Week Two, Day Five: Gators Best Tackles

We wrap up the second week of breaking down the top Gators at every position on the football field with a look at offensive tackles. At first I was somewhat surprised that this list was as difficult to settle on as it was and that the level of top tackles was not quite as high as some other positions.

But as I went through it more and more guys stood out to the point that one of the three Gators to win the Jacobs Blocking Award as the top lineman in the SEC ended up in sixth place, first on the Honorable Mention list.

First let's go through the top Gator at each position thus far:

Specialists: Brandon James
D Tackle: David Galloway
D End: Jack Youngblood
Outside LB: Wilber Marshall
Inside LB: Scott Brantley
Corner: Lito Sheppard
Safety: Reggie Nelson
Center: Jeff Mitchell
Guard: Burton Lawless

Now, here's the schedule for next week:

Monday: Tight Ends
Tuesday: Fullbacks
Wednesday: Tailbacks
Thursday: Wide Receivers
Friday: Quarterbacks

There are obviously some very fine players on this list of the best Offensive Tackles at UF, great ones in fact. The list is topped by my personal choice as the best offensive lineman in school history.

#5 Mike Pearson ----- I saw him play in high school and immediately thought that the Gators better get this guy. He was a big reason the 2001 offense will go down as one of the best UF ever had. Pearson was not a super physical mauler, but he had great hands and great feet and was an All-American in his final season.

#4 Crawford Ker ----- He didn't get a lot of accolades, but his physicality helped make the "Great Wall" of '84 what it was. I'll never forget his personality throughout the NCAA investigation into the Gator program that fall. While most players shied away from the media, Crawford would walk into the room and announce, "hey, Big Daddy's here, let's talk."

#3 David Williams ----- While that group was doing it's thing, Williams was biding his time during his redshirt season. He stepped into the starting lineup and really had to carry the Gator line through the late-80s as probation cut into Florida's talent base. I've often wondered what kind of stats Emmitt Smith would have had if he had five guys of David's caliber blocking for him in his first two seasons instead of just one.

#2 Jason Odom ----- He was highly regarded as a high school star out of Bartow, but not nearly as hyped as another Gator signee Reggie Green. Green cracked the lineup first, but it was Odom moving in after the debacle at Mississippi State that stabilized the '92 unit and helped salvage that season after a 1-2 start. Odom went on to four excellent seasons and is the only Gator to win the Jacobs Blocking Trophy twice.

#1 Lomas Brown ----- I could pretend that this was a tough choice but it wasn't. Lomas is simply the best I've ever seen at Florida and for my money the best offensive tackle I ever saw in the SEC. I don't remember his man ever sacking the Quarterback and Lomas had to protect a bunch of different ones. Pat Dye told me in 1985 that Lomas Brown was the best offensive lineman he has ever coached against. I don't think he "qualifies" for the UF "Ring of Honor", which tells me they need to re-write the criteria.

HM: Kenyatta Walker, Mo Collins, Mike Williams and Reggie Green

We'll conclude our series next week with the so-called skill position players.

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