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April 19, 2014
Five to Follow: Defensive Line
The 2015 recruiting cycle is in full swing and Florida currently sits with six public commitments. The next big event on the calendar as far as prospects are concerned is the spring evaluation period, which runs mid April through the end of May. This week Inside the Gators will unveil a position-by-position look at the top pre-spring targets in our Five to Follow series.
Up today are the defensive linemen.
Much like the offensive line, this is a position where Florida has been able to stock pile bodies the last two recruiting cycles. By the time all of the signees report for fall camp, the Gators will have 11 defensive linemen who are either a freshmen or a sophomore. However, just like the offensive line, there is no such thing as too many defensive linemen. Look for the Gators to add four or five more in this signing class.
Here are five top pre-spring prospects to watch at the position.
Inside the Gators' pre-spring top five lists are based on national ranking and of course whether or not Florida is showing interest at this time. One player having an offer this early doesn't necessarily mean he will be a higher priority throughout the process. Therefore it doesn't mean he will be rated higher on our list. What you see here is solely the opinion of the staff of Inside the Gators and does not represent the opinion of the University of Florida or anyone associated with the Gator program.
Austin Bryant | Thomasville (Ga.) Thomas County Central | 6-foot-4, 251-pounds
What was Said: "Coach Muschamp told me more about the whole university and how well I would fit into their defense and what they would like to do and told me what I do well that would compliment their scheme. He said he wanted to use me like Dante Fowler where I put my hand in the dirt sometime and line up like a pass rusher."
Related: 4-star looking at 10
Competition: Clemson, Florida State, Notre Dame, Ole Miss, Penn State, South Carolina, Stanford, Texas A&M, and UCLA.
The Skinny: The Gators have been trying to get some traction with this Peach State four-star and finally hosted him on campus earlier this spring. Though Florida impressed the Rivals250 member when they had him in town, they are in no way the leader at this time. Currently schools like Clemson, Florida State and Georgia have the early edge.
Watch video highlights of Bryant by clicking here.
Byron Cowart | Seffner (Fla.) Armwood | 6-foot-3, 257-pounds
What was Said: "Everybody really is equal," said Cowart. "I am just going to wait it out and announce at the Under Armour Game next year. I am going to wait until after my season and then in January heading into the Under Armour game I will narrow it down before I announce."
Related: RCS Orlando: What we learned
Competition: Alabama, Florida State, Oregon, and Southern Cal.
The Skinny: Early on Florida was the team to beat for this five-star but of course being one of the top prospects in the nation, he is a wanted man by many schools. Though he claims no one school has the edge, you can believe that Florida is a big player here due to his being a fan of the Gators, his comfort level with the campus and the coaching staff. The one school that seems to be the biggest threat for the Rivals100 member early on is the Oregon Ducks, where Cowart plans to visit sometime this summer. How he feels after going all the way out to the left coast for the first time will help tell the tale here.
Watch video highlights of Cowart by clicking here.
Andrew Ivie | Dade City (Fla.) Pasco | 6-foot-3, 285-pounds
What was Said: "It's exciting too for sure, but I'm not going to close my eyes to any opportunities," Ivie said of his offer from UF. "We'll see how the year goes and wait until the end of the summer when I can take some visits."
Related: Ivie talks visits
Competition: UCF and USF.
The Skinny: Ivie has not been one for interviews so far during his recruiting process, but has steadily compiled a solid offer sheet. The Gators were the second school to extend an offer to this unranked tackle and currently have his brother Joey Ivie on the roster. The entire Ivie family is full of diehard Florida fans, so expect the Gators to be in the thick of this til the end.
CeCe Jefferson | Glen St. Mary (Fla.) Baker County | 6-foot-2, 244-pounds
What was Said: "They made it real sure they let me know that Florida is going to be coming at me hardest," said Jefferson of Florida's message to him. "They said to keep a lookout for them because they are going to come to one or two of my football games and I better get used to them because they are going to recruit me to the end."
Related: Top uncommitted prospects in the southeast
Competition: Alabama, Florida State and Georgia.
The Skinny: Jefferson grew up diehard Florida fan and that is playing some into his decision no matter how much he is trying to make it a non-factor. The five-star has visited Gainesville countless times in the past, including three stops so far this spring. Jefferson hasn't sat down and narrowed down his list of tops schools yet, but the Gators undoubtedly will make the cut when that time comes.
Watch video highlights of Jefferson by clicking here.
Isaiah Washington | New Orleans (La.) Edna Karr | 6-foot-4, 245-pounds
What was Said: "My commitment is still strong to LSU, but Florida has moved up to my number two school," said Washington. "I see now why [2014 signee] Gerald [Willis] fell in love with Florida, it is a great place it was awesome. I was sleeping when we got to Florida and just seeing everything was great. It rained when I was down there and it was still great. Just think about what it's like when it's sunny outside. The campus was great and it's a big campus and everything is great around there."
Related: Florida hosts LSU commit
The Skinny: Florida absolutely made a move up his board after hosting this LSU commitment on campus earlier this spring. The one thing that is helping the Gators cause is their addition of 2014 signee, and former teammate, Gerald Willis III. According to the three-star end he will make a return visit to Gainesville in the fall for an official visit.
Watch video highlights of Washington by clicking here.