Few people saw Florida's immensely successful 2012 season coming.
This really should come as no surprise. The team was coming off a disastrous 7-6 season under first-year head coach Will Muschamp, and he would be forced to hand the offense over to a sophomore quarterback. There were many occasions where the offense had looked flat, and the defense had looked soft. The Gators were supposed to be better last season, but a BCS bowl seemed out of the question.
Of course, it's apparent that the Gator defense had other plans.
The end result was an 11-1 regular season and a Sugar Bowl appearance. It was made possible by a variety of factors, but none bigger than the team's highly talented defensive unit. This group shut down the likes of LSU, Texas A&M and South Carolina en route to becoming the fifth-best scoring defense in the nation.
Unfortunately for the Gators, many key defensive contributors are now gone. Matt Elam, Jon Bostic, Jelani Jenkins and Sharrif Floyd are just some of the names they will have to replace for next season.
However, help is on the way with the arrival of their latest recruiting class. Littered amongst the team's list of committed players are defensive prospects that have the potential to become stars. With so many others departing, the Gators will likely need to rely on this new talent crop next season.
Here are the five recruits that are most likely to make a significant impact during their first season as a Gator.