Is Fowler the Next ‘Freak'?

One of the all-time Gator Greats used to roam Florida field and wreak havoc on quarterbacks and opposing ball carriers. He came from high school as a safety and left for the NFL as a 260 pound defensive end. Florida signee Dante Fowler would love to follow in the footsteps of Jevon Kearse and has his mind set in doing just that.

As a player and person at Lakewood HS in St. Petersburg, Dante Fowler wants folks to remember him as a player that got after it all the time.

"I want to be known as a person that worked hard on the field and made big plays when they were needed," he told Scout last week.

As a Florida Gator, he has his goals set high and wouldn't mind being compared to one of the all-time best from the college or the pro game.

"I want to be one of the greatest defensive players that came through Florida and I really want to be a part of a national championship," he said. I know people call Jevon Kearse ‘The Freak' I guess. If I was going to be compared to someone at Florida, I would just love to be compared to Jevon Kearse."

At 6-3 and 260 pounds, Fowler moves like a rangy linebacker and brings hammer to meet the ball carrier. He can play with his hand up as a linebacker or down on the defensive line and knows at Florida that is exactly what he is expected to do.

"I have been keeping in shape and working on my quickness and going by my workouts from Florida," he said. "They sent me a couple of DVD's for the playbook of some of the defenses. I like the way they use the BUCK, but I am also going to put my hand in the dirt a lot. I feel like in the 3-4 defense that the BUCK should make the most plays in that defense."

There is a lot for Fowler to be excited about in the next coming months, particularly since an injury to junior BUCK Ronald Powell has sidelined him for most of the season. This means there is a big time opportunity for Fowler, and he cherishes that role.

"I know Ronald Powell is hurt," Fowler said. "That will give me an opportunity to get on the field and possibly start as a freshman. I just want to hold it down until he gets back. They told me he will be out and that I need to step up and mature real fast.

"It excites me playing for a BCS program and in the best conference in the nation. I can't wait to play on the big stage and in front of a great crowd. I just want to be one of the best impact freshmen for the year."

In the meantime, he has to live vicariously through his fellow recruiting class brothers who he keeps in contact a lot with.

"Matt Jones is like my brother, I talk to him a lot," Fowler said. "Marcus Maye, Kent Taylor, Jessamen Dunker, D.J. Humphries, Latroy Pittman, all those Florida commits played in the Under Armour game and even though Mario Edwards was my roommate, Jessamen Dunker stayed in my hotel room the entire week. We were just bonding with each other. Jeremi Powell is from Largo and only 30 minutes away from me."

He makes sure to get with the guys that early enrolled and are already on campus at Florida. Dunker , Humphries, and Pittman give him insight.

"They just tell me how it is with football and school and how you have to focus to do it all the same time," he said. "I just have to mature. It was great that I got to spend my whole spring break there and see what college life is like for a whole week. There will be things I have to adapt to, but it won't be hard if I just come in and mature... it will be good."

The rest of the freshmen arrive on June 26th and Fowler cannot wait.

"I graduate Thursday," he said. "Everything is good to show up this month."

As far as what Gator fans can expect? A little bit of everything from Fowler.

"I am just a fun overall guy to be around. I am not self-centered," he said. "I love ‘Gator Nation'. I love the fans. I am a nice person and a cool guy.

"On the field I am going to be a guy that just makes plays and has a lot of enthusiasm, kind of like Dominique Easley with the dancing on the field. I want to make a big impact and do what I have to do to get Florida back to the SEC Championship this year."


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