As of last Monday the NCAA new mandated summer dead period began and won’t end until July 13th so Gator Country decided it would be a good time to get everyone caught up on where the Gators stand at each position.
Last week Gator Country took a look at the offensive side of the ball and this week we will look at the defensive side of the ball and get everyone caught up on who’s in the class and who may end up in the Class of 2015.
One thing we are also going to add to each position is a quick look at who to keep an eye on for the upcoming Class of 2016.
First up in our week-long series is the defensive line position that includes the defensive end and defensive tackle position.
Right now Florida has one defensive line commit in defensive tackle Andrew Ivie (6-3, 285, Dade City, FL Pasco) who is a solid commit.
Ivie is the younger brother of current defensive lineman Joey Ivie and that will help to solidify his commitment to Florida. Ivie is still growing and is likely to become a solid defensive tackle at the next level.
Here’s how the board shakes out in Gator Country’s opinion and who we think will end up in the class with Ivie. These are in no particular order. Florida wants to add another defensive tackle and three defensive end/BUCKs.
Defensive tackle Michael Horton (6-4, 320, Atlanta, GA Lakeside) recently named a top six consisting of Florida, Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Tennessee and Georgia. Horton can play both OL and DL but Florida wants him on the defensive line and he’s also very good friends with linebacker Adonis Thomas. Horton is scheduled to visit Florida in July, and if he does, then I believe the Gators have a great chance at landing him.
Defensive end Jalen Dalton (6-6, 220, Clemmons, NC West Forsyth) is a candidate to play BUCK or defensive end and he was teammates with Alex McCalister in high school. Right now North Carolina is the leader for him but a possible summer trip to Florida would help the Gators.
Defensive end CeCe Jefferson (6-2, 245, Glen St. Mary, FL Baker County) lives in Gainesville it seems like and the Gators are considered to be the leader for him as long as the Gator coaching staff is around in 2015. Jefferson is very good friends with several Florida recruits and current players and he also has a great relationship with defensive line coach Brad Lawing. Unless Will Muschamp and company are fired then Jefferson should be a Gator.
Defensive end Byron Cowart (6-3, 252, Seffner, FL Armwood) is very good friends with CeCe Jefferson and the two have talked about playing together in college as a package deal. Cowart continues to name Oregon and Florida as his leaders but a lot of that is Cowart playing the recruiting game. If Florida has a good season then Cowart inks with Florida, in my opinion and as of today.
Defensive end Houshun Gaines (6-4, 225, Rocky Mount, NC Nash Central) is scheduled to be in Gainesville for Friday Night Lights in July. Gaines has seen his recruitment pick up a ton since his spring practices. Gaines is someone that Florida wants to evaluate at camp. Gaines is someone that Florida has a chance with if they push hard for him.
Defensive end Austin Bryant (6-4, 251, Thomasville, GA Central) is someone that is close to Adonis Thomas and Roquan Smith from Georgia and has visited Florida several times. Notre Dame feels very good about Bryant following a visit to South Bend in June but Florida and Clemson aren’t going away. Florida needs to get Bryant back on campus to make up some lost ground.
Defensive end/tackle Jeremiah Ledbetter (6-4, 270, Hutchinson, KS JUCO) has a top 3 list consisting of Florida, Miami and Arkansas. Ledbetter has taken an official visit to Arkansas and plans to take on to Florida in the fall and he hopes to decide soon after that. Ledbetter is from Orlando and the Gators have a good shot at this JUCO and he has the green light to commit now if he wants too.
Defensive tackle Kendrick Norton (6-3, 260, Jacksonville, FL Trinity Christian) decommitted from Florida State and has Florida and Auburn high on his list now. Norton is good friends with Nick Washington and he has a good relationship with Brad Lawing and Will Muschamp. Norton says he’s in no rush to commit anywhere so Florida may have to wait a while for him to decide.
Look ahead to 2016
Florida has offered seven defensive tackles and eight defensive ends already and the Gators are in good shape for a few of these guys.
Here are two guys to watch particularly close going forward.
Defensive end Chauncey Manac (6-3, 230, Homerville, GA Clinch County) has visited Florida several times already and he has spoken highly of the Gators. Clemson and South Carolina are two other teams to watch going forward.
Defensive tackle Rashan Gary (6-4, 276, Paramus, NJ Paramus Catholic) is scheduled to visit Florida for Friday Night Lights and Gary likes defensive line coach Brad Lawing and running backs coach Brian White a lot. Gary is one of the top defensive tackles in the country and is one of only a handful of underclassmen invited to the Opening this year.