FALL CAMP: The Kids are Alright

We've waited six months to see the guys in the February signing class on the football field. After two and a half hours it would appear there is more than enough talent in the group of newcomers from the class of '07.

Florida Coach Urban Meyer put his youngsters through their paces in brutal heat in Gainesville Sunday afternoon to mark the start of fall practice for the defending national champions. I offer up the following initial impressions while desperately trying to re-hydrate.

Carlos Dunlap ----- The 6-6 defensive lineman is listed at 240-pounds and looks bigger. When they split up the six freshmen, Dunlap went with tackles John Brown and Torrey Davis while Jay Howard, Duke Lemmens and Justin Trattou stayed at end. However after practice defensive line coach Greg Mattison insisted Dunlap is staying at end. With Dunlap at end, it assures Florida will open camp with Lawrence Marsh at tackle.

Lorenzo Edwards ----- He's easily 6-2 and is packing over 235-pounds and any talk of him as a safety is long over. He is already the second biggest linebacker on the squad, and I officially dub him the newcomer most likely to see playing time quickly (except for punter Chas Henry). Edwards picked off two passes in the pass skel drill and his awareness in the passing game will be a major asset.

Torrey Davis ----- Certainly Davis will give Florida some of the bulk it's lacking at defensive tackle, but I gotta see full contact before determining how quickly that will happen. He wasn't in great shape when he arrived but has impressed some of the staff with his improvement over the last six weeks.

Deonte Thompson ----- Reminds me a little of Ike Hilliard with how smoothly he runs and his acceleration out of his cuts. He was a handful for anyone to cover during his first day. Florida is loaded at receiver, but it'll be a challenge keeping him off the field.

Brandon Hicks ----- Has pretty good size and seemed to know what to do --- once he got lined up. With Florida's linebacker situation, two of these guys will have to play and early returns give Hicks the next best shot after Edwards.

Chris Rainey ----- It's going to take him time to figure out the blocking stuff and hitching up in front of linebackers will never be his favorite thing … but get him the ball with a chance to get to the corner and look out. He has that burst you can't teach and most guys can't keep up with.

Jerimy Finch/Major Wright ----- The two safeties have similar physiques and seemingly similar games. Both look like they are full grown in the lower body which will help them get ready. But they'll be hard pressed to move up quickly at a pretty strong and deep position on the defense.

All in all a good first workout for the Gators' newcomers as they got their feet wet in college football. Tonight we'll see if anything stands out about the Gators returning veterans.


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