Kan Li / Scout

Gator Wildcard Week: Alex Anzalone

Every day this week we are going to talk about one of the players on the 2016 Gators that can have a huge impact that hasn’t already done so. We are going to call this the Wildcard because there is a bit of the unknown. Monday’s Wildcard is linebacker Alex Anzalone.

How he got to Florida: Alex Anzalone was recruited extensively by the Gator staff under Will Muschamp. He visited a couple of times and talked up Florida, but actually committed to Notre Dame in July of 2012. A week later he was back on the campus at Florida for the Friday Night Lights camp. Still, he stayed committed to Notre Dame after that until he just switched a day before arriving on campus in January of 2013 as an early high school graduate. His was one of the strange recruiting processes we have seen in recent years.

http://www.scout.com/player/165898-alex-anzalone?s=168&year=2016

What has he done at Florida:  His career so far has been marred by injuries. He played as a true freshman in 2013 and in some part of every year since, but he has just 22 tackles in his career, 14 f those coming in 2014 as a sophomore. As a junior in 2015 he was injured in the second game of the season and missed every game after. Although he is listed as a senior, he is expected to win an appeal to get a redshirt year back from last season, so he should still have two years remaining.

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Why is he a Wildcard?: Plain and simple it is the health. When he has played he has performed at a high level. This spring he looked great but was kept out of contact for his healing shoulder. With senior Jarrad Davis being the only known real star at linebacker, a healthy and active Anzalone would do wonders for the unit.

The expectation at this point is that he will be fine and be able to play. But, we won’t know until he does and over a little bit of time whether he will stay healthy.

Anzalone and Davis side-by-side would be a couple of big sized and really talented linebackers on a defense that uses two linebackers most of the time anyway. He could be a big difference maker. 


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