarely uses a fullback. But if last season was any indication, Ajagbe will do whatever it takes to help Florida win. He and Joyer will likely be used as tight ends, providing blocking and timely catches from quarterback Jeff Driskel. Either way, Gideon Ajagbe will provide leadership to a deep running back corps. We’re excited to see Ajagbe and the rest of the Gators in The Swamp as we’re just 25 days away from Idaho.