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The Florida linebacking core is led by redshirt sophomore Jelani Jenkins and junior Jonathon Bostic. The duo came into Florida as highly touted recruits, and waited their turn to run the defense. This is their time now, and the pair is making the most of the opportunity. Both were named to the preseason watch list for the Butkus award, an award given annually to the nation's top linebacker.
Bostic is the Mike linebacker in Quinn's new defensive scheme, and is leading the team in tackles with 16. He has also added three tackles for loss, and one sack on the season. Bostic combines size (6 foot 1, 243 lbs) with a speed rare for someone his size, and is a big leader on the Gator defense.
Jelani Jenkins is the other leader. Jenkins has superior speed for a linebacker, and it shows in his stats. He has compiled 13 tackles, one tackle for loss, one sack, one quarterback hurry, and four passes broken up.
While the four pass break ups look good, several of those should have been interceptions. The dropped interceptions have to be frustrating for Jenkins, but it can easily be corrected. Expect Jenkins to spend some time in front of a jugs machine this week in practice.
The will linebacker is Lerentee McCray. McCray has stepped up and impressed this season. The junior made the move from defensive end to strong-side linebacker this off season, and the position seems to suit him better. McCray has seven tackles, three and a half for loss, one quarterback hurry, and two passes broken up.
The unit is responsible for getting the plays in from the sideline, and relaying the call to the rest of the team. Being able to communicate amongst themselves is an area where they have excelled. This unit has been solid this far, and Gator fans should expect them to remain solid the rest of the year.