The Opening: Florida Defense Review

There were over a dozen defensive prospects from the Sunshine State at the Opening last week and Miami Booker T. Washington defensive end Chad Thomas stole the show. Here's a look at all the Florida prospects on that side of the ball.

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(DE) Chad Thomas (Miami Booker T. Washington)
6-5/240
4.85 [forty]
4.37 [shuttle]
30.9 [VJ]
I knew Thomas was good but not that good. I had an opportunity to see him a few times last season. What I took away from those evals is that this was your typical Florida edge guy – a defensive end with speed and athleticism. He showed that at The Opening. But he also showed power, strength and a tremendous bull-rush. In one vs ones against 327-pound Trevor Darling (Miami Central) he drove this Hurricane commitment right into the tackle dummy in impressive fashion. Thomas clearly had the best three-day performance of all the defensive ends in attendance and took home MVP honors. This is shaping up to be a battle between Miami and FSU. If he goes out of state keep an eye on LSU. Remember that he's friend and former teammate, Matthew Thomas, signed with FSU while his current quarterback, Treon Harris, just committed to the Seminoles.

(DT) Anthony Moten (Ft. Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas)
6-4/292 5.17 [forty]
4.72 [shuttle]
26.9 [VJ]
Committed to Florida
Moten had a good showing. He has packed on some weight and muscle and was one of the better interior defensive line prospects at the Opening. He gets off the ball pretty well and plays low. While Moten got beat he also won more than he lost. I like his motor and he's getting better with his hands. This Gator commitment was solid at the Opening.

(DT) Khairi Clark (Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna)
6-1.5/329
5.46 [forty]
5 [shuttle]
23 [VJ]
Committed to Florida
There's no question that Clark has tremendous ability and God given talent. What will he do with it? Right now he's too heavy and is carrying too much weight up top. It's sloppy. What's impressive is that despite his size Clark shows flashes. He has great leverage and is very strong, especially his lower body. Clark is surprisingly nimble, agile and will surprise you with some athleticism. He has some downright brute strength to his game. But he should be more dominant. If he gets into playing shape and transforms his body he can be as good as he wants to be.

(LB) Dillon Bates (Ponte Vedra)
6-3/ 211
4.51 [forty]
4.09 [shuttle]
39.8 [VJ]
Committed to Tennessee
Bates tested as well as anyone of the linebackers at the Opening. He ran well, showed quickness in the shuttle and almost vertical jumped 40-inches. That's impressive. While in Oregon he committed to Tennessee. The Vols are getting an athletic and instinctive outside linebacker prospect that should be 235-240-pounds before he leaves Knoxville. Bates will have an opportunity to be a very good one. He showed he can play in space and is very good in coverage.

(MLB) Kain Daub (Jacksonville Sandalwood)
6-3.5/236
Scratched his times, jump and power ball throw.
Committed to Florida State
Daub is a massive inside linebacker with his size. He's long and athletic and did some nice things out there playing against his peers. Daub still looks like he's finding his way playing in coverage. Being comfortable with his drops and playing in space will come. He specializes in playing downhill between the tackles.

(CB) Duke Dawson (Cross City Dixie County)
5-11/197
4.65 [forty]
4.44 [shuttle]
35 [VJ]
Committed to Florida
Dawson looked stellar on both Tuesday and Wednesday. He's a physical cornerback who could also play safety. He's explosive, instinctive and always around the ball. He plays bigger than his 5-11 body. Dawson capped a big spring with an outstanding performance in Oregon at the Opening. In fact, you could make a case that he was the big secondary surprise of this event.

(CB) Chris Lammons (Plantation)
5-9.5/171
4.72 [forty]
4.23 [shuttle]
30.6 [VJ]
It was hard to get the right read on Lammons because he came out west with a bum ankle. He was not 100% and it showed. To his credit he battled through it and was solid. But Lammons didn't have the same performance as earlier in the spring when he was outstanding at the Miami NFTC. He has a top five schools of Florida, Miami, Alabama, South Carolina and Tennessee.

(CB) Kyle Gibson (Seffner Armwood)
5-11.5/169
4.65 [forty]
4.27 [shuttle]
33.9 [VJ]
Gibson was average in the testing and only came in at 169-pounds. I don't think he didn't do anything to hurt his stock or to make his stock go higher. This is a solid player that plays bigger than his frame. I also believe that his versatility is huge because he can play anywhere in the secondary. Gibson is better in zone than man. Right now watch for Louisville and Vanderbilt with South Florida, Notre Dame and Miami.

Quincy Wilson (Ft. Lauderdale University School)
6-1/196
4.6 [forty]
4.16 [shuttle]
32.4 [VJ]
Wilson insists that he will be a cornerback at the next level but I have always believed he's a safety. But I will be the first to admit that Wilson did some nice things on the outside, showing good man to man skills. He also made a few big time interceptions. I thought he was very good on Tuesday. I do know this about Wilson, like Gibson I think he can bring a secondary a lot of versatility because I think he will end up playing everywhere in the defensive backfield in college. Speaking of which, this south Florida standout is open. USC, UCLA, Florida, Ohio State, LSU, Alabama and others are all in the mix.

Trey Marshall (Lake City Columbia)
5-11/196
4.53 [forty]
4.09 [shuttle]
35.9 [VJ]
Committed to Florida State
Marshall put on a show during testing on Monday, earning top ten honors for SPARQ. On Wednesday he committed to FSU. The ‘Noles are getting a good athlete on the backend that showed range and ball skills in this event. He did a nice job overall.

(S) Derwin James (Auburndale)
6-2/197
4.52 [forty]
4.32 [shuttle]
34.9 [VJ]
Committed to Florida State
This could be Karlos Williams all over again. James has that physical makeup. I thought he was outstanding on Tuesday and Wednesday and he tested well on Monday. James made some unreal plays from his safety position. On one interception he basically picked the ball right before it hit the grass and then showed his athleticism with an outstanding return. This kid has ‘it'. Look for him to challenge for five-star honors for the 2015 class. He showed he deserved to be there at the Opening.

CLICK HERE FOR The Opening: Prospects From Florida – Offense


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