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Expert Opinion: Class of 2016 Signee Film Breakdown IV

Though the Letters of Intent have been signed and faxed in, Inside the Gators isn't quite ready to move on from the class of 2016 just yet.

Today, in order give a more complete look at the Florida signees, NFL Network, NFL Films analyst Matt Hamilton shares his expert opinion on Florida's signing class.

All evaluations were based solely off each player's highlight film. Scouts usually need at least three full game tapes of a player to get a full evaluation of his skill set, strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies. More so, scouts prefer the tapes not to be from consecutive games. Highlight tapes only show off a few physical traits and some tendencies as far as technique is concerned, making it hard to get an overall assessment of where a player truly stands. By it's very nature, it shows the prospect at his best and will lead to a more positive review than if you were to see an entire game tape.

It is also important to keep in mind things like practice habits,health status and character go a long way in determining recruits' future success.

Having said that, here is what I observed from watching their highlight tapes:





• Linebacker Jeremiah Moon Moon is a long, intuitive linebacker who can play either Mike or Sam at the next level. Has good speed, above average feet and hips. Takes excellent angles to the ballcarrier. While he will make aggressive plays and shoot gaps, he maintains his gap responsibility and doesn’t take unnecessary risks. Has excellent instincts, vision, and patience. Will take on blocks, but needs to improve his leverage and use of his hands. Plays a little high at times. A talented blitzer with good acceleration. Appears to be a little uncomfortable in coverage and will need polish in that regard. Overall, Moon has the mind and physical traits of an excellent football player, but will benefit greatly from time in the weight room and refining his technique.

• Kicker Eddy Pineiro I never thought I’d say this about a kicker, but Pineiro is one of the most intriguing recruits in this class. He has an absolute monster leg, and while we may not see him attempting a 77-yard field goal in a game, the fact that he has that kind of range is remarkable and should help him stay consistent even in bad weather and wind conditions. The other thing that amazes me is that he makes his kicks with a quick and efficient approach to the ball. I’ve seen kickers make long kicks in shorts against air, but most take their time and really load up. He took the same approach he’d take in a game. He is also an excellent kickoff guy, and the Gators may go four years without seeing a return against them. I still would like to see him do all of this live and in pads before I get too excited, but if he lives up to his potential, Pineiro could make for an incredible weapon. Especially given Florida’s struggles in the kicking game last year, this is a big get for Coach McElwain.

• Defensive End Jachai Polite Polite is an every-down defensive end with a good get-off and excellent awareness. Has good straight-line speed, pursuit speed, and acceleration. Uses his hands well in the run game, frequently driving his man into the backfield and blowing up plays. Sets the edge well when he is on the outside. Isn’t a natural bender and lacks a variety of pass rush moves, but can win with his speed. Doesn’t have great change of direction. Plays a little high at times. Has very good instincts, recognizing screens and getting his hands into passing lanes when he can’t get to the QB. Overall, Polite will benefit greatly from getting in the weight room and developing some more pass rush moves, but there is always room for a guy with his instincts who can play both the run and the pass as well as he does.

• Cornerback Joseph PutuPutu is a physical and instinctive CB with excellent size and length. Had 10 INTs, 8 fumble recoveries, and 5 forced fumbles last year. Has excellent ball skills and good change of direction when breaking on balls. Plays the ball very well in the air and takes advantage of his long arms. Has good, but not great game speed. Uses his body well to keep receivers pinned to the sideline on go routes. Gets out of his backpedal well. Has excellent awareness in zone coverage and the ability to diagnose route concepts and jump them. Always attacks the ball when tackling and is a sound tackler in space. Is an absolute turnover-producing machine. Can get caught on some double moves at times, but my only main concern is the quality of competition he faced on his tape. Nevertheless, Putu reminds me of Charles Tillman in that he may not be the most athletic player on the field, but his physical play and smarts put him in the position to make a ton of plays. He’s an intriguing player and definitely worth keeping an eye on going forward.

• Linebacker David Reese Reese is a tough, downhill, bruising mike linebacker. He has decent speed, strength, and pursuit speed. He makes up for not having great speed by taking excellent angles and has very good vision and instincts. Excellent tackler, sound fundamentally and delivers a pop. Would like to see him take on blockers squarely more consistently. Has the speed and acceleration to shoot gaps. Is an above average blitzer on passing downs. Has above average feet and hips. Not much tape of him in coverage, which suggests it may not be his strong suit. Overall, Reese is an excellent player in the box with good instincts, but will need to prove he can cover consistently and play in space in order to be an every down Mike in the SEC. Reese has the physical and mental traits to get there, but it’s hard to give him a complete projection without seeing him in coverage.

• Defensive End Jordan Smith Smith is a long, athletic, and explosive pass rusher. Good strength, feet, and hips. Above average holding the edge against the run. Good speed, acceleration, and pursuit speed. Good tackler. Good awareness to get his hands up and bat down balls when he can’t get to the passer. Has an excellent motor. Very raw, doesn’t play with his hands consistently, and lacks a variety of pass rush moves. Has the frame to get much stronger once he gets in the Gators’ strength and conditioning program. Overall, Smith is undoubtedly raw, but his athleticism and frame give him the potential to be a dominant force off the edge in a few years.

• Safety Jeawon Taylor Taylor is a physical and dynamic strong safety who can do it all. He has very good speed, acceleration, and range. Has good hips and feet, although his backpedal can use refinement. Flies around the field with abandon in the best possible way, always seems to play at his top speed. A very good tackler that lays big hits regularly. Has good ball skills and instincts. Can play in the box and defend the run well, taking excellent angles and using his speed to knife through the backfield. Is a talented blitzer who can rack up some sacks as well. Overall, Taylor possesses every trait you look for in a safety and with continued development, especially in the film room, there is no reason why he can’t become a star.

Overall Impressions of the Defensive Signees: The Gators may have only landed a few high profile recruits on the defensive side of the ball, but this crop is loaded with potential. There may not be a ton of early returns from this group, but don’t be misled by the class rankings or stars. While they may not all pan out, I strongly believe that Florida will produce some studs out of a few of these under-the-radar signees.

Overall Impressions of the 2016 Class: While other SEC schools may have landed some higher profile recruits and there may be 5 SEC schools ranked higher than Florida on Rivals’ list, I believe that Coach McElwain hit an absolute home run with this class. The Gators’ addressed some of their biggest weaknesses by adding explosive playmakers in the passing game, competition at the QB position, and one of the best kicking prospects I have ever seen. More than the talent, what stands out to me about this group in general is the football I.Q. I feel like I wrote the word instinctive and intuitive a lot in my breakdowns, which is not something I typically do. They added football players, not just athletic specimens. I see a ton of potential and depth in this group and I look forward to seeing how it pans out. Coach McElwain certainly put his stamp on the program with this one.




Running backs

Wide receivers



Jabari Zuniga

Luke Ancrum

Kalif Jackson

Brandon Sandifer

Nick Buchanan

Richerd Desir-Jones

Rayshad Jackson


Josh Grady Parting Thoughts: I | II | III

--In-depth look at Florida Football: Subscriber Q&A with Josh Grady I | II

Anthony Harrell Parting Thoughts: I | II

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