Gators Top Targets at Defensive Tackle

Florida defensive line coach Brad Lawing has his work cut out for him recruiting defensive tackles.

The 2015 class is exactly why Florida defensive line coach Brad Lawing has a limited in-state recruiting area so he can recruit out of state. The states of Florida and Georgia have a single defensive tackle that is rated four or five stars. Trenton Thompson happens to be the number one player at the position in the country, but no other prospect fits the high profile bill that comes with a 4th and 5th star.

It isn't uncommon for the defensive tackle position to not be stellar in-state. The best DT's at Florida in the last couple of drafts have come from New York (Dominique Easley) and Pennsylvania (Shariff Floyd). It is a position historically that the state has a hard time filling, especially in numbers. Therefore, the Gators must recruit the position out of state and Lawing spends a lot of his time doing just that.

The defensive tackle board is so lackluster in the state this year, there is only one prospect with a legitimate offer… at least he happens to be a legacy.

Andrew Ivie (6-3, 260) of Dade City (Fla.) Pasco County is the younger brother of current Florida defensive lineman Joey Ivie. Just like his brother he is a little undersized to play defensive tackle as a junior in high school, but like his brother he is expected to grow into someone that can play the position. The brothers are tight and I would expect this one to happen with Florida, especially with the in-state crop being s thin.

The next closest top talent is Trenton Thompson (6-3, 290) of Albany (Ga.) Westover. He is a huge talent and the top player in the country at the position. There was a time when Florida felt they had a really good shot at Thompson and he visited the Gators a couple of times. That time has passed and the home state team Georgia is the big leader. The only thing that could be in the Gators favor is that he will likely not commit any time soon. The Gators have a lot of work to do.

Tim Settle (6-2, 300) of Manassas (Va.) Stonewall Jackson is another five-star prospect at the position and the number three overall defensive end in the country. The Gators have a long way to go as Settle just named a top 15 and Florida wasn't even in it. In the same breath, he did say that Florida was one of the places he wanted to visit, "so you say there's a chance"?

Shy Tuttle (6-2, 285) of Lexington (NC) North Davidson is in a state that the Gators are really going hard after several prospects. In the meantime, the home state Tarheels are putting together a big time class and it appears that Tuttle is a big lean. The Gators have a lot of work to do here, but they will follow through to the end on the 4-star number six DT in the country.

Albert Huggins (6-3, 260) of Orangeburg (SC) Wilkinson is an intriguing prospect. The number 10 DT in the country isn't a prototype size DT right now, but he has the frame to be massive and is as highly recruited as any of them. Huggins has a June visit set up to Florida and with Lawing recruiting the state really hard after working there for a dozen years, Huggins appears to be at least a bit interested in the Gators. Clemson appears to be the frontrunner for the last several months, but this could be one that Lawing tries to sink his hooks in and hold on to for dear life.

Kingsley Keke (6-4, 270) of Richmond (Tex.) George Ranch is from the Lone Star State and the Gators just don't get much out of there. Texas and Texas A&M are both hard after him and trying to pry him away from those two is next to an impossible task. Still, the Gators continue to focus on Keke and Florida assistant Derek Lewis has been able to pull some shockers at times.

D.J. Jones (6-2, 310) of Scooba (Miss.) East Mississippi CC is the top junior college prospect for Florida. Maybe it isn't optimal to sign a junior college talent in 2015, but the Gators could very well be without an upperclassman at the position in 2015, so then again, maybe it does make sense.

We have seen Lawing work some minor miracles in recruiting, so we shall see what he has in him for this recruiting cycle as defensive tackle recruiting is going to be very tough.

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