Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Elite Class for UF; Nation's Top Haul Heavy on Defensive Linemen, QBs

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Elite Class for UF; Nation's Top Haul Heavy on Defensive Linemen, QBs

Article excerpt

Byline: MICHAEL DIROCCO

GAINESVILLE -- The recruiting experts said Florida signed the No. 1 class in the nation Wednesday.

The more important thing to UF coach Urban Meyer is that the 27-member class addresses some significant needs -- especially at defensive line and quarterback.

The Gators signed six defensive linemen -- including two in the top 10 of Rivals.com's top 100 -- and three quarterbacks. Those were problem areas because of graduation and early departures to the NFL.

"Our defensive line was decimated because we lost good players," Meyer said. "We signed four defensive ends, and a lot of times, schools can't do that because they cancel each other out.

"We won the national championship because our two defensive ends played their tails off in that game."

Headlining the group of defensive linemen are end Carlos Dunlap and tackle Torrey Davis, who were ranked fifth and ninth, respectively, in Rivals.com's top 100. The 6-foot-6, 240-pound Dunlap recorded 24 sacks as a senior at North Charleston (S.C.) Fort Dorchester High School. Davis (6-4, 285) had 16 sacks last season at Seffner Armwood.

Two other linemen -- tackle John Brown of Lakeland and end Jay Howard of Orlando Jones -- were ranked in the top 10 at their positions. Brown, one of seven Lakeland players to sign with UF, had 11.5 sacks last season, but might not qualify academically.

Howard, who helped Jones win the Class 3A state basketball title, had 15 sacks and 80 tackles last season.

Ends Duke Lemmens and Justin Trattou round out the group.

All six will get a chance to play early because the Gators lost their top four defensive tackles (Steven Harris, Ray McDonald, Joe Cohen and Marcus Thomas) to graduation, and end Jarvis Moss left early for the NFL.

"The most impact [in the class] are all the defensive linemen they're bringing in," said J.C. Shurburtt, Rivals.com's Southeast recruiting analyst. "All the guys on the defensive line have a chance to get in and play pretty early."

So will the quarterbacks. The Gators signed three: John Brantley of Ocala Trinity Catholic, Cam Newton of College Park (Ga. …

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