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Thursday, December 20, 2012
GatorNation position breakdown: DT

By Michael DiRocco

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 defensive tackle. We will profile outside linebacker on Tuesday.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE

Two-deep: Redshirt senior Omar Hunter (39 tackles) is the starter at nose tackle and junior Sharrif Floyd (41 tackles, six QB hurries) is the starter at defensive tackle. Redshirt sophomore Leon Orr (13 tackles) backs up Hunter, while junior Damien Jacobs (nine tackles) backs up Floyd. In addition to losing Hunter to graduation, the Gators likely won’t have Floyd next season. He’s considering leaving early for the NFL.

Sharrif Floyd, Dominique Easley
Juniors Sharrif Floyd (left) Dominique Easley could be a dominating tandem at defensive tackle for the Gators next season, but one or both could jump early to the NFL.
Next up: The Gators don’t have much depth here right now. DE Dominique Easley (21 tackles, 4.0 sacks) played inside through his first two seasons and fills in. Senior Nick Alajajian missed the entire season with a knee injury.

High-profile commits: Darious Cummings signed with Florida on Wednesday out of East Mississippi Community College. The 6-foot-3, 292-pound Cummings was ranked 31st in ESPN’s inaugural Junior College 100. UF also has commitments from Caleb Brantley (Crescent City, Fla./Crescent City) and Joey Ivie (Dade City, Fla./Pasco). The 6-3, 304-pound Brantley ranks 38th in ESPN’s 150 and is the No. 5 defensive tackle. Ivie (6-4, 271) could play outside as well.

Additional targets: Like pretty much every other school in the country, the Gators are pursing Montravius Adams (Vienna, Ga./Dooly County), who is ranked seventh in the ESPN 150. The 6-3, 281-pound athlete is the top-ranked defensive tackle. Jay-nard Bostwick (Port St. Lucie, Fla./West Centennial) is also a target and is the likely fallback if the Gators don’t get Adams.

Looking into 2013: If Floyd and Easley leave for the NFL as expected, the Gators are going to be thin on experienced players at tackle. Jacobs and Orr will be the likely starters, at least early in the season. Cummings, who played two seasons at Florida State before leaving for EMCC, will certainly play a lot and will have a chance to win a starting job. After that, though, it’s freshmen Brantley, Ivie and (UF hopes) Adams, provided they do sign. UF also could move sophomore ends Jonathan Bullard and Dante Fowler and redshirt freshman end Quinteze Williams inside if needed. UF has much better depth at end than at tackle.