As we and many other media outlets have talked about leading up to the January 2nd Sugar Bowl against the No. 3 Florida Gators (11-1), the No. 21 Louisville Cardinals (10-2) will have their work cut out for them in trying to move the ball and score points against the 5th best overall defense in the FBS. This will be Cardinal Dominance’s second look into a six part series introducing you to the Gator defense and offense broken down in positional groups. The groups are: offensive line, offensive backs, receivers, defensive line, linebackers and defensive backs. Senior writer, Lakinit introduced you to the Gator’s offensive line yesterday so today I will introduce you to the very big and very athletic defensive line.
Florida’s defensive line is led by 6-foot-3, 303 pound junior defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd with 11 tackles for loss, 1 sack and 6 quarterback hurries and Dominique Easley, a 6-foot-2, 280 pound junior defensive tackle with 4 sacks, 5 tackles for loss and 1 fumble recovery. Floyd is also fifth on the team in total tackles with 41. 6-foot-0, 313 pound red shirt senior defensive tackle, Omar Hunter is also a force on the line and is sixth on the team in tackles with 39 and adds 4 tackles for loss and 4 pass break ups. Florida is not only led by talented upperclassmen, they also have two of the best young defensive linemen in the SEC (not named Jadeveon Clowney) in Dante Fowler Jr. and Jonathan Bullard.
Fowler Jr., a 6-foot-3, 277 pound true freshman and was a five-star prospect ranked the No. 3 weak side defensive end and No. 28 recruit overall by Rivals.com…The No. 5 prospect in the state of Florida according to Rivals.com…Ranked in the Rivals100 national list (No. 28) as well as the ESPN 150 national list (No. 71)…Named an Honorable Mention All-American by Sports Illustrated and also competed in the 2012 Under Armour All-American Game. He chose Florida over Florida State, Southern Cal, Auburn, Georgia, LSU and Ohio State among others. On the season, Fowler has recorded 27 tackles, 6.5 TFL, 2.5 sacks and 1 quarterback hurry.
Bullard was also a five-star prospect according to Scout.com and Rivals.com. He was the No. 6 overall prospect by Rivals.com and the No. 2 prospect in the state of North Carolina behind fellow signee D.J. Humphries. Bullard was also ranked the No. 1 strong side defensive end recruit in the nation by Rivals.com and the No. 4 defensive end overall by ESPN and Scout.com…Ranked No. 37 on the ESPN 150…Named an Honorable Mention All-American by Sports Illustrated…Participated in the prestigious U.S. Army All-American Bowl…Selected to the AP All-State First Team as a senior…Recorded 82 tackles and 16 sacks during his senior season. Bullard chose Florida over Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, South Carolina and Nebraska. On the season, Bullard recorded 26 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, 1 pass break up and 7 quarterback hurries. Leon Orr (6-foot-5, 305 pound R-So.) also provides quality depth as a back-up collecting 13 tackles with 4.5 being behind the line of scrimmage and 1 sack.
The Gator defensive line is definitely a force to be reckoned with so Alex Kupper, John Miller, Mario Benavides, Jake Smith and Jamon Brown had better be ready for a war. As if the line wasn’t tough enough to go against, the Gator defensive backs and line backers are no walk in the park either. Check back daily with Cardinal Dominance for all of your Louisville Cardinal sporting news, scoops and recruiting news. Don’t forget, on December 17th Senior Writer, Lakinit will introduce you to the Gator wide receivers and tight ends. Then on the 18th, I’ll give you the low down on the very good defensive backs in the orange and blue before we finally finish up on 20th and 21stbreaking down the Florida backs (QB’s/RB’s) and the Gator line backers.
Reminder: Contact Rick and Jeff Tours ASAP to reserve your spot on what will be the most fun bowl trip you could ever go on. With their packages, you don’t have to worry about a thing other than showing up and having a great time with Cardinal fans!