Hit Man Ledbetter Ready for Gainesville

At six feet tall and 210 pounds Rhaheim Ledbetter packs a hell of a punch. The former Shelby (NC) Crest safety showed up in Gainesville Monday in preparation for his first season as a Florida Gator and is ready to get after it. Bring on the speed and strength training and the hot practices, and especially the pads. Ledbetter is ready to tattoo someone wearing a different uniform.

Rhaheim Ledbetter fashions himself a normal guy that really gets along with everyone. His hard play on the field isn't a matter of braggadocios or big timing, he just likes to hit when he plays football. Off the field it is a different story and hopes the folks he left behind in North Carolina remember that.

"Off the field hopefully they will remember me for my attitude," he said of the people from his old school. "I am not a cocky person or anything like that. On the field I hope they remember the hard work and intensity and hard hitting I bring to the game."

Now he enters a new chapter in his life and when we talked to him over the weekend, he was ready to get down to Florida and do his thing.

"Yeah I am ready to get down there," he said. "It is going to be fun. I just want to see the new people… the freshmen coming in, the new class and just see how it is going to be."

Florida is a means to an end for ledbetter. He wants to follow his cousin and Gator Great Brandon Spikes into the highest form of football, the National Football League.

"I am hoping to work my tail off and end up in the NFL," he said. "That is the ultimate goal."

He's been working on his game in the off-season to try and produce at a high level once he got to Gainesville. He feels the hard work has improved some things in his game.

"I think I have done well," he said of the off-season. "I have picked up some speed. Right now I'd say I run a 4.4. A lot of people have doubted me on my cover skills and my man-on-man. I have been working and improving on that a lot.

With his physical attributes, Ledbetter is primed to get himself into the rotation at safety. The Florida staff has impressed that on him as well.

"They said if I come in and work hard in practice they say I will get a shot," he said. "That is all I can ask for and I will prove I can get on the shot. Once I get my chance I am confident I will get in the rotation and get on the field.

He should be wearing jersey #23 or #25 as a freshman and will be rooming with high school teammate and fellow 2012 Gator class member Jonathan Bullard. No matter what number he wears, Gator fans can expect Ledbetter to put the crosshairs on ball carriers in the fall.

"They can expect a lot," he said of Gator Nation. "The hard hitting is a factor. If the fans are waiting to see the hard hitting, they are in for it."

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