- Mike DiRocco, ESPN Staff Writer
Editor’s note: Every Tuesday and Thursday through Jan. 31, GatorNation will break down each position. We’ll look at 2013, of course, but also try and give you a peek beyond next season, too. Today is offensive tackle. We will profile center/guard on Jan. 10.
Two-deep: With the graduation of Xavier Nixon, sophomore D.J. Humphries will step into the starting spot at left tackle. He’ll be pushed by junior college behemoth Trenton Brown (6-foot-8, 350 pounds), who is scheduled to enroll early. Chaz Green likely will hold on to his starting job at right tackle, but he’ll have to hold off Nebraska transfer Tyler Moore, who sat out the 2012 season and also is scheduled to enroll early.
Next up: Redshirt senior Kyle Koehne can play every spot on the line and could fill in if needed. Maryland transfer Max Garcia is the projected starter at left guard in 2013 but he played tackle at Maryland and could work there at UF, too.
High-profile commits: Roderick Johnson (Delray Beach, Fla./American Heritage-Boca-Delray) is ranked the No. 17 offensive tackle by ESPN. The 6-6, 316-pounder is strong, tough, and has a nasty attitude on the field. He’s the only tackle currently committed to the Gators.
Additional targets: It’s a long shot, but the Gators are still pursing Laremy Tunsil (Lake City, Fla./Columbia). He’s the nation’s top-ranked offensive tackle, and the 6-6, 295-pounder has Alabama and Georgia as his top two schools.
Looking into 2013: The tackle spot wasn’t exactly a strength in 2012, especially on the left side. Humphries appears headed for an All-SEC career as the new starting left tackle but there’s less certainty on the right side. Moore started four games as a freshman at Nebraska in 2011 and was the first freshman offensive lineman to start a season opener in school history. He’ll push Green, who is a solid but not spectacular player. Brown is going to get on the field in UF’s jumbo package. In fact, regardless of which players start at tackles, the other two will work as the extra linemen in that package.