Recruiting in-depth: Defensive Breakdown

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Thanks to gaining two new pledges in the month of July, Florida's commitment list for the class of 2014 is beginning to fill up. Due, in part, to signing a bigger than anticipated class last year, the Gators are looking to sign anywhere from 21-22 (unless there is once again an abnormal amount of attrition) this time around. With 12 commitments already on board, that leaves but 10 or so remaining slots.
Now that Florida has at least halfway met their needs at a couple of key positions, most notably cornerback, the question is - at which positions will those final 10 openings be utilized?
It is hard to say.
That isn't a dodge.
With Florida's talent level increasing significantly across the board over the last couple of signing classes, the Gators are in an enviable position of being able to take the best available prospects rather than 'drafting for need' so to speak.
Then of course, there is the unknown. There are simply too many variables at play to say that the final number will absolutely be 21-22. Last year, at this time, no one thought Florida would in a position to take 30 plus signees. The same holds true this time around. With six months to go until Signing Day, it is unknown if there will be any further transfers, career ending injuries, players changing positions, players leaving early, etc...
Though there are multiple offers out according to the database and UF is keeping in contact with a multitude of players, because there are only so many slots remaining, the number of players UF is very actively recruiting isn't that large. The number on the board is dwindling for now, but could expand once the season begins and players begin to emerge.
So with that in mind ITG will attempt to break down how the final ten or so slots will be distributed as of today.
Defensive End
Committed: Justus Reed (6-5, 235) St. Petersburg, Fla.
Needs: 1-2
Ones to watch: Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, Ga.) / Da'Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va.) / Lorenzo Featherston (Greensboro, NC) / Gerald Willis III (New Orleans, La.) / Dewayne Hendrix (O'Fallon, Ill.) / Davon Godchaux (Plaquemine, La.) / DaVonte Lambert (Milledgeville, Ga.)
The Skinny: It is still up in the air just where three-star Gator commitment Reed will play at the next level. He isn't as big as he is listed (measured in at 6-3 at UF this summer). He could end up at BUCK or defensive end. At this time the Gators are still in the driver seat for prized BUCK five-star target Carter, and also are looking for a strong side defensive end to close the class. The Gators could pick up another commitment at this position on August 13th when JUCO defensive end Lambert picks between UF, Tennessee and Auburn.
Defensive Tackle
Committed: Khairi Clark (6-2, 325) Hollywood, Fla.
Needs: 1
Ones to watch: Thomas Holley (Brooklyn, NY.) / Anthony Moten (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
The Skinny: Because of the numbers Florida currently has on the interior of the defensive line, it wouldn't hurt if the Gators aren't able to add another prospect other than Clark this cycle. They would take Holley (as would any program), but Moten may have missed his shot.
Committed: None
Needs: 1
Ones to watch: Raekwon McMillan (Hinesville, Ga.) / Clifton Garrett (Jolliet, Ill.) / Dwight Williams (Gardena, Calif.)
The Skinny: Florida has pursued several top teir linebacker prospects, but have yet to strike gold. One thing to keep in mind, while this position isn't the biggest need for the Gators (especially after signing four of the nation's best linebackers in 2013), there is still a need to take preferably a middle linebacker candidate. The Gators have a few names on the board, but none are locks to be in the 2014 class down the road.
Committed: None
Needs: 0
Ones to watch: Jamal Adams (Lewisville, Tx.)
The Skinny: It sounds like a broken record, but truthfully the safety position isn't a big need in 2014 after signing Marcell Harris, Keanu Neal and Nick Washington last year, one year after taking Marcus Maye and Brian Poole in 2013. With with Rivals100 member Adams having high interest in the Gators, he is too talented to pass up, but Florida doesn't need to reach at this position.
Committed: Duke Dawson (5-11, 195) Cross City, Fla. / J.C. Jackson (5-10, 175) Immokalee, Fla.
Needs: 1-2
Ones to watch: Adoree' Jackson (Gardena, Ca.) / Jalen Tabor (Washington, (D.C.) / Quincy Wilson (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) / Parrker Westphal (Bolingbrook, IL.) / Chris Lammons (Plantation, Fla.) / Grant Haley (Atlanta, Ga.)
The Skinny: Finally, here it is, a position of great need. The Gators were only able to sign one cornerback last year (though a great one in Vernon Hargreaves III) and could be on the verge of losing their top three current players to the NFL after the season. So, here is a position where Florida not only has two top targets currently committed, but needs to add two more. That might not be hard to do with what Florida has on the board at this time. If this plays out the way it looks like it will, this should be a 'home run' type of haul at cornerback for the Gators.
The Offensive Breakdown ran on Tuesday.