For the purposes of this series we broke down the positions as follows:
Week 1 --- Specialists, DT, DE, OLB, ILB
Week 2 --- CB, S, C, G, OT
Week 3 --- TE, FB, WR, RB, QB
Choosing the best defensive ends was not nearly as challenging as it was picking among the ends. Part of that is the fact that the productivity of defensive ends is easier to quantify. But most of it was because the Gators have a larger gap between the best of their defensive ends and others.
Varying defensive schemes come into play as well, because many consider Trace Armstrong, Rhondy Weston and Trace Armstrong among others as defensive ends while I counted them among the tackles. Guys like Huey Richardson and Jevon Kearse also come into play because they've been listed in each are, but I'm counting them among the outside linebackers.
We fully expect there to be some debate/disagreement about these selections and/or the order they are listed in. That's what makes things like this fun and interesting. We encourage your disagreement and input and look forward to making this one of the highlights of what is normally a pretty lousy month (July) for college football fans.
#5 Derrick Harvey ----- He was an All-Everything recruit out of Maryland but Harvey didn't make an immediate impact. Still his impact was well worth waiting for. Harvey really came on strong in 2006 with 11 QB sacks and had a simply spectacular performance in the BCS Title Game win over Ohio State. He returned for his junior season and got a lot more attention from opposing defenses and still registered another 8.5 sacks giving him 20.5 for his career. That's the third highest total among full-time defensive ends in school history.
#4 Lynn Matthews ----- Before Steve Spurrier came long the 1960s under Ray Graves was the best decade in school history. The best defensive player of those years was All-American defensive end Lynn Matthews who was known as a big play guy for the Gator defense and helped Florida earn a berth in the Sugar Bowl.
#3 Kevin Carter ----- The Gators knew there was something special about this oversized linebacker from Tallahassee when he was more interested in the Pharmacy school than he was the weight room during his recruiting visit. Oh, "K-C" was plenty interested in football as well and was a key contributor to three SEC Championships from 1991-94. He is also part of the only official three-man sack in school history in 1994 and thus ended the year with 11.8 sacks for the season.
#2 Alex Brown ----- Florida's all-time sack leader was credited with 31 of them in his career. Not bad for a tall, skinny linebacker from Hamilton County. Brown set the single season sacks record with 13 as a sophomore in 1999 becoming Florida's first defensive All-American that young in his career. His performance against Tennessee that year was easily the difference between winning and losing.
#1 Jack Youngblood ----- They didn't keep track of sacks in 1970 so you won't find Youngblood on that list of school leaders. You'll also never find anyone who saw him play in 1970 that doesn't consider him the best defensive end Florida has ever had. The most tangible measure I can offer you is this; Youngblood played just one season in the decade and yet was still named to the SEC All-70s team. That's how great a player he was.
HM: Fergie Ferguson, Jarvis Moss, Tim Golden
You can discuss this with me since this will be one of my topics on the radio today from 4:00 to 6:00 on AM850, WRUF. You can listen online at am850.com. You can call in AT 352/392-855 OR 877/392-8255 (toll free).
Tomorrow we look at some of the best outside linebackers in UF history.
The Best Gator Defensive Ends
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