The Florida Gators defense took a hit today when it was announced that incoming 5-star freshman (247Sports) Alex Anzalone would sit out spring practice after undergoing shoulder surgery.
The announcement came from the Gators' official athletic Twitter feed, @GatorZoneFB.
Injury news - Alex Anzalone had shoulder surgery yesterday and will miss remainder of spring. Bullard and Riggs tweaked hamstrings.— GatorZone Football (@GatorZoneFB) March 19, 2013
Heading into spring, Anzalone was expected to compete for playing time in the Gators defense. Florida saw impact linebackers Jon Bostic, Jelani Jenkins and Lerentee McCray all depart for the draft after 2012, so getting in the talented Anzalone for spring was a huge acquisition for the defense.
Will Anzalone play for the Gators in 2013?
Anzalone is built to fill the void that is being left on the outside by Jelani Jenkins, and he still has a shot to secure playing time over summer and into the fall.
He is a rangy prospect that covers ground quickly and plays equally well against the run and pass. He is average in limited blitz plays on film and has difficulty scraping bigger blockers at times.
A summer in Gainesville will help that with time spent in the weight room.
Now the Gators will have to wait for the 6’3”, 230-pounder to heal up for the summer before he can strap up the pads and get into the thick of the linebacker competition.
Florida has thrived with young linebackers in the past and Will Muschamp has a propensity to find young stars and turn them into productive players in their early years.
Anzalone will be no different.
Despite the surgery and missed field time, Anzalone is still able to take mental reps and learn the defense. This minor setback won’t affect his quest for playing time in 2013.
(h/t College Football Talk)