Here is a brief synopsis of what I saw this spring from the Gator linebackers.
Lerentee McCray (sophomore) is the youngest of the group and has all the tools to be a very good one. He is currently around 230 pounds and has a big time motor and a nasty pursuit to the ball. In all honesty, he went a little silent this spring and his number did not seem to come up very much. I would say of all the linebackers he was the quietest, but again he is the youngest at the SAM position.
Lorenzo Edwards (junior) also probably had his quietest spring. My guess is that the strong side backer is the one that is usually not called on to make as many plays in the box, because in past springs, Edwards seemed to be everywhere. One thing about Edwards is that this is his third LB position in the three springs he has been on campus. Some may take that as a negative, but to me it is an asset to have someone like him and Ryan Stamper that can play all three spots if someone gets injured. dwards got a lot of time with the first unit when A.J. Jones was hurt and I still believe he is one of the top 2-3 linebackers on the roster.
A.J. Jones (junior) missed parts of the spring, but when he was there he made several plays in pass coverage and rushing the passer. Jones has great wheels and is a big time talent covering backs out of the backfield and the tight end at times.
Brandon Hicks (junior) missed the entire spring recovering from shoulder surgery.
Brendan Beal (freshman) came on late as he missed over 2/3 of the spring still recovering from his ACL tear last season. When he did show up he lit up the practice field with bone jarring hits, an interception and just great all around play. He tore up the Orange and Blue game with 13 tackles and an INT as well. He is still in some pain, but that should lessen over the spring and summer to where he will be a lot closer to 100 percent in the fall. This guy impressed me a great deal from what I was actually expecting.
Jon Bostic (true freshman) was maybe the star of the spring, and definitely the star on defense this spring. Bostic never had a bad day and was thrown in with the second unit all spring. He is a nasty hitter and has a nose for the ball as good as anyone on the squad. Bostic can sift through traffic and get to the ball carrier even though he didn't play the position in high school. The Gators are in good hands when Brandon Spikes moves on after this season.
Brandon Spikes (senior) more than anything showed his leadership on the field. He especially stepped up to the plate when he was off of the field and the young guys (at any position) were out there learning the ropes. Spikes is the true leader of this defense and he just dominates the middle of the defense as he did again this spring.
John Jones (junior) gets my most improved award if I were to give one. This guy has bent absent from highlights for two previous years and he showed up big, especially in pass coverage this spring. Jones seems to have a knack of playing the right passing lanes and broke up several passes this spring to make his mark.
Dustin Doe (senior) started off very strong this spring and then was injured and missed some time. Still, it was quite apparent he wants his starting spot back from Ryan Stamper. Doe came out early this spring and seemed to be everywhere the ball was before the injury. He is one that will be exciting to watch this fall as I think he will be even better than last season.
Ryan Stamper (senior) was recently named the starter and did fight off Doe for the spot. As I mentioned, it will be a big time battle, but Stamper is maybe the smartest linebacker on the field and can play any of the three positions. I thought I saw a little more toughness out of him, which wasn't necessarily missing before, but quite apparent this spring. He is pushing to be another of the main team leaders. Again, he is looking to build on his already strong legacy at Florida.