Florida position breakdown: Defensive line

Dominique Easley, left, and Sharrif Floyd are just two of severa proven starters up front on defense.

Doug Finger and Matt Stamey/ Staff photographers
Published: Sunday, August 19, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, August 18, 2012 at 10:06 p.m.

The Sun looks at the 2012 Florida football roster one position group at a time.


This is the sixth item in a series breaking down the Florida football roster. Next Sunday, we'll take a closer look at the special teams.

Defensive line

Probable depth chart


2-Dominique Easley

91-Earl Okine

90-Jonathan Bullard

98-Quinteze Williams

95-Alex McCalister


99-Omar Hunter

44-Leon Orr

96-Jafar Mann


73-Sharrif Floyd

4-Damien Jacobs

44-Leon Orr


34-Lerentee McCray

6-Dante Fowler

94-Bryan Cox

7-Ronald Powell

The upside

The Gators have lots of experience up front now with proven starters Sharrif Floyd, Dominique Easley, Omar Hunter and Lerentee McCray. The four have combined to start 48 games. One of the keys has been the healthy return of Easley, who underwent surgery after injuring his knee in the Florida State game. Easley, the starting nose tackle last season, has made the move to end, where his explosive first step gives him a chance to be a dynamic outside pass rusher. His move outside has allowed Floyd to move back inside to tackle, his more natural position. Playing tackle as a true freshman in 2010, Floyd blew up several plays and showed he has the potential to be a big-time playmaker inside. Hunter came on strong last season and said he's coming off the best offseason (by far) that he's had at UF. Another senior who has a chance to be a major contributor is Earl Okine, who has had a good camp so far. McCray, the starting strongside linebacker last season, has been making lots of plays in camp at his new position (Buck end/linebacker).

The downside

Ronald Powell, the nation's No. 1 prospect coming out of high school, was really coming into his own this spring, only to have his momentum stuffed when he sustained a torn ACL in the spring game. Although Powell is running and taking part in some drills at practice, there is no timetable for his return. He's expected to miss at least the first several games. He was showing all the signs of becoming a dynamic player before injuring his knee. Depth at Buck and the other D-line positions remains a concern. The back-up tackles — Leon Orr and Damien Jacobs — have flashed a lot of positives, but both need to improve their consistency, according to the coaches.

Young guy to watch

Dante Fowler, one of two five-star freshmen on the defensive line, is already making an impact. With starting Buck linebacker/defensive end Ronald Powell still recovering from knee surgery, Fowler is getting plenty of reps at the position behind senior starter Lerentee McCray, and is doing some impressive things, according to teammates and coaches. Several defensive players have said Fowler is going to be a beast, and that could start happening at some point early this season. He's still learning, still adjusting to a higher level of competition, but he appears to have all the physical tools to be a standout at a position that seems a perfect fit for his skill set.

Ranking the SEC defensive lines

1. LSU

2. Auburn

3. Georgia

4. Alabama

5. South Carolina

6. Florida

7. Arkansas

8. Texas A&M

9. Mississippi State

10. Tennessee

11. Missouri

12. Kentucky

13. Vanderbilt

14. Ole Miss

Next Sunday: Special teams

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