RECRUITING: Gators may sign only two DL

<i><b>Part IV of a series about the wants and needs for the Florida Gators recruiting class of 2005. </b></i> <p> The defensive line is not an immediate need for the Gators. The numbers are tremendous although after this last season Gator fans are left wondering about the pure talent on the roster up front for the defense. Hopefully the young guys can chalk it up to inexperience and this was probably a major factor in the inconsistency.

The Gators are hoping to add a little depth and quality to the line this year without having to go crazy with numbers. Here is a look at the numbers.

On Scholarship (14):

DE (7): Jeremy Mincey (Sr.), Steven Harris (Jr.), Joe Cohen (Jr.), Tranell Morant (So.), McKenzie Pierre (Jr.) Julian Riley (So.), Derrick Harvey (Fr.)

DT (7): Marcus Thomas (Jr.), Ray McDonald (Jr.), Michael Hill (So.), Clint McMillan (So.), Michael Brown (Fr.), Brandon Daniel (So.), Todd Bunce (So.)

Roster Analysis:

With so much youth in the defensive line, the Gators can afford not to recruit a full line this season. This actually could be a spot where the new staff purges some players already on the squad but for our purposes we can't approach it like that. The one thing they may have to fight is a Ray McDonald or a Marcus Thomas leaving early, but we won't go there right now.

We also need to take into account that Coach Strong will most likely be employing his 3-3-5 defense this season and what effect it may have on the numbers. Because of likely change in the scheme, I think the Gators will try to sing the two best defensive linemen they can get.

Options (Gators want 2-3):

Vlad Richard is currently committed to the Gators but not really happy with the way things shook out with the staff change. This writer believes Vlad was born to play in the 3-3 and will don the orange and blue next fall. Richard is a huge defensive end who is explosive and a great run stopper. The 6-4, 255-pound lineman from Sunrise Piper is rated four stars and would be a welcome addition to the final class.

The in-state picking for defensive linemen is thin this year. One of the highest rated linemen is Miami Carol City's Ricky Jean Francois. The 6-3, 245-pound Francois has recently listed the Gators as a visit choice just when Doc Holliday jumped into the mix on the Gator staff. Before this recent addition, Francois wouldn't even mention the Gators. It is hard to tell where Francois will really look, but it was always thought that as soon as Miami offered he would be a Cane.

Jeff Owens is a kid the Gators would really love to get in the mix with, but it seems as though time will run out before they get a chance to sell him on a visit. The 6-2, 275-pound Plantation HS defensive tackle is probably the closest to a prototypical defensive tackle in the state this year.

Kendrick Stewart is one of the Gator recruitniks' favorites. I chalk it up to the love of the defensive tackle position and the fact that Stewart professed at one time a desire to be a Gator. He is an absolute animal on the field and only his proposed height is keeping some recruiters from going after him. The 6-1, 270-pound lineman has been labeled the best player in Polk County and it is understandable why so many want him to be a Gator.

Akron Ohio defensive end Lawrence Wilson has thrown his name in the Gators visit list. The previous Notre Dame commitment still has a liking for the Fighting Irish but will look around before making a final decision. Recent reports have the 6-5, 228-pound recruit possibly wishing to play tight end at the collegiate level. The Gators would only bring him in as a defensive lineman.

Justin Mincey is another great fit to Strong's 3-3-5 defense. Mincey recently committed to Florida State after being very interested in the Gators throughout the recruiting process.'s number eight rated defensive end is explosive off of the ball and has great speed to size ratio. This is one player I can really see changing in the future.

The Gators have renewed their interest in Miami Norland defensive end Richard Gordon. The new staff would like nothing more than to get him in for a visit. Gordon is a true physical specimen at 6-4 and 240 pounds. He plays on both sides of the ball, also at tight end, but the Gators again will recruit him just as a defensive lineman.

Georgia's Kyle Moore changes his tune often. At one time he was going to visit the Gators, but now it appears the all-star defensive lineman won't be visiting Gainesville.

There will certainly be a list of defensive linemen that show up during the next month on recruiting lists for the Gators. These are but a few good ones that would look good wearing the orange helmets of the Florida Gators.

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