Over the next 13 days, Gator Country will preview the players that make up the 2013 Florida Gators football team as we inch closer and closer to the season. Can you believe that the season is just two weeks away?
Each day we will count down using the player whose jersey number corresponds with how many days there are left until Florida kicks off against Toledo in the Swamp on August 31.
Today we take a look at freshman linebacker Daniel McMillian.
McMillian is an athletic outside linebacker from First Coast High School in Jacksonville. McMillian committed to Florida in February of 2012 and while he attended a few camps and even officially visited Ohio State, enrolled early at Florida this past spring.
McMillian chose Florida over scholarship offers from Alabama, Arkansas, Clemson, Florida State, Ohio State, South Carolina and Tennessee among others.
McMillian is an athletic linebacker who could really play all three linebacker positions for the Gators. McMillian is adequate in coverage and excels at defending the underneath zone. His athleticism and speed allow him to cover ground quickly and either break up passes underneath or stop the receiver before he can turn a short pass into a long gain.
He is most effective as a downhill run stuffer and blitzer. McMillian has good reaction time and instincts playing against the run, can fill his gap well and pursues the ball carrier relentlessly.
He is a strong tackler who wraps-up the ball carrier and uses his lower body strength to drive through the tackle. He can deliver a thud when he hits and doesn’t miss many tackles.
McMillian needs to work more on playing in space and being able to cover tight ends on deeper routes. While we noted that he plays underneath passing routes very well but doesn’t have a lot of experience covering deeper routes. McMillian looks to have improved in this area since high school but needs to continue making more progress.
McMillian can also let his pad level get too high at times and needs to stay focused on staying low and playing with leverage.
What to Expect
After enrolling early McMillian, put himself in a good position to earn playing time early on in his freshman season. He has been working at weakside linebacker and competing with Michael Taylor and Darrin Kitchens for the starting spot.
Even if he doesn’t earn the outright starting job, McMillian will be in the rotation at linebacker and will earn significant playing time as a freshman.