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The Florida Gators offensive line loses two of its most. accomplished and veteran linemen from 2020 but there’s a new wave of talent ready to take over in Gainesville.

One of the most exciting young offensive linemen hails from just up the road and is one of the most physically impressive players on the entire roster.

Braun was a late flip to the Gators after spurning Georgia just a week before signing a National Letter of Intent with the Gators. Braun found immediate playing time in Gainesville, appearing in 11 games, including one start. Braun was also named to the SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll. Braun was also a National Merit Semifinalist in high school.

Braun got extended playing time in a big spot last year against Georgia. Starting right guard Stewart Reese went down with an injury and Braun was tapped to step in. The freshman answered the call and played well in a 44-28 win over the Bulldogs. Braun, along with fellow freshman Ethan White have both impressed one of the older linemen.

“Ethan White and Josh Braun are the two people that stand out to me the most. Last year, as you all know, I got hurt in the Georgia game and Josh stepped up and played behind me, and there was no difference in the level of play,” Stewart Reese said during spring camp. “Ethan has played before, but this will be his first chance to get a real chance to start. They’ve been doing good at practice. They’re getting better every day. Those are the two people that stand out to me on the offensive line. A lot of our other younger guys are still fighting to get a job. But those two guys, considering all of the things that they’ve been through to get to this point, they’re doing a real good job to me.”

With the departures of Brett Heggie and Stone Forsythe, the Gators have shifted players around the offensive line. Reese, White, Richie Leonard, and Kingsley Eguakun all worked out at center this spring and that opened up a starting opportunity for Braun at right guard, where he played in 2020.

The general thought is that Florida will be more run-oriented in 2021 than they were in 2020. That means more mass up front and when John Hevesy looks at the potential for the offensive line, there’s a lot of beef up front.

“To me, interior-wise walking out there if you have Stewart at center, Ethan at guard, and Josh at guard it’s 353, 350, 354 — so pretty big,” Hevesy said in the spring. “Which I think is part of the whole deal to running the ball and moving those inside guys to run downhill — inside zone, outside zone stuff. There’s some mass in there to move guys, to learn to be physical all the time. It’s not being nice guys because they’re big guys. It’s using that force and power that you have.”

Braun got a taste of what SEC football is like in 2020 but 2021 looks like the year he’ll get a real starting job and will be counted in a bigger role.