It was a really hot and wind-less day on the practice fields at the University of Florida and the nation’s number one recruiting class took the field for the first time as Gators. The class as a whole looked as billed and some youngsters stood out on the first day. Gator Country was there in full force, here is a little synopsis before we head out to the practice field for session two and the “old guys.”
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The offensive linemen looked great anchored by our beloved Pouncey twins. The Pounceys could be carrying around 200 pound weights all day and they just always look like they love what they are doing. They looked to be in great shape out there.
Jim Barrie was with this group today and he looks to have added a bit of muscle to his body. It is hard to tell what we get from the linemen right now without any pads, Corey Hobbs is walking around in a boot and will be sidelined for a bit.
Bo Williams twisted something early in his leg but I thought I saw him back on the field later. Chris Rainey looks great and the biggest I have seen him. I think he is definitely a running back. One highlight (or lowlight) for him was him puking on the sideline. He shrugged it off, but all the fellas were giving him a hard time about it. He was fine afterwards.
John Brantley threw smoothly as always and had some nice receptions in the intermediate routes in one on one and the 7 on 7 drills. He did throw a couple of interceptions to Lorenzo Edwards on the day.
The offensive MVP of the day was walk on wide receiver Christopher Jones out of Jacksonville Bolles. He made several big time catches including three of them with one hand. He caught the ball well even when defended.
Deonte Thompson continues to impress me since I watched him show more wiggle in the Army game back in January. Everyone knows how fast he is, but Deonte showed a lot of quicks today dicing in and out of defenders during the drills.
Paul Wilson made a couple of nice catches and you can really see that he feels more comfortable than the rest of the young guys after having a spring under his belt.
Aaron Hernandez caught a couple and I believe he will be a big surprise playing in place of Aaron Hernandez this year.
On the line, I was surprised to see Carlos Dunlap looking so lean after I had heard he was still 290 pounds. I know Coach Meyer and Mattison both said he will be at end, but he was practicing with John Brown, Torrey Davis and a walk on named Jamael Autry. Count me one as thinking Dunlap can play either; he is extremely fast to the ball when it is snapped.
John Brown looked a little sluggish, but that is to be expected after just getting admitted to school and not having participated in off-season conditioning. Everyone should be glad that Brown is on campus, he will be a good one before it is all over.
Torrey Davis is as big as I have seen him. He isn’t good for running laps, but man he is fast inside 20 yards. He really explodes out of his stance when he is ready.
Justin Trattou is in great shape and takes everything very seriously, just as Lo Edwards. Trattou also got a little work inside, but he will be a strong side end for the most part. I think this kid plays this year.
If Trattou does get any work inside it should be good news for guys like Duke Lemmens and Jay Howard. Both are completely rebuilt since their high school days. With only two scholarship ends returning from last season (Harvey and Cunningham), they may both see the field along with some tackles.
The player of the day, at least on defense, was Lorenzo Edwards. He made two interceptions of John Brantley passes and he just looks like he is so comfortable out on the field. What you can really tell about Edwards is that he has been coached very well for a very long time.
Brandon Hicks, John Jones, and Steven Wilks all looked the part and all seem to run very well. This group really provides the Gators with a lot of athleticism.
At safety, Major Wright lined up at free safety and seemed to want to be the leader out there as much as he could. He has a strong build like a younger Tony Joiner, so I am not sure he ends up at free safety.
I liked what I saw from Bryan Thomas when he was out there. I have always liked the kid and think he is very athletic and needs a spot on the field. Hopefully he has healed from previous knee injuries.
Jerimy Finch is a beast at strong safety and already has a linebacker body in my mind, he is already as big as the freshman linebackers we have on the team.
At cornerback, Joe Haden seems to be separating himself from the other younger players. He is very aggressive and seems to know what he is doing.
Ahmad Black also looked good and is really athletic. He certainly seemed more comfortable after a spring under his belt.
Vernell Brown’s younger brother Vince is walking on at Florida and he really did well today. Save for his height he may have gotten a scholarship at Florida. I wouldn’t rule one out in the future.
Moses Jenkins showed a lot of athleticism but played like a freshman, mainly because he is one. He is a tall corner and will be competitive in the future.
Punter Chas Henry boomed a couple of long ones, but also shanked a few during punt drills. Inconsistency will be an early season issue that they will coach up.
Have to run for session two, I will try and bring more when I am done.