Florida needed defensive line
prospects desperately and they potentially signed nine of them.
Joe Cohen will first get a look on offense as a running back and or
fullback. The Gators get some much
needed JUCO help with Eric Holcombe. The
rest are high school prospects led by Marcus Thomas and Jarvis Moss.
Florida did well at both the tackle and end positions.
Joe Cohen (6-2.5, 240, 4.5) of Melbourne
(Fla.) Palm Bay High School was widely considered one of the nation's elite
"athletes." At 238
pounds, Cohen ran a blistering 4.47 forty at the Nike Camp (he was named MVP) at
Miami last spring. He also vertical
jumped 32.7-inches. Very rarely can
you find a prospect this big that runs and moves that well. Cohen played running back, fullback, defensive end and
linebacker for the state champs. Cohen
is a strong (close to 400 pound bench press) and powerful runner and a pretty
good blocker. He runs a little high
and he could get away with that at the high school level. In college, he needs to run lower, more compact and he needs
to round out his blocking skills. Defensively,
he is quick off the edge and runs exceptionally well. Cohen can run with most backs at his great size.
He could put his hand down and be a defensive end or an outside
linebacker. In Charlie Strong's
defensive scheme, Cohen could be a perfect fit.
But he will get every opportunity to play on offense first.
MVP of the Miami Nike Camp
last spring... led team in rushing with 1,126 yards and 16 touchdowns as a
senior... also led team to the state championship as a senior.
Johnny Dingle (6-2, 220, 4.75) is from Miami
(Fla.) Booker T. Washington. An
edge guy that could play defensive end or outside linebacker at Florida.
He really fits their new defensive scheme with Charlie Strong.
Dingle has excellent quickness and is a super pass rusher.
Named Dade County Defensive
Player of the Year after recording 22 sacks as a senior.
Michael Hill (6-2.5, 290, 4.9) is from
Smith's (Ala.) Smith's Station High School.
He mainly played fullback, tight end, linebacker and on the defensive
line for his high school team. He
will like be a 3-technique defensive tackle.
Hill is an intelligent player that is thick, naturally strong and quick
for a big man.
Totaled 52 tackles and two
sacks in only seven games as a senior. Also
caught five passes for 87 yards.
Eric Holcombe (6-3.5, 281, 4.9) is from
Northeast Mississippi Junior College and he played his high school ball at
Mobile (Ala.) Davidson. Regarded as
one of the nation's top Junior College defensive prospects.
Holcombe is very strong and very quick.
At this stage he is a better run stopper.
108 tackles and 12 sacks as a
high school senior.
Clint McMillian (6-3, 270, 4.75) is from Oviedo,
Florida. This past season, he
mainly played middle linebacker and offensive guard. McMillian earned a scholarship after a super summer camp
performance in Gainesville last summer. Smart,
nasty, athletic and quick for a big player.
McMillian will start out on defensive playing DT but could also play
offensive guard before it is all said and done.
Also very physical and has great footwork.
A versatile athlete that has really worked hard to get where he is at.
35 tackles and 3 sacks as a
Tranell Morant (6-5, 270, 4.8) is from Miami
(Fla.) Braddock High School. He has
only played the game for a year and a half.
Morant is a big kid with very long arms. If he can't get to the quarterback, he certainly obstructs
the passing lane on his side. He is
fairly quick off the ball, moves well and has good quickness for a big man.
Morant is physical and aggressive. If
he gets a chance to hit you, he will give it everything he has.
Morant plays the run well. He
can make great strides in every area because he is so raw.
Once he learns some technique, how to use his hands, gets stronger and
gains more playing experience, he should turn into a very good defensive end.
His upside is very high.
Morant had 58 tackles, 25
tackles for loss and 19.5 sacks (nine games) as a senior season.
He recorded 12 sacks in just six games as a junior.
Jarvis Moss (6-6, 220, 4.5) is from Denton
(Texas) Ryan High School. He is one
of the most athletically gifted players in the nation. Moss had a sensational junior season and an injury riddled
senior year (bad groin injury) where he missed seven games. Moss is a tremendous pass rusher that is quick off the edge.
He has great size and the frame to add 30-40 pounds and still maintain
his super speed.
As a junior, recorded 122
tackles, 28 sacks and 52 tackles for a loss.
Pre-season TheInsiders.com First Team All-America.
Julian Riley (6-4, 260, 4.8) is from St.
Petersburg (Fla.) Lakewood High School. He
could play either defensive end or tackle at Florida.
Actually, he will likely start at defensive end and as he gets bigger
move to tackle. Riley has very good
speed, quickness and range for a big fella.
Riley plays with very good intensity and loves to get after the
Had 70 total tackles, 17
sacks and 28 tackles for loss as a senior.
(6-4, 295, 4.95) is from Jacksonville (Fla.) Madarin Hig School.
He was flat out a one man wrecking crew as a senior, plugging up the
middle and getting after the quarterback. Thomas
is very quick and strong and moves well laterally and is absolutely relentless.
Thomas can rush the passer and stop the run. He also played fullback.
101 tackles, 30 sacks and
22 tackles for a loss as a senior and 80 tackles and 15 sacks as a junior.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is Florida did exceptionally well in recruiting on both sides of the ball. But when you sign potentially nine defensive linemen, that's saying something. Holcombe should work his way immediately into the D-tackle rotation this spring and with a good spring he could emerge as a starter. Thomas, a true freshman from Jacksonville, should play this fall as well. At the end position, if Moss bulks up, he could definitely see significant playing time too. Actually, all the incoming linemen will get a shot at early playing time but the other strong candidate to possibly see time this season is Morant. Anyway you look at it, this could be the nucleus of an incredible defensive front in a season or two, especially if Cohen moves back to defense, where he could be a star at defensive end.