The Gators were hoping for five/six defensive linemen in this year's class. Defensive end Taven Bryan, defensive end/linebacker Justus Reed and defensive tackle Khairi Clark have all publicly committed to the Florida Gators.
The Gators check in with a C+ due to lack of numbers at this time, however I really like what all three players bring to the table starting with Clark who is the No. 2 ranked defensive tackle. The 6-ffot-2, 320-pounder is from Hollywood (Fla.) Chaminade Madonna Prep. Clark is very strong at the point of attack and will only get stronger in the future. He is very quick off the ball and as is the case with most young players will need to work on leverage moving forward.
Justus is Served in Gainesville:
At 6-foot-4, 235-pounds there isn't much wrong with Justus Reed. He has great athleticism, explosion and moves very well sideline to sideline. He is able to bull rush high school offensive linemen but will need to continue to work in the weight room as he prepares for the next level. Reed can play in traffic or space.
Taven Bryan uses his hands extremely well for a guy who is 6-foot-5, 255-pounds. He has great quickness off the ball. He has a high football IQ and has enough speed to chase down plays from behind. His initial punch with his hands puts offensive linemen on their heels. Bryan's motor never stops and for a guy his size has great closing speed. Bryan is also his team's best offensive linemen and has great push off the ball. He blocks multiple players on just about every play and looks to punish defenders.
The Gators are looking for another big time defensive end player in the class of 2014 and have plenty on the radar starting with five star Lorenzo Carter. Carter is the No. 1 defensive end player. A five star player at 6-foot-5, 230-pounds from Norcross (GA) Look for Carter to pick between Alabama, Florida and Georgia. The Gators have felt very strong with this one for a long time but has the season impacted his decision?
The No. 2 ranked defensive end prospect in America just returned from his official visit to the University of Florida, Da'Shawn Hand. The five star 6-foot-5, 260-pound monster has long been a Michigan lean with Alabama make a serious push late. Some close to the program feel the visit to Florida really opened his eyes. Others, closer to the situation say there is absolutely zero chance Hand picks the Gators later today.
The No. 4 ranked defensive end prospect in America also just returned from his official visit to the University of Florida, Gerald Willis. The five star 6-foot-4, 270-pound standout checks in from New Orleans (LA) Edna Karr high school. Willis has made more than one trip to Florida and tight end coach Derek Lewis has done an outstanding job breaking ground in Louisiana trying to make the Gators relevant but will it be enough to pry Willis away from LSU or Texas A&M at the end of the day? I can tell you before the official visit I was being told it was one team and one team only, Florida. People close to the situation say he stays close to home. This one could go down to the wire and if they were to somehow pull this off it would be a huge storyline for this class. I am sticking with the Gators for now.
The No. 23rd ranked defensive end prospect checks in from Greensboro (NC) Page high school. Lorenzo Featherston is a 6-foot-7, 225-pound speed rushing defensive end. The four star player has extremely good speed and attacks the quarterback. While he lacks the strength to play early he has a great motor and is dedicated to getting stronger moving forward. Featherston stays away from the media every chance he gets but is down to six schools with Clemson, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Florida, Georgia and Florida State. Hard not to imagine this one staying close to him at the end of the day or closer to home than Gainesville.
Moving inside to the defensive tackle position the amount of players diminishes rapidly as seven of the top nine players in America have made public decisions at this time. There are still a few really good looking players and one of them is Thomas Holley. Holley is a 6-foot-4, 295-pound tackle from Brooklyn (NY) Abraham Lincoln high school. The four star standout will make his official visit to Florida soon and we will have a better gauge on the situation. The Gators have ground to make up from what I understand.
This is another position where you will see some names start to pop up moving forward. Today, I believe there is a greater chance of Florida landing a JuCo defensive tackle prospect over one from the high school ranks. The Gators wanted two going into this class and I think that is a smart move but the news regarding Caleb Brantley, Antonio Riles, Joey Ivie and Jaynard Bostwick has been very positive. If you were going to get away with only brining in one defensive tackle it's the class following the one that landed four.
Up next is the linebackers and defensive backs.