Unheralded prospects who've shined at UF

July, 11, 2013
7/11/13
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- This week, GatorNation writer Mike DiRocco, SEC blogger Edward Aschoff and former Florida and NFL offensive tackle Mike Pearson drafted their all-time Florida Gators football team. There were several players chosen in the draft who were unheralded players coming out of high school. Here's a closer look at a few of those players, who weren't five-star prospects, but went on to have stellar careers at Florida.

G/C Maurkice Pouncey (Lakeland, Fla./Lakeland)

Coming out of high school, Maurkice went by his first name, LaShawn. Though he and his identical twin brother, Mike, helped lead Lakeland to a state championship, Maurkice was not very highly ranked as a high school senior. Maurkice was the ninth-rated guard in the 2007 class and was not ranked as one of the top 50 players in the state that year. He went on to have a stellar career at center for Florida and was drafted with the 18th overall pick in the 2010 NFL draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

He might not have been highly ranked, but one ESPN scout saw his potential.

"LaShawn has ability and upside," the scout said. "At times he looks like a good prospect with ability and at other times he looks outstanding."

Pouncey has made the Pro Bowl in each of his first three seasons.

G/C Mike Pouncey (Lakeland, Fla./Lakeland)

Pouncey Twins
AP Photo/Lynne SladkyMike and Maurkice Pouncey were not highly-ranked prospects, but both became standouts at Florida and first-round NFL draft picks.
Mike was even more unheralded than his brother as a recruit. He was the 18th-ranked guard and was not listed among the state's top 100 players. Mike Pouncey was moved to the defensive line his freshman season to help with depth issues. He was moved back to the offensive line, to play guard, his sophomore year.

Mike had the option to turn pro after a solid junior season, but he chose to return for his senior season and moved to center. He became the 15th overall selection by Miami in the 2011 NFL draft and started every game as an NFL rookie.

S Louis Oliver (Bell Glades, Fla./Glades Central)

Oliver was about as unheralded as it gets. The 6-foot-2, 224-pound safety was relatively unknown in the recruiting world and had to walk-on at Florida in 1985.

Oliver not only earned a scholarship, but also became a team captain and an All-American in 1987 and 1988. He went on to get drafted with the 25th overall selection in the first round of the 1989 draft by the Miami Dolphins.

In his eight-year NFL career, Oliver totaled 544 tackles and 27 interceptions. He was inducted in the University of Florida's Athletic Hall of Fame in 2000.

Ahmad Black (Lakeland, Fla./Lakeland)

Black was one of seven Lakeland High School players that signed with Florida in 2007 and was a teammate of the Pouncey brothers. Though he recorded 84 tackles and four interceptions as a senior, Black was still ranked as the 49th-best safety in the country. As a sophomore, Black help lead Florida to a national championship and totaled 59 tackles and seven interceptions that season. Following his senior season, Black was named as a second-team All-American by the Associated Press.

At only 5-9 and 185 pounds, the lack of ideal size has always been the knock on Black. An ESPN scout said that Black lacked size, but had the mentality to be a good player on the college level.

"Black is an aggressive safety who plays much bigger than his size indicates," the scout said. "He is built like a corner but has the mentality of a strong safety. He is very active in coverage, keys quarterback's eyes very well and gets a good jump on the ball."

Black was drafted in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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