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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Gators RB Malik Davis, LB Kylan Johnson expected to miss rest of season

<p>UF interim coach Randy Shannon confirmed on Monday that running back Malik Davis is "definitely" out for the rest of the season.</p>

UF interim coach Randy Shannon confirmed on Monday that running back Malik Davis is "definitely" out for the rest of the season.

As the Gators try to move forward after the firing of Jim McElwain, they’ll have to do it without one of their top playmakers.

Malik Davis, a freshman running back out of Tampa, is “definitely” out for the season, interim head coach Randy Shannon said Monday. Davis took a helmet to the knee in the first quarter of UF’s 42-7 loss to Georgia on Saturday. After the hit, he was on the sidelines in street clothes with crutches and a leg brace.

Before his injury, Davis was leading UF’s running backs with 6.7 yards per carry.

“It's a big blow for us because he was an explosive running back,” Shannon said in his first news conference as head coach.

And while sophomore Lamical Perine will likely take over as Florida’s featured back, Shannon said the absence of Davis is a chance for third-string back Mark Thompson to step up. Thompson, a redshirt senior, scored his first touchdown of the season on Saturday and has averaged 4 yards per carry to this point.

“We've got to challenge him on offense to make sure there was a reason why he was recruited to be a part of Florida,” Shannon said. “And that's for him to be a skilled running back like he is but also be productive and be a physical-type guy that can get open in space and make plays.”

Shannon made that clear to Thompson on Monday.

“I had a meeting with coach Shannon and he told me the expectations for myself and the expectations that are on me right now,” Thompson said. “That’s totally fine. That’s what I came here to do.”

At his news conference, Shannon added that the next running back on the depth chart, freshman Adarius Lemons, could also be called upon. Lemons picked up 18 yards in his first three career carries against Georgia.

“We've got three running backs that we feel comfortable with, but Mark Thompson has to really step up this game,” Shannon said.

Linebacker Kylan Johnson likely out for season

Davis isn’t the only starter Florida lost this weekend. Linebacker Kylan Johnson, a redshirt sophomore, has been battling a lingering hamstring injury lately and is likely to miss the rest of the season. Shannon said there’s a slim chance Johnson could return.

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“It would just be tough for him to come back,” Shannon said.

Johnson started in Florida’s loss to Georgia, but recorded just one tackle that came in the first quarter. The next night, Johnson tweeted about his injury.

“I swear it ain’t nothing more I can hate right now than a hamstring,” he posted with a facepalm emoji.

Johnson’s 15 tackles this year is tied for third among Gators linebackers with redshirt freshman Jeremiah Moon.

You can follow Matt Brannon on Twitter @MattB_727, and contact him at mbrannon@alligator.org.

UF interim coach Randy Shannon confirmed on Monday that running back Malik Davis is "definitely" out for the rest of the season.

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