Important Newcomers: No. 3 Linebacker Quartet

As the final group of incoming freshmen report to campus in Gainesville this week, we'll start the run down the five most important freshmen to the 2013 Florida football team. We'll take the easy way out on this choice and choose all four of the freshmen linebackers on the team this fall. The Gators lost two starters at linebacker from last year and need young players to emerge this fall.

WHY THEY'RE HERE: Florida needed to sign a large group of linebackers in the 2013 recruiting class, and they did that while signing four players, including three four-star players that were all on campus for spring practice. Thee-star linebacker Jarrad Davis joins the other linebackers on campus when he enrolls this week.

The trio of Alex Anzalone, Daniel McMillian and Matt Rolin all enrolled early, but McMillian was the only one to go through the entire spring on the practice field. Anzalone suffered a shoulder injury early in the spring that kept him out of practice while Rolin continued to rehab a torn ACL that he suffered during his senior season of high school. Both are expected to be healthy by the time fall camp opens.

The freshmen all have the size to warrant immediate playing time. Anzalone, who is expected to playing middle linebacker, ended the spring at 6-3, 230 pounds. McMillian is listed at 6-1, 227 pounds while Rolin, an outside linebacker, is 6-4, 208 pounds. Davis played his senior year of high school at 6-2, 225 pounds.

McMillian is built to play this year

Based simply on talent, the linebackers probably don't match up with Vernon Hargreaves and Kelvin Taylor, who were No. 4 and No. 5 on this list, respectively. But there's a much bigger need for Florida at linebacker than at cornerback or running back.

PATH TO PLAYING TIME: The depth chart is favorable for all four of the freshmen linebackers. Jon Bostic and Jelani Jenkins were both three-year starters on the Florida defense and are both on NFL rosters heading into the fall. That leaves some open spaces. Antonio Morrison is expected to step in at middle linebacker and anchor the interior of the defense. Past that, there are plenty of question marks.

Rolin needs to add weight

Michael Taylor brings some experience, but he hasn't ben a consistent starter for the Florida defense. Darrin Kitchens has experience as the SAM linebacker and will play an important role there. The Florida coaches were also optimistic about the growth of Neiron Ball after he was able to spend an entire offseason in the weight room.

After Morrison, Taylor, Kitchens, Ball and redshirt freshman Jeremi Powell, next up on the depth chart will be the freshmen.

Anzalone spent the summer working at middle linebacker, and he could serve as Morrison's back up this year. He also worked at the SAM linebacker, where Florida head coach Will Muschamp said McMillian and Rolin would also get reps.

WHAT TO EXPECT: My guess is that McMillian will be the freshman linebacker that gets on the field the most this fall. If you look at the previous track record of playing freshmen, most of the time it's the ones that enroll early and go through spring practice. Anzalone would be an easy guess to get on the field a lot, too.

Rolin is expected to get on the field at the beginning of fall camp and be healthy after tearing his ACL in high school. He still needs to add weight before making a bigger impact on the field. Davis has the size to get on the field this fall, but coming in during the summer could hold him back.

Davis is enrolling at Florida this week

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