PFF ranks Florida center among top IOL heading into 2024

Florida has a lot of young talent ready to make their mark on the college football world heading into the 2024 season, but there’s also a distinct lack of elite returning talent throughout the roster.

Redshirt junior center Jake Slaughter is the only returning Gator to make a Pro Football Focus watch list for his position group after putting together an impressive 81.2-grade season in 2023. He started off the year as the backup in Gainesville but hit the ground running when Kingsley Eguakun went down for most of the year.

“(Slaughter’s) 81.2 grade was second among Power Five centers to only Jackson Powers-Johnson,” according to PFF. “He also performed well in our GAS metric, which allows him to dominate on zone runs. His 82.4 run-blocking grade on such plays tied for fifth in the Power Five. As a full-time starter in 2024, expect Slaughter to become much more of a household name.”

Slaughter’s Career at Florida

Slaughter flipped his commitment from Florida State to Florida in 2021 to play for Dan Mullen, but he ended up being one of the few players who stayed in Gainesville to play for Billy Napier.

After playing a handful of snaps against Samford as a freshman, Slaughter redshirted and earned playing time in all 13 games as a special teams regular in his second year.

Eguakun started the year hurt and played sparingly in 2023, opening the door for Slaughter to make eight starts (622 snaps) at center. He finished the year rated No. 14 in the FBS with a 75.9 PFF grade.

Heading into 2024, Slaughter is the favorite to snap the ball for Florida. Second-year players Roderick Kearney and Knijeah Harris will back him up.

Top Returning Interior Offensive Lineman

  1. Parker Brailsford, Alabama Crimson Tide

  2. Tate Ratledge, Georgia Bulldogs

  3. Tyler Booker, Alabama Crimson Tide

  4. Donovan Jackson, Ohio State Buckeyes

  5. Clay Webb, Jacksonville State Gamecocks

  6. Luke Kandra Cincinatti Bearcats

  7. Jaeden Roberts, Alabama Crimson Tide

  8. Jake Slaughter, Florida Gators

  9. Dylan Fairchild, Georgia Bulldogs

  10. Willie Lampkin, North Carolina Tar Heels

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Story originally appeared on Gators Wire