Ex-Colorado football CB-turned UF reclamation project must beat Devin Moore to start for Gators

Florida defensive back Devin Moore (28) runs a drill during Florida spring football practice at
Florida defensive back Devin Moore (28) runs a drill during Florida spring football practice at / Alan Youngblood/Gainesville Sun / USA

Florida's Devin Moore is the main obstacle to former Colorado football cornerback Cormani McClain seeing the field for the Gators during the 2024 season according to Hail Florida Hail's Benjamin Henderson; though as Henderson notes, no one is truly entrenched anywhere due to turnover on UF's coaching staff, a potentially good sign for McClain.

"With Corey Raymond gone as defensive backs coach and Will Harris in for 2024, no one's spot is entrenched as Harris looks at everything with a fresh slate," Henderson prefaced before saying, "On top of that, Jason Marshall is the only cornerback from 2023 returning who took at least 200 snaps last season. 

"With that said, on paper, if McClain wants to have a starting job in 2024, he would have to beat out Devin Moore. Moore took 194 snaps in 2023, with 94 of them in pass coverage. He only gave up five receptions for a total of 30 yards, so many feel he would have the inside track."

Former Colorado football CB Cormani McClain not the first reclamation project Florida is taking on

McClain is playing in Gainesville as a walk-on, unable to get a scholarship with the Gators already at the limit (85) this coming season. As a 5-star recruit just a year ago, McClain will be a major reclamation project for Billy Napier's regime after he squandered his opportunity at CU due to behavioral issues and getting on Deion Sanders' bad side.

McClain won't be the first reclamation project, though, as Henderson tells me. Former Wisconsin QB Graham Mertz and ex-Arizona State receiver-turned-NFL first-rounder Ricky Pearsall are notable Napier success stories.

" Most fans, myself included, were not excited when it was announced Mertz was coming to Florida from Wisconsin," Henderson prefaced before saying, "As it played out, Mertz had a solid season and wasn't the reason why Florida went 5-7.

"It was different circumstances, as he wasn't a highly touted guy coming out of high school, but Ricky Pearsall would be the other success story. He barely made a blip on the radar in Gainesville when he announced he was transferring from Arizona State, and last year, he was just short of being the first Gator in over 20 years to have a 1,000-yard receiving season."

McClain is coming in with even lower expectations than Mertz was as QB1 and Pearsall was as one of Mertz's weapons. Gators fans see his potential production as a luxury more than a necessity, which could set up the former CU problem child for big things in his home state.*

*If he can put to bed the behaviors that put him in Coach Prime's doghouse in Boulder.