Fearless freshmen forecast

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The 2009 recruiting season has been through for months, but with fall practice set to begin in just a couple days, I felt it was on necessary to officially welcome Florida’s new freshmen to the world of college football — by predicting their fates.

Nick Alajajian OL (Naples): Arrived in Gainesville in January and looked like a beast on the line. He’s added some nice bulk and looks ready to play. In high school he was a manchild on the line and literally threw defensive tackles around like rag dolls. These defensive tackles are on a different level in college and with the depth on the line, getting consistant reps with the first two teams could be tough.

Jon Bostic LB (Wellington, Palm Beach Central): Was a safety, a cornerback and a linebacker in high school. He played linebacker the least, but was recruited and signed as one. He didn’t look too raw during spring practice and made so much headway that coach Urban Meyer and senior leader Brandon Spikes praised him whenever they could. Spikes is mentoring him, and Meyer said he’ll get on the field this fall. Expect him to run with the first team at middle linebacker when Spikes is sitting out.

Gary Brown DT (Quincy, West Gadsden): He was one of the most dominant defenders in the state of Florida the last two years. Somehow he had 114 tackles and 26 sacks as a DT his junior year. Shape could be an issue for him this fall. The Gators have depth on the line, but Meyer and defensive line coach Dan McCarney are always looking to keep some sort of rotation on the line.

Andre Debose WR (Sanford, Seminole): Named the star of the class by Meyer and most recruitniks. Debose was expected to come in and take over Percy Harvin’s position (had more than 2,000 yards at receiver, running back and quarterback and rushed for 1,332 yards on 117 carries and scored 12 touchdowns as a senior), but he reported this summer a bit on the small size. I think he set up a cot at the Gator Dining hall. He also was slowed by a hamstring injury but is expected to be fine. We’ll see how well he handles the hype now that those Harvin comparrisons he hates will be blown out of porportion.

Dee Finley S (New Berlin, N.Y., Milford Academy): Was one of the defensive stars this spring, regardless of class. He’s going to push for time immediately because he’s way too talented and could line up in the nickel or at either safety position. Should get a lot of special teams reps.

Mike Gillislee RB (Deland): Might have been the most unheralded skill player in Florida. He rushed for 1,118 yards on 197 carries and 11 touchdowns during his senior season. He looked good and a little bigger at the Gator Charity Challenge. Expect him to get some decent reps in the backfield, especially if Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey are still feeling those hamstring injuries.

Jon Halapio OL (St. Petersburg, Catholic): He looks intimidating but sounds peaceful. But that intimidation takes hold when he’s on the football field. He and offensive coordinator Steve Addazio have a great relationship and he’s got that work ethic that UF’s coaches will love. Moving up the depth chart could be tough because of all those bodies.

Jonotthan Harrison OL (Groveland, South Lake): He made some noise by enrolling early and holding his own on the line. He’s got good size and is ahead of guys who weren’t on campus in spring.

Edwin Herbert DT (San Francisco, Cali., City College of San Francisco): Was a surprise pickup in the first place and was buried during the spring. He’s a JUCO transfer and needs to make his presence known now or he’ll just be another body.

Jelani Jenkins LB (Olney, Md., Our Lady Of Good Counsel): He’s not even old enough to get into a club in Gainesville, but he didn’t play like that in high school. He was arguably the top linebacker in the country and even with the depth and skill level at linebacker he’ll push everyone. The amount of reps he gets could depend on the Dustin Doe situation.

Kedric Johnson DE (Palmetto): His body type reminded me a lot of Jermaine Cunningham, but can he play like him? Seeing him recently, he’s still a bit small and he didn’t play that traditional defensive end position in high school. He stood up a lot and he’ll have to learn how to play with his hand down.

Kyle Koehne OL (Indianapolis, Ind., Cathedral): Definitely added some (good) bulk this summer. He’s another lineman who will have to wait his turn because of everyone ahead of him on the depth chart.

Xavier Nixon OL (Fayetteville, N.C., Jack Britt): He was a monster in high school and after seeing him the other day, he looks more like a defensive end than an offensive tackle. It’s not a bad look for him and he’ll challenge at one of those open OT spots.

Desmond Parks TE (Greer, S.C.): Looked scrawny in January and beefy in April. A knee injury cost him the latter part of his spring, but should be fine for fall camp. He’s got to perform well because he’s the only scholarship tight end behind Aaron Hernandez.

Jordan Reed (New London, Conn.): An ankle injury slowed him during his senior year, but that shouldn’t be an issue now. He’s said he’s learned a lot from talking with quarterbacks coach Scot Loeffler and will get some reps in camp. However, pushing past John Brantley will be a tall order. He’ll probably be studying more than anything.

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