With the 2011-12 athletic season now in the books and the 2012-13 season about to begin, the focus has shifted to the return of Florida Gators football. For the second-straight year, OGGOA will take a look at every player of substance on the roster, counting down by jersey number, in this series: The Countdown.
Updated on Aug. 14 to include five freshmen.
99 – Omar Hunter (Buford, GA)
Redshirt senior defensive tackle
6’1” 314 lbs.
Quick Bio: A Parade and EA Sports All-American out of high school, Hunter is a five-star recruit who redshirted in 2008. He majors in social & behavioral sciences.
Career Stats (42 games): 71 tackles (35 solo, 7.5 for loss), sack, forced fumble, fumble recovery, pass defense, blocked field goal
2011 Season: After starting six games the season before, Hunter earned that distinction just once last year but played in all 13 contests and posted his best statistical season. His only start came in the Gator Bowl against Ohio State where he notched a season-high five tackles and the first forced fumble of his career. Hunter registered a career-high 31 tackles in 2011 and also recorded his first career sack and fumble recovery.
2012 Outlook: Though he was limited due to injury last spring, Hunter wound up putting together a solid season despite the fact that he had to compete with numerous other talented interior defensive linemen for playing time. With junior Dominique Easley recovering from injury and likely to see more time at defensive end this season, Hunter should be a starter on the inside in 4-3 sets alongside junior Sharrif Floyd. As one of five seniors on the defensive unit (and one of three five-year players on that side of the ball), he hopes to serve as a leader and veteran presence for a unit should be the Gators’ strongest in 2012.
98 – Quinteze Williams (Tyrone, GA)
Freshman defensive lineman
6’5” 276 lbs.
Quick Bio: A three-star recruit coming out of high school, Williams both defensive line positions and could be a very versatile player for Florida in the near future.
2012 Outlook: Though Muschamp said at the time of his commitment that “the sky’s the limit” for him and that he will get into the mix immediately, Williams has not been mentioned much thus far in fall camp. In all likelihood, with a number of experienced veterans and other talented freshman also competing for time, Williams will be relegated to a reserve role.
Check out seven more players in this edition of The Countdown…after the break!
97 – Brad Phillips (Gainesville, FL)
5’10 173 lbs.
Quick Bio: A walk-on who enrolled at Florida in 2010, Phillips is a former National Honor Society president who is studying pre-pharmacy at UF.
Career Stats (six games): 24 kickoffs for 1,508 yards (62.8 average), 2/3 field goals (long: 43), 2/2 extra points
2011 Season: Phillips filled in for redshirt senior Caleb Sturgis on kickoffs, playing against Georgia, Vanderbilt and South Carolina. He also hit two-of-three field goals and two extra points against the Bulldogs.
2012 Outlook: Phillips will continue to backup Strugis should he get injured or the team decide that he is the better option to handle kick-offs.
96 – Jafar Mann (Stone Mountain, GA)
Freshman defensive lineman
6’3” 314 lbs.
Quick Bio: A pure defensive tackle, Mann was a three-star recruit coming out of high school who brings a lot of size to the Gators.
2012 Outlook: Like Williams, Mann may not see much if any field time in 2012 though his size and strength gives Florida a player to work with in the future. “He is a guy who, in my opinion, is going to be very coachable,” Muschamp said of him in February. “He can move, he can run, and he can play the game.”
95 – Alex McCalister (Clemmons, NC)
Freshman defensive lineman
6’6” 222 lbs.
Quick Bio: Another three-star prospect, McCalister has tremendous athleticism and is one of the diamonds in the rough as it comes to the Gators’ 2012 recruiting class due to his overall lack of experience.
2012 Outlook: Much like Williams and Mann, McCalister is unlikely to see much action in 2012 though he will have an opportunity to improve in practice and potentially make an impact in 2013. “Alex McCalister is a guy that came to our camp, he broad jumped over 10 feet, close to a 40” vertical leap. A guy that is 6’6” and 220 lbs., his best football is ahead of him,” Muschamp said. “That’s a very, very explosive athlete and a guy that hasn’t played a whole lot of football.”
94 – Bryan Cox, Jr. (Clemmons, NC)
Freshman defensive end
6’3” 235 lbs.
Quick Bio: The son of former NFL linebacker Bryan Cox (who played 12 seasons in the league), Cox, Jr. was a three-star prospect moved to South Florida for his senior year of high school and helped lead his new team to a 10-3 record. His final position has yet to be determined as the coaching staff believes he can play on the end, inside and even at linebacker.
2012 Outlook: This season will be a developmental one for Cox, who defensive coordinator Dan Quinn believes can be a great player for Florida in the future. “When you watch his tape, he strikes guys, he knocks them back and he plays physical,” he said in February. “That’s kind of the style all defenses like to play. Who wouldn’t want a defensive player tough as nails?”
93 – Kedric Johnson (Hoover, AL)
Redshirt junior defensive end
6’4” 232 lbs.
Quick Bio: A three-star recruit coming out of high school, Johnson redshirted in 2009 even though he dressed for the first seven games of the season.
Career Stats (25 games): nine tackles (four solo, 3.5 for loss), sack, pass defense
2011 Season: He was cited for misdemeanor possession of marijuana in January but stayed in the coaches’ good graces and saw action as a reserve in every regular season game for the second-straight year. Johnson recorded his first career sack but did not participate in the Gator Bowl.
2012 Outlook: Johnson injured his shoulder prior to the bowl game and missed all of spring practice as he sat out taking part in rehabilitation activities. He will likely remain a reserve and special teams performer this season as the defensive line is one of Florida’s strongest overall units.
91 – Earl Okine (Gainesville, FL)
Redshirt senior defensive end
6’7” 266 lbs.
Quick Bio: Third-team All-State coming out of high school, Okine was a four-star recruit who redshirted his freshman season after dressing for six games and saw his first game action in 2009. He will play full-time on the defensive line for the second-straight season after shuffling to-and-from tight end in 2010.
Career Stats (29 games): 15 tackles (11 solo, two for loss), sack, pass defense
2011 Season: Playing his first full season as a defensive lineman, Okine saw action in all 13 games and registered a team-high four quarterback hurries in 2011. He notched a career-high three tackles to begin the season against Florida Atlantic and also recorded his first career pass defense against Vanderbilt.
2012 Outlook: Okine worked at both tackle and end last spring as he looked to find a permanent position but spent this spring mostly at end. He is down 16 pounds from a year ago and should see the most action of his career in his final season though his final spot on the depth chart may not be determined until fall practice concludes.
90 – Jonathan Bullard (Shelby, NC)
Freshman defensive end
6’3” 271 lbs.
Quick Bio: One of the prizes of the Gators’ 2012 recruiting class, Bullard was a five-star prospect who was rated the No. 6 overall player in the country. He recorded 16 sacks as a senior in high school and received plenty of recognition for being an outstanding player.
2012 Outlook: Bullard was expected to come in and contribute right away at a position of need for Florida, but his inability to get enrolled during the summer caused him to miss some important practice time. He was able to get cleared and enrolled before fall practice began and has yet to miss any time since. Florida defensive line coach Bryant Young was impressed with him before he even stepped on campus. “He’s just a big body on the edge that plays with a lot of energy and juice,” he said. “He plays with good technique, has a motor and has a love of what he does out there on the field.”