BUCK / SAM Recruiting Critical for UF

Take a new defensive system, throw in a short depth chart and a transfer or two and all of a sudden you have issues at two of the more important positions on Florida's roster. The BUCK and SAM positions will be on the field at the same time most of the time in Will Muschamp's defense and both will be manned by the same players on roster. They have four now and need 3-4 in this recruiting class.

It is all about flexibility on defense and more than any other place on the defensive roster and the flexibility on defense is supposed to come from the SAM linebacker and BUCK positions on the field.

The staff wants identical players for both which will allow either to put their hand down as a rush end or to play up as a big outside linebacker. In order to do that, they need size (235 plus pounds), strength (which comes with size), and flexibility (something you rarely find in players of that size.

Currently on the Gators roster there are four players listed at SAM and BUCK, Ronald Powell (6-4, 250), Lerentee McCray (6-2, 241), Kedric Johnson (6-4, 225), and Gideon Ajagbe (6-3, 212). Powell and McCray are the only two that fit the physical weight descriptions above. We know Powell can play with his hand down or up and has the ability to run sideline to sideline. McCray has the straight ahead speed to play as a pass rusher. It's not that he can't do it, but we haven't seen the flexibility so far from McCray to play as a SAM linebacker at an elite level.

Even if McCray is one of the answers, that really leaves Florida with two guys for two positions that will be on the field almost all the time on defense. He also enters the 2011 season as a junior with only one year of eligibility left after the season. With no desirable depth behind them, that makes recruiting the position(s) well a necessity, and the Gators have to sign multiple.

Lucky for Florida there are a handful of prospects that totally fit the bill. The top of the list includes Noah Spence, Jordan Jenkins, Tyriq McCord, and Dante Fowler.

Noah Spence is listed number one among defensive end prospects in the current Scout.com rankings. Spence brings a blend of speed and athleticism with his 6-4, 240 pound frame. He is ideal for the BUCK in this Gators' defense with his ability to play with his hand on the ground as a pass rusher and is skilled as a linebacker.

From Harrisburg (PA) Bishop McDevitt, Spence is expected to visit Florida sometime between now and January and the Gators do appear to be solidly on a list of programs he is considering.\

Jordan Jenkins may be the most athletic of the bunch. At 6-3 and 246 pounds he also plays with a big time mean streak and the Hamilton (GA) Harris County star is as impressive as any and ranked number seven as a defensive end, but also a five-star prospect.

There are some that would tell you the Gators are the favorite to land Jenkins. That would make some coaches extremely happy, but we certainly have to let this one play out. There are some tough schools to contend with along the way.

Tyriq McCord is a very intriguing prospect indeed. He lost a lot of weight near the end of the football season due to illness and by spring he was back up and jacked. He has a physique that is built to hurt folks and the Tampa Jefferson star has some of the longest arms with strength that you will ever see. Those arms were made for playing near and at the line of scrimmage.

Georgia, USC, South Carolina, and North Carolina seem to be the toughest competition for McCord, but the Gators may be the leader here as well. At 6-3 and 230 pounds, he would be an ideal SAM linebacker and with those long arms trying to get away from him on the edge as a pass rusher would not be an easy task for anyone.

Dante Fowler has the explosion off the edge and the quickness to be a multiple type player at the next level. At 6-3 and 238 he is at the lower end of the prototype size wise, but with an entire football season ahead, he will be golden for the position at the next level.

Fowler would be listed before this spot except he is committed to Florida State, but… he visited Florida two weeks ago. He maintains the communication is open between he and the Gators and in the end, the Gators are going to show a much bigger need at the position for the five-star St. Petersburg (FL) Lakewood prospect. Will it be enough? We shall see.

Getting at least two of the above is almost a necessity at this point. Three would be desired and any and all of the three would have a chance to start and very likely would be in the two deep as freshmen.

The BUCK / SAM and its diversity is so vital to this defense that the staff should be able to show each of these guys everything they need to see this fall when the defense is on display.

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