1standTenFlorida - Auburn grad-transfer DT DaQuan Newkirk commits to the Gators
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Auburn grad-transfer DT DaQuan Newkirk commits to the Gators

The Gators reeled in a much-needed commitment along the defensive line on Thursday as Auburn transfer DaQuan Newkirk announced his plans to join Dan Mullen's program as a grad transfer.

Newkirk, an Orlando native who checks in at 6-foot-3, 317 pounds, recorded 28 tackles (8 solo) and 1.5 sacks during the 2020 season.

He spent his freshman season at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and joined forces with Auburn just prior to the 2018 season. He battled injuries over those next two seasons, recording a combined 10 tackles, one sack and a fumble recovery, so there is no doubt 2020 was Newkirk's coming out party.

According to Newkirk, he will be arriving in Gainesville "by the weekend."

"I can keep it short and simple. (I picked UF) because it’s home," Newkirk told GatorsTerritory. "I wanted to go out with a bang for my last season, so I told myself, 'why not do it at home?'

"I think the biggest role was my family. It’s so close to home."

Antonio Shelton, another grad-transfer defensive tackle, recently committed to the Gators as well after previously strapping up the pads for Penn State.

With Kyree Campbell NFL-bound and Tedarrell Slaton likely the same, it's no surprise the Gators have turned to the NCAA Transfer Portal in hopes of adding depth along the interior defensive line.

Marlon Dunlap Jr. is a redshirt senior and could possibly return, but much of the load would have been carried by rising sophomores Gervon Dexter and Jalen Lee. Newkirk fills a significant need on the field and is an upperclassman who will also provide leadership and experience along the defensive front.

Stay tuned to GatorsTerritory.