Florida signed four defensive backs this
season, Reynaldo Hill, Reggie Nelson, Jermaine Thomas and Dee Webb.
They have one thing in common, great speed and three of the four could
impact Florida this fall.
Hill (6-1, 185, 4.35) is
from Dodge City Community College in Kansas and originally from Ft. Lauderdale,
Florida. Hill has two terrific traits – size and blazing speed.
Hill is a physical corner that supports the run well. He should make a sudden impact for the Gators in their
secondary. His biggest adjustment
will be the jump from JUCO ball to major SEC ball and the speed of the game.
He comes in in the fall and will have to adjust quickly.
Hill is also a very good kick returner.
one of the top Junior College defensive backs in the nation.
This past season, recorded 57 tackles, 3 interceptions and 22 pass
Nelson (6-0, 180 pounds,
4.4) is from Melbourne (Fla.) Palm Bay High School.
Pound for pound was the best high school football player in the Sunshine
State as a senior. Nelson just has
the uncanny ability to always make the big play and always be around the
football. He plays linebacker,
safety, and wide receiver. Nelson
is also dangerous returning kicks and blocking kicks.
Offensively, he is a dangerous big receiver with good speed and hands.
Nelson is aggressive in the air and not afraid to go over the middle.
He is more of a North-South guy rather than an elusive player with the
ball in his hands. Defensively, he
plays 100 miles per hour. Sometimes,
in fact, he is a little too aggressive and over runs plays.
But he shows excellent closing speed and he is not afraid to hit you.
Nelson pursues the ball exceptionally well and fights off blocks to stuff
a senior recorded 169 tackles, 53
assists and 10 sacks on defense and caught 18 passes for 354 yards on offense.
Nelson registered 150 tackles as a junior.
(6-1, 190, 4.5) is from Citra (Fla.) North Marion High School.
He signed with Florida late on Signing Day and is a player with excellent
size and good speed. Thomas is
versatile in that he could play cornerback or safety at the next level.
He is a physical player that has good cover skills as well.
Also played running back and also starred in basketball and track.
had 45 tackles and four interceptions as a junior and rushed for 274 yards and
Webb (6-0, 185, 4.4) is from
Jacksonville (Fla.) Ed White High School. He
is an incredible talent that like Nelson, always makes the big play in the
secondary. He is amazing.
Webb has great speed and super instincts.
He supports the run well and is excellent in coverage.
He will likely play cornerback but is talented enough to play safety as
well. Played quarterback as a
senior as well as safety and running back and wide receiver as a junior and
sophomore. Webb could also be
another dangerous special teams player.
TheInsiders.com 2nd Team All-America. Webb scored on defense a school-record eight times (returned
five interceptions for TDs, blocked a field goal for a TD, intercepted two
option passes and returned for a TD and recovered a fumble for a TD) this past
season. He also played QB as a
senior, passing for 450 yards and four touchdowns, along with 645 rushing yards
and 15 TDs. As a junior, Webb had
10 interceptions (4 for TDs).
bottom line is that Florida just signed some big time playmakers in the
secondary. So let's face it, with
teams throwing so much these days, that's important.
Let's also assume they all qualify.
If that happens, look for Hill, Webb and Nelson to all see significant
playing time. These guys are just
too good to keep off the field. Hill
could start sooner rather than later once we get into two-a-days.
Nelson could make a big splash on special teams before he assumes his
role in the secondary. Webb, like
Nelson, could become a special teams standout from the get go. But he is so good he could step in and become the nickel guy
right away or work his way into the rotation, especially when you consider that
teams play four and sometimes five wide receivers. You can never have enough good corners.