Five to Watch on Defense

Yesterday we looked at five guys whose play early in camp will be significant to the Gator offense. Frankly, it was a bit of a stretch to come up with five considering how loaded Florida's offense is and how well established the personnel is on that side of the ball.

Well things are quite a bit different on defense. As far as I'm concerned the only guys who have proven themselves as starters are Jermaine Cunningham, Brandon Spikes, Major Wright and Joe Haden. Certainly there are other players who have played, but they still have to convince me.

As a result it's tough to narrow it down to five guys, but a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do.

Torrey Davis ----- The least proven unit on this team is defensive tackle and Davis has the potential to turn that around in a hurry. He has struggled on and off the field, but needs to put all issues behind him and tap into that enormous collection of physical gifts he brings to the field.

Will Hill ----- They haven't quite handed him the starting job at free safety, but no rookie in recent memory has walked into a better opportunity to claim a job in the first two weeks of camp. Hill seems to have all the physical and mental attributes you'd love a safety to have, but he still has to prove it at this level, and he has to do it in a hurry. I suspect I will watch him more than another other player in the week ahead.

Lorenzo Edwards ----- I just love his potential and the possibility that he can really upgrade the physicality of the linebacking corps. He saw action in six games last season, but he needs to be a much more significant factor this fall. Florida was undersized at two of three linebacker positions last season and that was a significant factor in the inability to get much-needed stops against Auburn and LSU.

Lawrence Marsh ----- When you think back to how good he looked two springs ago you gotta wonder where it went. Marsh struggled last year and got frustrated trying to learn to play inside at tackle. Now he's back home at end and he gives Florida the kind of size (6-5/300) you love to see in an every down DE. If he's going to become a force for the Gators we'll know by the end of the month.

Janoris Jenkins ----- The freshman corner has it all, except for experience playing at this level. While Haden is set at one corner there's a ton of competition on the other side with Wondy Pierre-Louis and Markihe Anderson leading the way. Still you gotta think there's a chance for a newcomer to make an early impression.

Omar Hunter ----- I know, I'm cheating by adding a sixth guy, but I could leave this article without mentioning this guy. He has wowed just about everyone he's come across and reminds me of a young Warren Sapp. That's pretty good company to be in. Hunter will get a shot to establish himself at Florida's shaky DT spot, and I for one can't wait to see how he does it.

That's six guys who could make quite an impact this fall. If they do this could be another special seasons in The Swamp.

Questions or comments? Contact's Larry Vettel

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