Over the next 57 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 defensive tackle Caleb Brantley.
Brantley is a big 6’3”, 300-plus pound defensive tackle from Crescent City High School in Florida. Brantley chose Florida over schools like Alabama, Florida State, Miami, Auburn, Ole Miss and Tennessee.
Brantley committed to Florida in January of 2012 but his commitment didn’t end there. He flirted with schools throughout the recruiting process and even decommitted from Florida while he was at the Under Armour All-American game. That decommitment lasted all of three days before Brantley re-upped with the Gators. That didn’t stop fans from worrying about Brantley until his letter of intent was received at Florida on National Signing Day.
Brantley is a force against the run and could play both defensive tackle or nose tackle in Florida’s multiple scheme defense. He plays with a high motor against the run, pursues the ball carrier very well for a player of his size, and can take on double teams to clear lanes for his linebackers.
Brantley plays with good leverage and has a massive lower body that he uses to drive offensive linemen off of the line of scrimmage. Brantley has a quick first move off of the line and can be disruptive with that speed and quickness.
Brantley has room to improve as a pass-rusher. He was able to overpower players at the high school level, so he never really developed any moves to get past linemen. He’ll learn quickly that he won’t be able to bull rush everybody in college. He’s raw as a pass-rusher currently, but he has the talent and ability to grow into a very disruptive interior lineman.
Brantley can get sloppy in his technique at times. This is probably because he could get away with it in high school. He will need to be technically sound in the SEC.
What to Expect
Brantley is a very talented player and is at a position of need for the Gators. Brantley looks to have put on some weight since the last time we saw him in pads, but it’s nothing that Jeff Dillman can’t deal with.
Brantley has a very high ceiling and how much he plays as a freshman, will really be up to him. If he comes in with the right attitude both on and off the field, Brantley should be able to slide into the defensive line rotation and make a big impact for the Gators this season.