Florida returners get preseason honors

Florida's return unit got some special-teams love Monday.

Senior running back/punt returner Chris Rainey and sophomore receivers/kick returners Andre Debose and Solomon Patton were named to the 2011 College Football Performance Special Teams Awards list.

According to a release, recipients of the awards "are exclusively selected upon scientific rankings that measure the extent to which individual players increase the overall effectiveness of their teams."

All three could do just that this fall for the Gators ... I guess.

Debose was put on the CFPA 2011 Kickoff Returner Trophy list after being named a 2010 SEC All-Freshman Team member on special teams and was named the nation’s top kick returner by the College Football Performance Awards in 2010. Last season, he returned 21 kickoffs for 587 yards (28-yard average) and two touchdowns.

Rainey, who was named to the Punt Returner Trophy list, will be one of the country's slipperiest punt returners this fall. He cuts and slides past defenders with relative ease on offense and he will be even better when he gets all that space on special teams.

For his career, Rainey has returned 14 punt returns for 129 yards (9.2 average) and one touchdown.

Joining him on the Punt Returner list is Patton. Patton returned seven kickoff returns for 196 yards (28 average) during his freshman year and could help out on both kicks and punts this fall.

What does this say about Florida's special-teams unit? You'll have to find out what we at the SEC blog think of the Gators and everyone else around the league when it comes to special teams later this week when we talk more rankings.

I know. What a tease.