The Florida Gators just landed the number one ranked defensive line class in the country, which obviously brings a smile to Florida’s defensive line coach, Greg Mattison, who is also the co-defensive coordinator. Florida signed four five-star linemen and two others that are very highly regarded, a recruiting haul that is long on hype and potential
Mattison loses five of the top six defensive lineman from Florida’s national championship team so bringing in players capable of seeing the field early was imperative. Landing great players is never easy but it’s a task made more difficult when need requires signing more than one outstanding player at the same position. Florida’s staff somehow managed to overcome this obstacle. Florida’s success on the field helped smooth over some potential difficulties.
“I think you always have that possibility at a school like Florida, but a lot of things need to align correctly,” Mattison said. “You have to have a great team. The[recruits] have to see they are going to have success and we were able to do that. They have to see great chemistry and I think our players feel that way.
“The players are the ones that recruit the kids. The only thing we do as a coach is go find them and present everything you can about the school. If it is a great school like this one is, you just have to do a great job of portraying it when they get here.”
The Florida staff went far and wide securing defensive line recruits from California, New Jersey, South Carolina and Florida. Defensive ends Carlos Dunlap, Jay Howard, Duke Lemmens, and Justin Trattou are a fearsome foursome of talent that may never be duplicated again. Tackles John Brown and Torrey Davis form the highest rated duo committed to one school in many seasons. There is a lot to like about this group according to Mattison.
“They are all very explosive,” he said. “That to me is the number one thing I look for. When you watch us on tape and that ball moves, I want to see guys exploding towards the line of scrimmage. I think if you look back, people talk about Ray McDonald, they say he got off the ball fast. Jarvis Moss, Derrick Harvey, and even Steven Harris when he moved in to play nose, they said wow he was really quick at nose. That is the kind of defensive linemen we like to have.”
It is not just their physical skills that set this group apart. Mattison loves their mental make up. That mental make up translated to players that make plays from start to finish of every game, much like the line from the National Championship game.
“We want the ones that have great attitudes that will play hard and take great pride in their technique,” said Mattison. “I think all of these kids have that. When you watch the film on them they were tremendous at getting off the ball. They played extremely hard. Every kid in that group, you watch them on film, and I think their opponents would say they play hard. Then it is all about getting their technique a little better and getting them around other great players and they have a chance.”
This is what Gator fans have to look forward to.
JOHN BROWN (DT): Lakeland (FL) (6-0, 295) …Had 11.5 sacks as a senior along with 53 solo tackles and 41 assists … 93 tackles, four sacks and two fumble recoveries in an all-state Class 5A junior year … Parade All-American … Rated five-stars by Scout.com and the number five player overall in the State of Florida.
TORREY DAVIS (DT): Seffner (FL) Armwood (6-4, 285) … Had 72 tackles and 16 sacks as a senior from an interior defensive line position …U.S. Army All-American …Parade All-American…Scout.com five-star prospect, No. 2 defensive tackle in the nation … No. 2 overall player in the Southeast … No. 2 player overall in Florida.
CARLOS DUNLAP (DE): North Charleston, S.C. Ft. Dorchester (6-6,240) … During his senior season Dunlap recorded 105 tackles, 35 tackles for loss, and 24 sacks…Parade All-American…Rated a five-star defensive end prospect by Scout.com and number five defensive end in the country … Also rated the number one prospect in the state of South Carolina regardless of position.
JAY HOWARD (DE): Orlando (FL) Jones (6-5, 230) … During his senior year, Howard had 80 tackles, 15 sacks, and four fumble recoveries … All-Metro and All-State as a senior … Nominated for Central Florida Defensive Player of the Year … Named among the Top 50 players in the state of Florida by Scout.com.
DUKE LEMMENS (DE): Westlake Village (CA) Oaks Christian (6-5, 238) …Contributed 52 tackles, seven sacks and one fumble recovery in his senior season … As a junior he recorded over 90 tackles and 10 sacks … Rated four-stars and the No. 5 defensive end in California by Scout.com … Selected as Co-Defensive Lineman of the Year by the Ventura County Coaches’ Association …Was named Oaks Christian MVP over three other heralded five-star recruits and other big time players on the roster.
JUSTIN TRATTOU (DE): Ramsey (NJ) Don Bosco Prep (6-4, 250) … During his senior year he had 82 tackles and 17 sacks …U.S. Army All-American … Rated fourth among defensive ends nationally by Scout.com who also named him second among all prospects in the state of New Jersey … Honored at the High School Heisman ceremony … Named all-state during both his junior and senior years.