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Insider

Where UF recruiting stands on defense

1/25/2012
David De Pas

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida's recruiting board is taking its final shape, as detailed in Tuesday's look at the offense. Here is a position-by-position look at where the Gators currently stand on defense:

SAFETY

Commits: Marcus Maye and Rhaheim Ledbetter

Prospects: none

Outlook: Maye showed his athleticism in the Under Armour All-America game when he totaled seven tackles, blocked a punt and recovered a fumble, all while playing out of position. At 6-foot-1, 200 pounds, Maye should see the field early in Gainesville. Ledbetter gets overshadowed by his more highly touted teammate, Jonathan Bullard, but Ledbetter is a solid pickup for the Gators. He hits like a truck and plays in the mold of Ahmad Black.

CORNERBACK

Commits: Willie Bailey and Brian Poole

Prospects: Tracy Howard

Outlook: Bailey has already enrolled and will participate in spring practices. Poole was a standout during the Under Armour All-America practices and backed it up with a 93-yard interception return for a touchdown in the game. Poole thought about taking other visits, but he has reaffirmed his pledge to the Gators. Howard is one of the top prospects left on Florida's recruiting board. He is down to Florida State, Florida and Miami and will visit the Canes this weekend. Florida looks to be in good position to land the talented corner from Miramar (Fla.).

LINEBACKER

Commits: Jeremi Powell and Antonio Morrison

Prospects: Schyler Miles

Outlook: Morrison has already enrolled and looks to the big physical middle linebacker Florida has not been able to land over the last two years. With Morrison going through spring practices, he is likely to see the field early in his career. Powell will need to add weight before he makes a major contribution at linebacker, but with his speed and playmaking ability, look for him to make an early splash on special teams. Miles visited Kansas this past week and will make his final decision between Florida, Kansas and West Virginia on signing day.

BUCK

Commits: Bryan Cox Jr. and Alex McCalister

Prospects: Josh Harvey-Clemons and Dante Fowler Jr.

Outlook: Florida's buck position is a hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker positions that is occupied by junior-to-be Ronald Powell. Cox and McCalister are Florida's most recent additions to the 2012 recruiting class. Cox battled injuries his senior year, but he is a physical player that comes from St. Thomas Aquinas in Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.). St. Thomas is a great program that is known for producing players who are ready to contribute early in their careers. McCalister has a ton of upside, but will likely need a year in the strength program to add weight to his thin frame. Harvey-Clemons has narrowed his choices to Florida State, Florida and Georgia. He visited Tallahassee this past weekend, and the visit propelled the Noles into his top three schools. He will decide on signing day, but most feel this will come down to Georgia and Florida. Fowler officially visited Florida this past weekend and all indications are that the visit was a success for the Gators. Though Fowler still remains publicly committed to Florida State, don't be surprised to see him flip to the Gators on signing day.

DEFENSIVE END

Committed: Quinteze Williams and Jonathan Bullard

Prospects: Leonard Williams and Darius Hamilton

Outlook: Quinteze Williams was suppose to enroll early, but some of his credits were not accepted by the NCAA Clearinghouse, so he will now enroll in the summer with the rest of Florida's 2012 class. At 295 pounds, Williams is a likely candidate to move inside to defensive tackle at some point. Bullard is the physical defensive end that head coach Will Muschamp has desperately wanted. Bullard should contribute early and often. Leonard Williams took his official visit to Florida Monday through today. Williams will choose between Florida, Auburn and Florida State on signing day. Hamilton officially visited Rutgers this past weekend and now has a final two of Florida and Rutgers. He is visiting Miami this upcoming week, but the Canes are not a likely destination. Hamilton is still trying to get his mother to travel to Gaineville to tour Florida's campus before he makes his decision on Jan. 31.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE

Commits: Dante Phillips, Jafar Mann and Damien Jacobs

Prospects: Vincent Valentine

Outlook: Juco transfer Damien Jacobs has already enrolled and will be expected to provide valuable depth to a thin but talented position. Mann and Phillips are raw, but both players are talented. Muschamp made it a priority to get bigger up front and these three players do just that. Florida has made a strong run at Valentine. The Gators are in his top three with Nebraska and Illinois. He will make his final decision on signing day. Most feel Nebraska is the team to beat.

ESPN.com recruiting reporter Derek Tyson can be reached by email at DerekTysonESPN@gmail.com or you can follow him on Twitter at DerekTysonESPN.