The Florida Gators managed to win 11 games a year ago thanks to their physical play on both sides of the ball, as Will Muschamps team pounded the rock on offense and was stout against the run on defense. The Gators will have a similar mold in 2013, with three notable prospects expected to lead the way as Florida challenges for an SEC title out of the East division.
2013 BCS Championship Odds: + 2,500
Notable Prospect #1: DT – Dominique Easley – Senior
The strength of the Gators’ defense begins up front with a stout defensive line, and no prospect will be more highly regarded heading in to this year than the tackle Easley. Losing Sharrif Floyd in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft won’t be easy to make up for, but Easley will be the key to replacing him up front in Florida’s 3-4. With an absolutely massive frame and relentless motor, Easley is slotted in at the defensive tackle spot next to nose tackle Damien Jacobs. Easley can play both tackle and end in the Gators’ defense, and if he can build off of the four sacks that he registered a year ago then he should have no problem improving his stock for the 2014 NFL Draft.
Notable Prospect #2: S – Jaylen Watkins – Senior
It’s the front-seven that keeps the Florida defense so stout, but the secondary should be a strength again for the Gators in 2013. The defense is deep enough at the cornerback spot that Jaylen Watkins will be moved to safety for his senior year, with the chance to really prove his versatility and ball skills. Watkins was a stand out as a junior and has all of the weapons to make it at the NFL level if he can put it all together with his skill set and natural size and speed. This year will be about leading the secondary and showing off his ball skills as the final line of defense, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if scouts fall in love with his versatility.
Notable Prospect #3: RB – Mack Brown – Junior
The defense what gets Florida to the top of the SEC East if they do make a run at the conference championship game, but the offense and the rushing attack in particular will need to help out. Sophomore Matt Jones is the projected starter in the Gators’ defense but another back to keep an eye on is Mack Brown. Brown will be asked to provide a change of pace and use his elusiveness to break some big plays in the Florida offense. Matching up against SEC defenses without too much of a threat in terms of the passing game won’t be easy, so expect Brown to get a ton of touches and show what he can do in this offense this year.
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