Five Stars of Spring

Spring ball has come and gone for the 2008 Gator football team and you can count me as one person who is more impressed with this team than he was a month or so ago. Florida had a number of players step forward and show that they are ready for bigger roles and better things in the near and long term future.

To me there we five guys who stood out above the others. Not that they are the five best players on the team because they aren't. But these five guys are going to play much larger roles this fall and all have the potential to be big time players for Florida.

Carlos Dunlap ----- The coaches and everyone else who sees him openly talk about his freak-like physique. Dunlap will be Florida's top pass rusher and at his size will be a load for opposing defenses. That should allow Jermaine Cunningham (6.5 sacks) to be even more productive than he was last year. Dunlap is the guy who won't be on any pre-season All-SEC teams that is most likely to be on the post-season version.

Maurkice Pouncey ----- He played a ton as a freshman and now he has a chance to be the best center in these parts since a completely healthy Jeff Mitchell more than a decade ago. Pouncey has all the physical attributes you could ask for with is size, strength and athleticism. Add in smarts and a feisty attitude that had him in the middle of every spring practice scuffle and you have the potential for something special.

Deonte Thompson ----- He didn't have much of a spring game, but don't let that fool you. Thompson is the next great wode receiver at Florida, count on it. He has tremendous speed, great acceleration and looks like a very competitive kid. He may drop a couple from time to time, but the redshirt freshman from Belle Glade has the ability to get people comparing him to the best Florida's had over the years.

Wondy Pierre-Louis ----- For two years I've marveled at his athleticism, but he never played as fast as he could run. That was understandable considering how late he came to the game of football. This spring Wondy started playing at a much faster speed and I think he was the Gators' best corner this spring. Florida's secondary should be much better this year, and the improvement and development of Wondy Pierre Louis will be a big part of the reason why.

Chris Rainey ----- You can put me in the category of non-believers where the speedster from Lakeland was concerned. After all Rainey was average size --- for an eighth grader --- when he joined the Gators. I'm not sure they can ever get him over 175 and I'm not convinced they should. Rainey has a gear few athletes have and he knows how to spin away from hits to add yardage and lessen the impact. He needs to spend the summer working on his pass-catching because I think the Gators can make great use of him out of the backfield to create ridiculous match up issues.

Coming up, the five guys for whom the off-season is hugely important.

Questions or comments? Contact's Larry Vettel

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