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Saturday, July 20, 2013
Haubert: DT Gaillard is big, explosive

By Craig Haubert

On Saturday, five-star Under Armour All-American defensive tackle Lamont Gaillard (Fayetteville, N.C./Pine Forest) committed to Georgia. Read on to see how our scouts believe Gaillard will add to the rich history of outstanding defensive line play at Georgia and in the SEC:

What he brings: In Gaillard, the Bulldogs are getting one of the most explosive DTs in the 2014 class. The five-star prospect out of North Carolina is a big body who is capable of being a handful as both a run-defender and a pass-rusher. With very good first-step quickness, he is capable of disrupting with quick penetration, but can also fire out low, uncoil and explode into blockers at contact. He is capable of knocking them back and standing them up. Flashes good hand usage, but does need to improve in extending and shedding. The big man’s range is limited, but he does give good effort, demonstrates good lateral mobility and can be an active presence between the tackles. Not only capable of being disruptive against the run, he can also apply pressure as a pass-rusher. He has the size and power to get under blockers' pads, drive them back and press the pocket. While he further needs to develop his pass-rush arsenal, he can quickly get to half-a-man and work past blockers, as well.

How he fits: With the natural ability Gaillard brings to the table, defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and new defensive line coach Chris Wilson likely see the top-15 prospect as capable of being a real nice fit for them. When they want, they can turn the explosive ESPN 300 DL loose and he can be disruptive. Additionally, he can be stout one-on-one, can take on the double-team, and is capable of occupying blockers, drawing attention and helping to allow the linebackers to get to the ball and make plays in the Bulldogs' scheme.

History at position: Georgia has naturally had some very good defensive linemen come through the program. Moving forward, they’ve lost several key contributors from the 2012 unit and begin with a new D-line coach in Wilson, who came over from Mississippi State. However, the Bulldogs continued to address the D-line, having brought in some junior college help in their 2013 class along with Gaillard and ESPN 300 defensive tackle Dontavius Russell (Carrollton, Ga./Carrollton), another big man who can be a good fit for them, for the 2014 class.

Prediction for performance: The Bulldogs will be losing some more key contributors such as Garrison Smith in the near future, but the cupboard is not bare, with young players such as John Taylor and John Atkins in the program as well as the JC additions. While things can change, there shouldn’t be a pressing need to get Gaillard quickly involved in a big role. While very talented and capable of working his way into the rotation early on, the five-star prospect could still gain from some time in Georgia's weight program as the big man could benefit from reworking his frame. In a conference known for very strong defensive line play, with some development, Georgia could potentially have one of the top defensive linemen in the SEC in the big, explosive Gaillard.

How the class is shaping up: Georgia has been hot lately and is coming off a weekend where it added four commitments, including one by ESPN 300 guard Isaiah Wynn (St. Petersburg, Fla./Lakewood). They followed that up by landing one of the top DTs in the country. With the newest addition, Georgia makes another move up the class rankings. After cracking the top 10 after last weekend’s commitments, the Bulldogs now jump up to No. 5.