Virginia athlete calls Florida his leader

It’s no secret that the Gators have gotten off to a quick start working on their 2012 recruiting class.

The swift beginning is heavily loaded with defensive tackles after Dante Phillips (6-6/270, Venice/Venice HS), JaFar Mann (6-4/293, Stone Mountain, Ga./Stephenson) and Quinteze Williams (6-4/294, Tyrone, Ga./Sandy Creek) all committed.

One area that has not been addressed in the early commits is the defensive position causing the largest stir this spring. The Buck position is the talk of spring practice with Ronald Powell embracing the role, but it’s currently a mystery of who may be filling the spot once played professionally by Jason Taylor in a few years.

Eli Harold is a 6-foot-4, 220-pound athlete from Virginia Beach, Va.

As a junior at Ocean Lakes High School, he recorded 30 tackles and seven sacks on defense while racking up 36 catches for 543 yards on offense. He also blocked two punts.

At Florida, Harold is being viewed as a fit for the hybrid linebacker role the Buck entails. He has been in contact with head coach Will Muschamp as well as receivers coach Aubrey Hill.

It was Muschamp who first introduced the idea of the Buck position to Harold.

He said that Florida has always been his top school but also included Virginia and North Carolina in his top three. The only visit he currently has planned is a trip to Gainesville on April 30.

Harold received his scholarship offer from the Gators in December. In February, he was invited to play in the 2012 U.S. Army All-American Bowl. He said he plans on announcing his commitment at the game in San Antonio.

When asked what he likes about Florida, Harold was short and definite.

“I like everything,” he said.

He also said he plans on majoring in computer engineering in college.

Gator Country reporter Bryan Holt can be reached at You can also follow him on Twitter at