Defensive Depth Chart More Definitive

There were a few moves made on the depth chart on defense, but with a unit that finished in the top 10 nationally and all but one starter returning, we weren't going to expect much. Will Muschamp talked to the media on Tuesday and gave us a run down on the depth chart, talked about injuries, and just how his guys have been doing in the off-season. He also talked about expectations of some.

Dan Quinn should have a little bit better time implementing the defense this spring. Florida's defensive coordinator has a lot of familiar faces returning and on a unit that seemed to get better as the season progressed.

Here is a look at the defensive depth chart before the start of spring practice.

DEFENSIVE END

#73 Shariff Floyd (JR, 6-3, 305); #91 Earl Okine (R-SR, 6-7, 26)

Note: Floyd wants to and needs to be at defensive tackle. Right now there is just no option at the position, but that should change in the fall with a few new arrivals. Muschamp said he will play inside and outside in the fall and is discussed farther down in this report. Floyd is also up about 10 pounds from a year ago.
Muschamp Says: "Sharrif [Floyd] really played well inside for us, really played well at defensive tackle, probably his more natural position. We need Earl Okine to step for us."

BUCK

#7 Ronald Powell (JR, 6-4, 250); #25 Gideon Ajagbe (R-SO, 6-3, 222)

Note: Seeing Ajagbe here is a bit of a surprise, he isn't big enough but is getting bigger. A true freshman or two will play here in the fall.
Muschamp Says: "Ronald Powell has had a really nice off season. Gideon [Ajagbe] will work there, as well as at SAM."

DEFENSIVE TACKLE

#44 Leon Orr (R-SO, 6-5, 305); #4 Damien Jacobs (JR, 6-3, 310)

Note: With Easley out for the spring, there will be some shuffling along the defensive interior. They seem to like Orr and Jacobs a lot and the extra work will do them good this spring.
Muschamp Says: "Leon is a guy that we've really put some heat on. He needs to step forward. He needs to play lower pad level. He needs to play behind his pads. It's his opportunity to step forward and do some things for us. Damien Jacobs is a guy that we really like out of East Mississippi. He's been a nice addition so far in our off season program to see him move around and some of the things he does. He's got good lower body flexibility. He's got good quickness and initial quickness."

NOSE TACKLE

#99 Omar Hunter (SR, 6-1, 314); #58 Nick Alajajian (SR, 6-4, 285)

Note: Hunter came on really strong at the end of the 2011 season and has been working hard in the off-season. Alajajian was a real surprise when mentioned Tuesday. He's a guy that struggled with picking things up on the offensive line so maybe a move to defense would be good.
Muschamp Says: "We moved Nick Alajajian to defensive tackle. We felt like on the offensive line right now, we needed more depth up front defensively, especially with Dominique not going through spring. We wanted to give Nick an opportunity to come over and see what he could do on the defensive side of the ball, so we'll see how that works."

SAM (Strong Side LB)

#49 Darrin Kitchens (JR, 6-2, 222); #55 Graham Stewart (SO, 6-1, 227)

Note: Kitchens performed extremely well when he was called on to fill in last year. They would like bigger players here and it is surprising to see Stewart has lost about 10 pounds.
Muschamp Says: "We'll move Graham Stewart outside, he had been playing mostly at the Mike position, but we felt like we needed to build our depth outside a little bit more, especially with Lerentee not going through spring."

MIKE (Middle LB)

#1 Jon Bostic (SR, 6-1, 243); #51 Michael Taylor (R-SO, 6-0, 220)

Note: Bostic gets the #1 jersey on defense, a bit of a surprise. Nothing else new here and this is a very good duo for the position.
Muschamp Says: "Jon [Bostic] and Jelani [Jenkins] both had really solid seasons for us. Mike Taylor needs to continue to step up for us."

WILL (Weak Side LB)

#3 Jelani Jenkins (R-JR, 6-0, 233); #12 Antonio Morrison (FR, 6-1, 216)

Note: Jenkins has gained a little weight and looks really good right now. Morrison was thought to be a MLB, but actually the WILL and MIKE are pretty close to the same position oin this defense. He has gained about 10 pounds since his arrival on campus.
Muschamp Says: "Jon [Bostic] and Jelani [Jenkins] both had really solid seasons for us. Antonio Morrison is a young man that came in mid year, has looked good in the off season program, we'll see how he does when the pads come on."

SAFETY

#22 Matt Elam (JR, 5-10, 210); #26 Pop Saunders (SO, 5-9, 186)

Note: Elam is getting bigger, Saunders lost a little. No real surprises here.

SAFETY

#9 Josh Evans (SR, 6-1, 201); #10 Valdez Showers (R-FR, 5-11, 188)

Note: No surprises here as well. Evans switched from #24 to #9.
Muschamp Says: "Josh Evans has had a off season. He needs to continue to step forward. Jabari Gorman is also a young man that will figure in that combination at safety along with De'Ante Saunders."

CORNERBACK

#15 Loucheiz Purifoy (SO, 6-1, 186); #27 Willie Bailey (FR, 6-1, 170)

Note: Love the move that Purifoy has made. Listing him as a starter says a lot about what they think of him. He's also up about 10 pounds from last season.
Muschamp Says: "Loucheiz Purifoy really had a good Bowl practice, excited about his off season and progression there."

CORNERBACK

#31 Cody Riggs (JR, 5-9, 180); #14 Jaylen Watkins (JR, 6-0, 187)

Note: Surprised at Watkins here and won't be surprised if he makes a move on the depth chart before it is all over.
Muschamp Says: "Cody Riggs, Jaylen Watkins and then Willie Bailey, a mid year guy that's come in at corner, really looked good for us moving around."

NICKEL

#22 Matt Elam (JR, 5-10, 210); #31 Cody Riggs (JR, 5-9, 180)

Note: We should see an awful lot of Pop Saunders in the nickel as well. I like the versatility they have in this group.

More on the defense:

Muschamp clarified Sharrif Floyd's situation at end or tackle and said we may see some of Dominique Easley at end in the fall as well.

"As you get in, you've got to get your best guys on the field, and that's really where we got in the cross hairs last year as far as Dominique and Sharrif with the NCAA going into the season not knowing when we were going to get him back. We decided to play him at end and Dominique inside. We may flip flop that as we go into fall. Sharrif will play both inside and outside. When we're in nickel situations, he will be an inside player. When we're in regular situations, he will play the end in spring, but he will also play inside, so he will play both positions."

Easley is out and still recovering from an ACL tear. Also out are Jeremy Brown, Marcus Roberson, Lerentee McCray, Neiron Ball, and Kedric Johnson. Muschamp talked about most of them.

"Brown will be out for spring," Muschamp said. "We had to have surgery, and that progress has been going very well."

"Dominique Easley's progress is going very well. He's far ahead of schedule but will not go through spring. Kedric Johnson has a shoulder.

"Lerentee McCray still has some lasting effects from the hit he took in the Georgia game from his shoulder, and he probably could go through spring, but to me there's no sense in chancing it with him. He's a senior. He's a guy that's proven himself as a football player. Let's continue to let him heal through spring, get some other guys some opportunities, and so I'm going to hold him.

"Marcus Roberson has been cleared but not for contact, so he starting spring will not be involved other than walk throughs and things like that, he will not be cleared for practice. But we certainly feel like he's going to be cleared as far as we move forward.

"[Neiron] Ball has been cleared for physical activity but not for spring, and we're still working through that process as we speak. But as far as the physical activity stuff, he can do. As far as the practicing and those things, we're not there yet."


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