FNL Preview: Defensive Tackles

You do not put up the kind of numbers that the Florida defense did in 2006 without being strong up the middle. The Gator defensive line ended the season as one of the best in the land.

Taking care of most of the dirty work was Joe Cohen, Steven Harris and Ray McDonald. The Gators took a huge step in rebuilding the defensive line with the recruiting class of 2007 when two of the top defensive tackles gave their signature to the Gators, John Brown and Torrey Davis.

I will focus on six defensive tackles that are planning to attend Friday Night Lights. In no particular order, they are Brandon Thompson, Marty Everett, Moses McCray, Stacey McGee, Masengo Kabongo and Marcus Forston.

Masengo Kabongo is a fantastic storyline for the class of 2008. He moved to the United States from the Congo five years ago and did not start playing organized football until his ninth grade year. Kabongo, is 6-3 and 280-pounds and is from Fairfield (Conn.) Fairfield College Preparatory. He has offers from Maryland, Connecticut, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Syracuse. Kabongo lists a top three of Maryland, Florida and Notre Dame. Last season he made 87 tackles with an amazing 27 for loss to go a long with his 10 sacks. I would expect to see Kabongo walk away from Friday Night Lights with a Florida offer.

Moses McCray is from Tampa Hillsborough Senior High School and stands 6-4 and 275-pounds and runs in the 4.8 range. McCray is currently committed to Florida State but plans to attend Friday Night Lights. During his junior season he played the strong side defensive end position the majority of the time, but at 275, he will make the move to the inside at the college level. McCray totaled 15 sacks his junior season. He was looking at Florida, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, South Carolina and South Florida before he decided on Florida State.

One of the top defensive tackles from the North Florida is Marty Everett. Everett, 6-4 and 290-pounds possesses a tremendous combination of size and quickness. Everett is from Bushnell (Fla.) South Sumter High School and is looking at Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Tennessee and West Virginia at this time. He has that rare ability to take on the double team at the point of attack and still manage to make the play three yards behind the line of scrimmage.

Four-star defensive tackle Stacey McGee is from Muskogee (Ok.) and is 6-4 and 270-pounds. He has great lateral range, speed and athleticism for a player of his size. McGee rather reminds me of Ray McDonald a little bit in the way he plays. Tremendous over a series or two then seems to take some plays off. McGee is looking at Arkansas, Kansas State, LSU, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech.

Another four-star defensive tackle and one of the top players from the Peach State is Brandon Thompson. Thompson is from Thomasville (Ga.) and is 6-2 and 294-pounds and runs in the 4.8 range. He does an exceptional job of getting off the line and finding the ball carrier. Thompson favors Clemson over Florida State, Georgia Tech, Miami, Alabama, Florida and Georgia. He ended his junior season with 50 tackles and five sacks.

Marcus Forston is the No. 19-ranked player in the country and the No. 2-ranked defensive tackle. Forston, from Miami Northwestern High School is 6-3 and 305-pounds and runs in the 4.8 range. He has the ability to play every defensive line position and usually does. Based on potential he has about as bright of a future as any other defensive linemen in the country. On a very talented Northwestern team (defending 6-A Champions) Forston totaled 92 tackles as well as 20 sacks. Big, strong and quick is the best way to describe his style of play. He has offers from Auburn, Clemson, Miami, Minnesota, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Florida and Southern Cal. Many feel he is a lock for Miami.

Keep your eye on Masengo Kabongo this weekend.

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