With the 2012 season concluded, Gator Country takes a look at the 10 best players for the Florida Gators football team in 2012 in a new series called “Tremendous 10.” GC will be profiling the accomplishments of these Gators from the 2012 season.
Up next is No. 8 through No. 5 on our “Tremendous 10” list, which brings a defensive theme along with it.
8. LB Jon Bostic
Jon Bostic grew into one of the defensive leaders over his four-year career at Florida. Although his stats weren’t as high as in 2011, Bostic still finished 67 tackles, including 6.5 tackles for loss and three sacks.
He was the quarterback of the defense at the interior linebacker position and was constantly championed by Muschamp as one of the toughest players on the entire Gators team.
“I don’t know if there’s a guy playing better inside linebacker in the country than Jon,” Muschamp said on Nov. 17, following a 23-0 home win against Jacksonville State. “Instinctive, tough, everything we’ve asked him to do as a football player, he’s answered that.”
7. S Josh Evans
Matt Elam usually stole the spotlight at the safety position, but senior Josh Evans more than made his presence felt in 2012. Evans led the team with 83 tackles and was second on the team with three interceptions.
In Evans’ second year of playing in the new defense, the senior safety excelled and attributed his success to hard work in the offseason.
“I was just coming in and doing extra stuff and leaving it all on the line,” Evans said. “I was doing stuff I wasn’t doing before which was maturing as a player by meeting with coaches and watching extra film and making sure the things I was doing wrong, I was correcting.”
6. DB Loucheiz Purifoy
Loucheiz Purifoy is arguably the Gators’ most versatile player on the roster. He starts at defensive back, makes critical plays on special teams and even contributed on offense late in the season as a wide receiver.
He proved to be a one of the team’s biggest playmakers in 2012, leading Florida with two blocks on special teams and forcing three fumbles. Look for Purifoy to be utilized even more in the 2013 season as it’s clear he can provide some highlight plays when given the opportunity.
5. K Caleb Sturgis
What more can you say about Caleb Sturgis? He’s been as good as any kicker in college football and his fifth and final year may have been his best.
“I think he’s the best place-kicker in the country,” Muschamp said Nov. 24 after the Florida State game. “He’s very accurate, very dependable and he’s got an explosive leg. There’s no question he’s a game-changer for us.’’
Sturgis holds the school record with 69 career field goals and also finished 2012 by going 3 for 3 from 50 yards out as well as 5 for 6 from 40 yards out. He was selected to the first team All-SEC and was a third-team AP All-America selection.
His contributions to the team were significant as he almost guaranteed the Gators three points from 50 yards away. His consistency not just in 2012, but in his entire career, won the Gators several games and his replacement will have big shoes to fill in 2013.