44 days to kickoff: DT Leon Orr

GatorCountry.com continues its series previewing the players who will make up the 2012 Florida Gators football team this season.

Each day, we’ll count off another scholarship player until the Florida football season officially begins Sept. 1 against Bowling Green in The Swamp.

Today, we take a look at redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Leon Orr:


The ‘Big 3’ battled for Leon Orr’s signature in the Class of 2010 with the Florida Gators beating out Florida State and Miami.

Orr was a four-star prospect and ranked among the top defensive tackles by national recruiting networks coming out of New Port Richey (Fla.) Gulf High. A broken leg kept Orr out of playing in the Under Armour All-American Game. He also was named to PrepStar Magazine’s Top 150 Dream Team.

Orr began his collegiate career on the offensive line and redshirted while recovering from the leg injury. After switching to defensive tackle during the spring of 2011, he played in all 13 games and made 10 tackles last season. He recorded three tackles, including a sack, against Kentucky and had two tackles against Ohio State in the Gator Bowl.

Off of the field, Orr has made headlines for the wrong reasons. He was arrested on a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge on Jan. 10. He then violated the terms of his deferred prosecution when he was cited for unknowingly driving with a suspended license in May.

“First off I wanna apologize to the g nation for this bad publicity , but im being depicted as a criminal of some sort and ive never had hand cuffs put on my wrist or been pictured in a stripe jumpsuit! I jus wanna help my team win and provide for my family,” Orr tweeted from his @MrLrgJack_44 Twitter account at the time.

Orr admitted to the mistake in another tweet: “At the end of the day a mistake was made , and I’ve learned from it”

Player Evaluation

On the field, Orr has all of the physical tools needed to excel as an interior defensive lineman in the Southeastern Conference and beyond.

For a 6-foot-5, 305-pounder, Orr is a gifted athlete. He’s quick and strong. His initial burst off of the line of scrimmage is among the best on the team. That explosion likely is why he was switched from offensive line to help shore up depth on the defensive line.

Orr will be one of seven scholarship defensive tackles on campus this fall after signee Dante Phillips was denied admissions by UF. Phillips was released from his National Letter of Intent and is expected to enroll at Tennessee.

What to Expect

Because of his size and athleticism, Orr is the perfect fit to patrol and control the inside when Florida lines up in its hybrid 3-4 defense. He just needs to continue to improve his technique to become the playmaker the Gators need up front.

It remains unclear if Orr will miss any game time after violating the terms of his deferred prosecution agreement. He participated in spring practices and started for the blue team in the Orange & Blue Debut on April 7, recording two tackles.

Orr will see significant playing time this season and has been cross-trained at tackle and end. Dominique Easley, who missed the spring with a torn ACL, is expected to return as the starter at defensive tackle, but Orr should see a lot of time there as well due to his run-stopping ability.

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Mike Capshaw brings a wealth of experience to the Gator Country team. He’s been overseeing all editorial aspects of GatorCountry.com and Gator Country magazine by managing our team of staffers, interns and freelancers. He is now moving into a bigger role as a reporter by covering the football and basketball beats as well as providing coverage of all sports on campus. Mike’s 15 years in the business has included more than six years of covering SEC sports and recruiting at a daily newspaper in Arkansas. He has also helped launch a newspaper, magazines, websites and even a sports talk radio show. Because Mike puts family ahead of his career, he left the place where he was established when his wife received an opportunity to further her career at UF. He took a leap of faith that he could find a job in the Gainesville area and worked for a year at a newspaper group before joining the Gator Country family in November, 2011. Mike has won Florida Press Association awards for Best Sports Game Story and Best Sports Feature Story in the past two years as well as a company-wide award at his former newspaper group that includes some 60 publications, for Excellence in Sports Reporting. You can follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeCapshawGC.