By Michael J. McCarthy, AP Florida Gators running back Justin Jackson, left, and offensive lineman Justin Thomas discuss how Florida’s new staff and coaches will help them become successful in the NFL.
The Gators also announced Tuesday that it has added four offensive linemen and two defensive linemen.
They are: Offensive line coach Mark Stoops, who previously served as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Tennessee; defensive line coach Jim McElwain, who has been with the program since 2009; offensive line coach/quarterbacks coach Jim Hackett; and defensive line assistant Dave Dameshek.
All three will work together as the Gators’ offensive line and defensive tackles coach.
All four are expected to join the team next month.
Offensive tackle Andrew Furniss was a third-round draft pick of the Kansas City Chiefs in 2013.
He was a three-year starter for Kansas City before transferring to the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2015.
He made seven starts in 2016 and played in seven games this season.
He will have to compete for a starting job with defensive tackle Jordan Leggett, who left the team for the Jacksonville facility.
Running back Justin Thomas, a two-year starting running back at Florida, will return for his senior season.
Thomas was a four-year contributor at Florida and led the Gators in rushing with 1,065 yards and 11 touchdowns last season.
Defensive end Justin Davis, a four year starter, and linebacker J.T. Thomas, who led the team in tackles for loss and sacks in 2015, are returning to Florida for their senior seasons.
They combined for 18.5 sacks last season and will have a chance to compete with Jackson and Thomas for a position on the team.
Jackson, a six-year veteran, has a chance for a first-team All-SEC pick and was the consensus top running back in the 2016 recruiting class.
He is a three time Academic All-American, with three of his four selections coming in his final two seasons.
Thomas and Davis were expected to compete to start at defensive end.