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NFL Draft Profile: Gators LB David Reese

With less than a month before the 2020 NFL draft, Gators Territory continues to profile each of the Gators’ draft hopefuls.

Eight Florida players were selected to attend the NFL Combine this year, but one standout Gator didn’t receive an invitation.

Linebacker David Reese II led Florida’s defense with 88 total tackles this past season and recorded 316 over his career.

His career as a Gator began in 2016 when he played in 12 games and started four. He started out as a reserve linebacker and on special teams, but by the end of the season he secured the starter spot as the team dealt with injuries. He ended his debut season with 49 tackles, two for loss. He earned SEC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against LSU that sent the Gators to the SEC Championship game.

In that game against Alabama, Reese scored a touchdown after teammate Jabari Zuniga blocked an extra point. Reese missed the Gators’ bowl game due to wrist injuries. His freshman performance earned him Freshman All-America honors by Pro Football Focus and the FWAA and Freshman All-SEC by Gridiron Now.

By the start of his sophomore season, Reese was a consistent starter despite missing the offseason due to injury. He led the team in tackles with 102 and finished second in tackles for loss with 10. He recorded his first career interception against Tennessee and passed the 100-tackle mark in the final game of the season against Florida State. He earned Second Team All-SEC honors by Phil Steele and was named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll due to his performance on and off of the field.

Reese missed the first three games of the 2018 season with an ankle injury and finished second on the team with 77 tackles. His best performance of the season came in the Gators’ win over LSU, when he led the team with 11 tackles. He was named to the Bednarik Award and Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch lists during the season.

He started all 13 games his senior season and finished with 88 total tackles and two sacks. The best game of his college career came against Kentucky when he recorded 16 tackles and was named SEC Defensive Player of the Week and Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week. For the season as a whole, he was named to the AP All-SEC Second Team and Preseason Second Team All-SEC.

Normally players who don’t receive a Combine invite still have their pro day to look forward to, however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Reese won’t get that.

With teams relying solely on film for Reese, expect him to go as an undrafted free agent at the NFL draft on Apr. 23-25 in Las Vegas.