Year of the Linebacker

In a year in which the Florida Gators are desperately seeking linebacker help they may have found what they are looking for. Fortunately for the Gators the linebacker board is deep with talent and mutual interest.

One of the top priorities heading into the 2015 class is securing commitments from as many top tier linebackers as possible. It starts with outside linebacker Jeff Holland. Holland, a 6-foot-3, 230-pound backer with tremendous talent and ability is from Jacksonville (Fla) Trinity Christian Academy. He has high interest in the Gators and anything less than securing a commitment from the nation's No 4 ranked outside linebacker will be a huge disappointment to the Florida coaching staff and fans. The Gators must contend with the Auburn Tigers, a team who has made a great push for Holland as of late.

Next up is 6-foot-4, 210-pound Adonis Thomas from Lawrenceville (GA) Central Gwinnett high school. Thomas is the No 21 ranked outside linebacker and has been on the Florida campus multiple times and will again very soon. The Gators are considered to be the front-runners maybe even more so than with Holland. Holland and Thomas would make a fantastic one-two punch in Gainesville over the next several seasons.

Another Georgia native is 6-foot-3, 220-pound Austin Smith. Smith is from Buford (GA) and has also visited the Gators.

A couple top tier players I would not expect to see Florida have a chance with are Ricky DeBerry, D'Andre Walker and Sh'mar Kilby-Lane.

The No 4 ranked middle linebacker also checks in from Georgia, Roquan Smith, a 6-foot-1, 210-pound machine from Montezuma (GA) Macon County high school. Smith has shown a great deal of interest in the Gators to date and has talked about playing a long side both Jeff Holland and Adonis Thomas. Smith is well aware of the sense of urgency from the coaching staff regarding playing time for elite backers next season.

The No 13 ranked middle linebacker is De'Amontae Jackson. The Citra (Fla) North Marion standout does not have an offer from the Gators but it's not for lack of talent. He is one player to keep an eye on moving forward depending on what happens with some of the other players on the board.

Three star Te'Von Coney is 6-foot-2, 215-pounds out of Palm Beach Gardens (Fla) and does hold a Florida offer. Coney is definitely one to watch as the recruiting season unfolds.

In an ideal world the Gators would love to land four top tier linebackers. However, recruiting fans understand the task is easier said than done. Anyway you look at it the Gators must land three top tier linebackers in the class of 2015. One issue they may have moving forward is three of the top four players are from the state of Georgia. When is the last time the Gators beat the Bulldogs on a high level player from the Peach state let alone three in one class.

Inside The AU Tigers Top Stories