Early Impact: Anzalone, McMillan, and Rolin

The Florida Gators have eight early enrollees on hand for the spring semester including two junior college transfers. Most of them will be expected to make an early impact on a roster that has some questions heading into the fall. The early start can only help the newcomers and that includes yeo of the three linebackers that showed up on campus this week.

The Gators saw a little more attrition than they expected at the linebacker position at the end of the season when junior Jelani Jenkins decided to forego his senior season to enter his name into the NFL draft. Jenkins and graduating senior Jon Bostic combined for so much experience and action over the last few years that they will be very hard to replace.

Michael Taylor, Antonio Morrison, Darrin Kitchens, Gideon Ajagbe, Jeremi Powell, and Neiron Ball comprise the rest of the unit which is a little low on numbers, but has a little experience among them.

Taylor and Morrison ion the middle with Kitchens and Ball outside are the guys that have played some and should be guys that will get the first look at starting in 2013.

Instant depth will be added with the early enrollment of three linebackers in January. Alex Anzalone (6-3, 235) of Wyomissing (PA) and Daniel McMillan (6-2, 220) of Jacksonville First Coast will get a head start this spring working out with the older guys while Matt Rolin (6-4, 205) of Ashburn (VA) recovers from injury but should be good to go in the fall.

With Anzalone you get an all-around athlete that very well could end up on the offensive side of the ball. In the early part of his recruitment, Florida and just about everyone else was recruiting him as an H-back or fullback or tight end. He committed to Ohio State after they told him he was a linebacker. Since that point in time he has committed to Notre Dame and then finally Florida and everyone has been telling him linebacker. He averaged over 11 yards per carry as a sophomore and junior and over eight yards a carry as a senior.


As a linebacker Anzalone had over 100 tackles as a senior. FOX Sports NEXT Northeast Recruiting Analyst Brian Dohn had this to say about him.

"It starts with Anzalone's energy," Dohn wrote in his evaluation earlier last year. "He plays fast, hard, physical and with emotion. He hits hard, he can cover, he has a good change of direction and he is a violent tackler, launching himself into the ball carrier not just to make the play, but to make sure it is felt.

"This is one of those players who is a fire ball and always moving at a high rate of speed."

McMillan is the highest rated of the linebacker class and probably the best combination of size and speed. He has the frame to put on more weight and he is an absolute bullet to the ball wants he gets a bead on the ball carrier. He hits like a Mack truck.


He really has everything you look for in an elite linebacker," FOX Sports NEXT national Analyst Chad Simmons said of McMilllan after a live evaluation. "Aside from his size, he moves very well side to side, he really tackles through his opponent, he is very athletic, and he plays physical.

"What he showed me that I did not expect to see in this game was leadership. He made the calls at linebacker, he got the defense in and out of the huddle, and he was leading both vocally and by example. That really stood out."

Both guys will get a lot of looks and reps this spring before settling into a position.

With Rolin, the benefit of showing up on campus and learning is a great benefit indeed, even if he can't suit up. He also now has some time with a training table to gain some necessary weight to compete at the SEC level.

"Rolin plays downhill, is a fundamental tackler, runs well straight ahead, is long, reads plays well, does his homework in preparation, places in space and tracks the ball well," Dohn wrote when writing about Rolin's earlier commitment to South Carolina.


"Rolin is 6-4, 205 pounds. Imagine taking on blocks from SEC offensive lineman on many plays… Rolin needs to get stronger to be a factor. He could easy get to 225 or 230 pounds and be a big factor."

Any of the three could wind up at any linebacker position or in the case of Anzalone, on offense. If need be. Having them on campus in the spring is a huge bonus.

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