Name: Khairi Clark
Why did he redshirt?
Clark was invited to the Opening and one of the top defensive line prospects in the state of Florida. However, Clark wasn’t in the shape he needed to be in when he arrived on campus. Clark was roughly 320-330 pounds but, like most high school defensive linemen, hadn’t put the weight on properly. Playing at that weight at the high school level allows defensive linemen to push smaller players around and they’re more focused on getting to a number rather than getting there the right way.
Clark needed the year to get into the weight room and change his body through the strength and conditioning program and with a meal plan.
Depth at the position?
Clark will be competing for time with Jay-nard Bostwick, Caleb Brantley, Thomas Holley and Joey Ivie inside. Clark has the talent to work into the mix and Geoff Collins used a lot of defensive linemen in a rotation at Mississippi State, which means he will likely continue to do that at Florida where he has a lot of talent to work with.
Clark’s biggest attribute is his raw strength. Because he was always bigger and stronger than people, he tended to get lazy with his fundamentals and technique. That’s something that the past coaching staff worked on, being consistent with your fundamentals.
For his size, Clark has a good first step and get off. He tends to pop up at times and needs to stay low and play with better leverage — again, something that the staff worked on last year.
Clark can be productive as an inside rusher against the pass and once he gets his technique down could turn into a three-down lineman for the Gators.
Clark has put in a lot of work to get his body ready to play in the SEC. He played near 330 pounds in high school before Florida stripped him down to around 305-310 pounds last year. He’s put on a good seven pounds of lean muscle and is now listed at 315 but he’s even stronger at 315 than he was at 330.
I think Clark is a player who could command double teams against the run but he also has a quick first step that can allow him to play nose tackle when Florida is in a 3-4 set. Clark will likely be in a rotation with Brantley and Bostwick at the position and should be able to have a productive season for the Gators.