All Florida Gators cornerback C.J. McWilliams wanted was a chance, the opportunity to suit up each Saturday this fall, and be the full-time starting cornerback for a nationally-ranked team in the SEC. The 5-foot-11, 184-pounder got a little taste of it last season, but he wanted more. Unfortunately, that won’t be happening.
McWilliams, a redshirt junior defensive back from Miami and former Southwest High School standout, suffered a torn Achilles tendon in practice and will miss the entire 2019 NCAA college football season. Florida head coach Dan Mullen confirmed the injury during his press conference on Tuesday morning.
This is obviously tough news for a Florida secondary looking to compete at a high level against high-powered SEC offenses.
McWilliams had his struggles last season, but he has experience, which would have helped the Gators this year at their Star position covering slot receivers. He played in nine games last year— starting at cornerback against both LSU and Vanderbilt — and registered 16 tackles and four pass breakups. He was a key player on special teams for the University of Florida.
With losing Chris Steele and Brian Edwards to transfer, and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson to the NFL, the McWilliams injury means Mullen will have to heavily rely on players like Trey Dean III while he throws freshmen Kaiir Elam, Jaydon Hill and Chester Kimbrough into the fire in Gainesville.
Other options at Star, according to Mullen via Alligator Army, would be sophomore Amari Burney, sophomore John Huggins and junior Marco Wilson.
“He is going to be out for the year with a torn Achilles. He ruptured his Achilles, so he’s going to be out for the year. That’s a tough one. Non-contact injury. That’s a shame… It was early in practice, planted and drove and felt the pop. It’s a shame.”
— Florida Coach Dan Mullen, via Saturday Down South
In college football, depth is the name of the game. No coach wants to have to use a true freshman during critical moments, especially in the SEC.
Needless to say, no matter how good their football recruiting is, Dan Mullen and Gators football are definitely hoping the injury to C.J. McWilliams is the last player they have to worry about before the start of the season.