FRESHMEN: A look at incoming freshmen (DEFENSE)

Continuing on our look at the incoming freshman class that arrived on campus last Monday, we move to the defensive side of the ball. Here are my thoughts on who will and won't help us in their first year from an insider perspective...

DE - Derrick Harvey - The sack machine has a chance to play, but this is the deepest position on the team, with lots of talent. I am of the opinion he needs to do a little more work in the weight room also. If he plays it means that we have an array of injuries or that he is even better than billed. I am not against the latter, but I see a redshirt out of him for this year.

DE - Mike Mangold - When I saw this guy's highlights, my eyes literally popped out of my head! I think he and Dee Webb had the best high school highlights of all the freshmen in the past 2 years. He is also physically ready to play since he spends a lot of time in the weight room. He is similar to Clint Mitchell in terms of relentless pursuit to the ball, but is a little shorter than Clint. He could actually play, but again with the depth at the position, I don't see it.

DT - Michael Brown - A lot of recruitniks want to move him to the offensive line. I don't see it. He is big, fast, plays with a nastiness, and fills the hole in the line well. I think we have 2 All Star starters at DT, but after that we still have a group of relative unknowns. Health reasons are a big problem with our DT position right now and I think Mike Brown can come in and play early.

LB - Javier Estopinan - I believe he will be in the 2-deep by the end of two-a-days. We are scary thin at LB and the ex-wrestler is a smart and talented football player. Right now I think he is the heir apparent to Channing Crowder at Middle LB. I also expect him to be a force on special teams.

LB - Brandon Siler - Another I expect to see in the 2-deep come game week. He is a really good student and has the athleticism to play early and often. Look for Brandon to play a lot of special teams also.

Safety - Kyle Jackson - Kyle will play this year. I didn't get to see highlights of him until way after signing day, but once I did I was shocked at the power at which he supplied the hits he was making. I don't think he is that heavy, but you wouldn't know it by the punishment he was doing to others. Another good student, he will probably be able to learn the ropes quickly. He'll also see a lot of time on special teams.

Safety - Tony Joiner - Really fluid and athletic player. The defensive coaches love this guy and he will play this year. Plays nasty in his own right and isn't afraid of contact. Will also see time on special teams this year.

Corner - Dawayne Grace - Could be the sleeper of the class. Already coached by the UF secondary coach in high school (Disch), he may be able to come in early and play. The depth and quality at the CB spot has question marks, so let's hope he is ready. Definitely another candidate for playing time on special teams.

SPECIAL TEAMS NOTE: This class should have a major influence on special teams. I can see Rutledge, Manson, and McIntosh providing help from the offensive side of the ball. On defense, Mangold, Siler, Estopinan, Grace, Jackson, and Joiner all have a chance of starting or playing huge roles in special teams.

Fightin Gators Top Stories