The Florida Gators defense was a big issue in 2020. Had the defense played better, who knows how far the Florida football team could have gone? However, the Gators’ defense has been hyped up this offseason and should be improved. Graduate transfer Antonio Shelton will be a significant part of that improvement, as the former Penn State defensive tackle will be a star for the Gators on the defensive line.
Shelton’s stats will never tell the full story of what he brings to a football field. At Penn State, Shelton has 51 career tackles, 12.5 tackles for a loss, and six sacks. Three and a half of those sacks came in 2020, along with four and a half tackles for a loss.
Those numbers may not scream star to you, but for a guy who stands 6-3 and weighs 318 pounds, those are solid numbers. Add that Shelton only played seven games last season at Penn State because of COVID-19, and you can see that he has a ton of talent.
There was a lot of excitement when Shelton announced his transfer to Florida, as the former 3-star recruit was a big get for the Gators struggling defense. Florida also lost Tedarrell Slaton to the 2021 NFL Draft, so having Shelton transfer was big news.
If his transfer wasn’t exciting enough, Shelton announced on Twitter that he hit his personal best on the bench press. An impressive and insane, 490-pound bench press:
Shelton should start for the Gators at defensive tackle, and I expect big things from him. He should instantly help the Gators run defense, as he is fantastic in the run game. However, he is very underrated as a pass-rusher as well, and look for him to hit career highs in sacks and tackles for a loss this season.
I believe that Shelton will showcase his skills and cement himself as a future NFL Draft pick. I think Slaton was solid for the Gators in 2020, but Shelton is even better, and he will improve the Gators’ defense in 2021.