With Dan Mullen set to take the reins in Gainesville, Florida will have a familiar face leading the program next season.

Mullen’s success at Florida as an offensive coordinator under Urban Meyer, which included his expert tutelage of quarterbacks Chris Leak and Tim Tebow, was the fundamental reason he was tapped in November to replace the departed Jim McElwain. Mullen understands Florida’s culture and expectations, and his resume suggests he can fix an offense that has regressed since he left for Starkville following Florida’s 2008 national championship.

Despite the fact that Florida tapped a familiar face at head coach, there will be plenty of new faces around the football building when the Gators begin spring practice this March, and that’s before you factor in Mullen’s inaugural Florida recruiting class.

But even as the winds of change swirl around the Gators’ program, the player who will be the face of Florida’s program in 2018 will be a salty, grizzled veteran.

The face of Florida football in 2018 is Cece Jefferson, and in many ways, that’s fitting.

A lifelong Gators fan with a magnetic personality and wide, country smile who grew up an hour north of Gainesville in rural Baker County, Jefferson spent many fall Saturdays attending Gators games in the Urban Meyer days.

Jefferson has seen Florida football at the pinnacle, and he’s helped enrich Florida’s football history himself, helping the Gators earn two trips to Atlanta to play for the SEC Championship in his time in the orange and blue. Like Dan Mullen, he appreciates the winning history of Florida football and understands the work involved in accomplishing winning.

He’s also seen Florida football at rock bottom, a season lost before it began, a 4-7 record and a once-proud culture of winning ripped apart at the seams by off-field drama