Over the next 54 days, Gator Country will preview the players that make up the 2013 Florida Gators football team as we inch closer and closer to the season.
Each day we will count down using the player whose jersey number corresponds with how many days there are left until Florida kicks off against Toledo in the Swamp on August 31.
Today we take a look at freshman offensive lineman Cam Dillard.
Throughout this series we have profiled players who have had some interesting recruitments to say the least. Dillard won’t be one of those players. He committed to Florida over schools like Arizona, Arizona State, Arkansas, Florida State, Clemson, Mississippi State and Oregon.
Dillard pledged a verbal commitment to the Gators in April of 2012 and from that point forward, he didn’t take another visit or waver in on his pledge for even a second.
Dillard spent the offseason working out with former Gator offensive lineman Lomas Brown and current NFL players David Molk and Lamar Woodley.
Dillard is a punishing run-blocker. He plays with a mean streak and finishes blocks with tenacity. He has a solid lower body and anchors well. Dillard has good flexibility in his knees and hips, which allows him to explode off the line and get his hands on defenders.
Dillard is a smart offensive lineman. He played guard, center and tackle throughout his high school career but projects to play center at Florida. He doesn’t have a problem making calls, recognizing defenses and changing protections, something that will be asked of him at Florida when he takes over at center.
His highlight tape is a series of pancakes, showing the mean streak and aggression you love to see in an offensive lineman.
Dillard played in a run-heavy offense in high school and that has left him a little underdeveloped as a pass-blocker. He will need to work on his footwork in the passing game.
He played mostly tackle as a senior, so there will be an adjustment for Dillard as he works back on the interior at Florida.
What to Expect
Dillard is an old fashioned “hog” on the offensive line. He plays with attitude and a nasty mentality. You have to have a mean streak to play offensive line in the SEC and Dillard already displays that. He is a much more advanced run-blocker than he is against the pass, so he will need to become a more well-rounded player before the coaching staff will feel comfortable inserting him into the lineup.
I feel that Dillard is a redshirt candidate in 2013 but he appears to be the heir apparent at center when Jonotthan Harrison graduates following this season. The redshirt season this year will give Dillard time to get used to the Florida weather (he struggled in the Florida heat at Friday Night Lights last year) and become comfortable at center. It also will save Dillard a year of eligibility and give him a chance to be an impact player for four years.