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Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Gator Breakdown: Alex McCalister

By Michael DiRocco

During the summer, GatorNation will analyze each of the scholarship players on the Florida roster -- excluding the Gators’ 2013 recruiting class -- in our Gator Breakdown series. Starting with No. 1 Quinton Dunbar, we will go through the roster numerically, finishing with No. 97 Brad Phillips.

No. 95 Alex McCalister
Redshirt freshman buck

Expectations for 2013: The 6-foot-5, 238-pound McCalister has a lot of raw ability as a pass rusher but needs refining. The coaching staff is excited about his potential because of his athleticism, freakishly long arms and the fact that he has a frame that could easily support 30 more pounds.

Best-case scenario in 2013: McCalister is playing behind Ronald Powell and Dante Fowler, so there won’t be much opportunity for playing time except in blowouts or at the end of games. But expect to see McCalister on the field goal and PAT block teams because of his height and long arms. He blocked at least one kick during spring practice without even leaping.

Worst-case scenario in 2013: UF’s pass rush will be the best it has been since 2009 thanks to Powell, Fowler and Jonathan Bullard, along with help from Bryan Cox and Dominique Easley. McCalister is likely a year or two away from being a solid contributor on defense because he needs playing time to develop. It’s unlikely he’ll get much work beyond special teams.

Future impact: McCalister’s body type reminds people of former Gators standout Jevon Kearse, who had a similar build (6-4, 265 pounds). The hope is he can develop into a similar kind of pass rusher. Kearse was athletic enough to play in coverage, too, but right now the Gators want McCalister to work on one thing at a time.