We move on to the eighth installment of our series and everyone on this list will be an offensive or defensive lineman. The big uglies, as some refer to them have had a big impact on the University of Florida football program through the years.
#70 COOPER CARLISLE: Florida has had a good bit of success with players from the state of Mississippi with guys like Robert Gillespie and Shane Matthews. Well Carlisle was a pretty good one form the Magnolia state as well. A solid blocker who was steady for several years, Carlisle earned respect from SEC coaches, making their first team in ‘99. He’s been making a living in the NFL since. Honorable mention for Scott Trimble and Joe Wickline.
#71 JEFF MITCHELL: My choice as the best center ever at UF, Mitchell was a superb blocker and line leader for Florida’s best offenses. His injury in the middle of the ‘96 season came at a time when the Fun-and-Gun was operating at its highest level ever. He was a two-time All-SEC pick and earned a spot as a finalist for the Outland Trophy. Honorable mention to Mike Pearson and Tony McCoy.
#72 VEL HECKMAN: A native of Pennsylvania Heckman was a terrific defensive tackle for the Gators in the late fifties, earning All-American honors in 1958, just six months after I was born. Though undersized, Heckman’s quickness and tenacity made him a special player. Honorable mention for Tomas Moody and Dock Luckie.
#73 DAVID WILLIAMS: One of the few true freshmen I have seen who could have played right away, but he didn’t. Instead Williams redshirted behind Lomas Brown, Crawford Ker and Scott Trimble before starting for four years. Williams was big and rangy and a great comfort to his quarterback. He was all-SEC twice and earned All-American mention. Honorable mention to Jim Watson.
#74 JACK YOUNGBLOOD: The lone Gator in the Pro Football Hall of Fame for a few more years, Youngblood has to be viewed as one of the top five Gators ever. A phenomenal pass rusher who was so good he was named to the SEC All-Quarter Century team as one of the best in the conference between 1950-74. He was an All-American in ‘70 and lived up to it by being a star in the Senior Bowl. Of course his legend was cemented when he played in the Super Bowl on a broken leg. Honorable mention for Jason Odom and Jeff Zimmerman.
#75 LOMAS BROWN: He’d probably be too small in this day and age, but in his day, Lomas was the best. In fact then Auburn Coach Pat Dye told me he considered Brown the best offensive lineman he had coached against. And that covers some pretty fine players. Lomas was a rock, as solid and sturdy as could be on the left side of Florida’s “Great Wall”. Honorable mention for Charlie LaPradd and Donnie Young.
#76 JOE D’AGOSTINO: The Gators were not very good in the early fifties, hanging around the .500 mark most of the time but you can’t blame D’Agostino. A second-team All-SEC pick his sophomore year (’51) he was a first teamer the next two years. The Baltimore Colts drafted him into the NFL despite Florida’s 3-5-2 mark in ‘53.
#77 GUY DENNIS: This powerful blocker came from the Florida panhandle to become an All-American in Orange and Blue. Dennis was the Gators’ offensive captain in ‘68 and went on to a ten year career in the NFL. Honorable mention for Max Starks, Crawford Ker and Hesham Ismail.
#78 KENYATTA WALKER: While he has struggled at times with the Tampa Bay Bucs, Walker was a very good one for the Gators in the late nineties. I should have mentioned him as another Mississippi recruit that turned out very well. He was all-SEC twice. Honorable mention for Reggie Green and Tommy Duhart.
#79 MO COLLINS: Big Mo came down from North Carolina and seemed to have the ability to be one of the Gators’ best ever. He didn’t reach that status, but he was very good, despite missing half a season for dealings with an agent. He was a first round pick by Oakland in ‘98.
So there you have the big guys who wore the numbers 70-79. Only two more groups of numbers to go.