Florida Football Recruiting: Profiling the Gators' 2013 Linebacker Commits
With junior Ronald Powell's ACL injury in Florida's spring game, Will Muschamp is surely taking a long hard look at his depth at the linebacker position.
While Gators fans are inevitably concerned about the upcoming season's depth chart, the coaching staff has been hitting homers on the recruiting front. Though the 2012 season could certainly be a pivotal one for the Florida program, a quick look at the 2013 recruiting class begins to ease anxiety about the future in Gator Country.
Muschamp has already scored four linebackers for next February's signing day, all of which are included on the ESPN Top 150 and from the state of Florida. Let's take a look at the commits so far at linebacker.
As one of the Gators' first linebacker commitments for 2013, Tallahassee junior James Hearns certainly brings a lot to the table.
At 6'3" and 230 pounds, Hearns runs a 4.6 40-yard time, and can bench-press a solid 315.
Hearns turned down offers from Georgia, Georgia Tech, South Florida, Notre Dame and LSU among many others, as well as his hometown Seminoles, and ultimately chose to play for Will Muschamp in Gainesville.
This past signing day was considered a success for Will Muschamp at Florida, but not just due to a ton of talent laying down their ink on the 2012 class.
The Gators also picked up a couple of top ranked linebackers for 2013. Committing the same day as James Hearns was Jacksonville's Daniel McMillian.
McMillian turned down offers from both Florida State and Miami, among others, and chose Florida in a nice recruiting battle victory for a rebuilding Gators program.
"McMillan is a linebacker with a lot of natural ability and a lot of upside," says Chad Simmons of Scout.com on McMillian's site profile. "He is a very lean athlete with long arms and the room to add another 25-30 pounds while maintaining his quickness.
"He really likes to fly to the football and attack the ball carrier with aggression. He packs a lot of punch in his tackles and he tackles through the opposition. He can still improve his strength, his footwork, and make more plays consistently."
A little smaller at 6'2" and 187 pounds, and a tad slower with a 4.8 40-yard time, Powell still has a ton of potential to improve once he gets in the hands of Florida's defensive coaching staff.
Powell's only other official in-state offer was from the University of Miami, but he also passed up offers from Clemson, South Carolina and Vanderbilt and had been on Brady Hoke's radar at Michigan.
According to Scout.com's Chad Simmons, Powell "is a natural athlete with good size and very good speed. He could play inside or outside linebacker on the next level because of size, speed, and skill-set. He will need work on playing space, reading and reacting to the ball, and dropping into coverage."
Another commit on Florida's annual Junior Day was Crestview's Dillan Lawson, a solid 3-star recruit who also had offers from Florida State, Louisville, North Carolina and Southern Mississippi.
This 6'3" outside linebacker is advertised at 215 pounds and seems to fit right in with the rest of the 2013 linebacker class so far in terms of size.
If nothing else, Lawson was yet another recruit who had received an offer from the Seminoles yet was sold on a re-building Florida defense, which could be a sign of things to come around the Sunshine State.