Gators need defensive tackles

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The loss of Torrey Davis and John Brown poses a new issue for Florida in the 2010 recruiting class. With those two still on the roster, the Gators would have had nine defensive tackles on the roster entering spring practice and would have had 10 to start the fall.

They lose two guys that began their careers with a heavy dose of hype, but neither ever lived up to his potential.

Still, they would have been valuable bodies on a line that will have Brandon Antwine and Troy Epps (the lone senior) sitting out spring practices while they rehab from knee injuries. That gives UF just five healthy bodies on the line to work with in the next couple of months. And who knows about the injuries that could occur.

The Gator staff will have to switch things up a bit in the 2010 recruiting class to find a couple more bodies to put on the line. The Gators currently have four juniors at the position and none figure to test the NFL waters, but it’s always better safe than sorry.

Florida is a bit behind this year. Three of the five prospects UF has offered have already committed elsewhere, but here are a few prospects who have interest in the Gators:

Louis Nix – Jacksonville, Raines – 6-foot-2, 320 pounds – Nix might be committed to Miami, but he has visited UF a couple of times since his commitment and he’s turned into a “soft” Hurricane verbal. Nix is a huge prospect. It’s not just his physical stature, but he’s a solid player. He’s been relatively quiet for a couple weeks, but the feeling is that UF is looking good for Nix’s services.

Jeffrey Whitaker – Warner Robins, Ga., Warner Robins – 6-foot-3, 285 pounds – Whitaker is a beast on the line. He literally takes kids with him into the backfield when he gets going. He’s highly interested in Georgia right now, but the loss of Brown and Davis could entice the Georgia star to travel south to Gainesville. Whitaker had 50 tackles and one sack during his sophomore year.

Calvin Barnett – Tulsa, Booker T. Washington – 6-foot-3, 292 pounds – It’s been kind of tough for UF to grab talent out of the state of Oklahoma, but Barnett has a lot of early interest in the Gators. He’s quicker off the line than most defensive tackle prospects and delivers quite a blow. He has an offer from UF and could make it to campus this summer at some point for a camp.

Tavaris Barnes – Jacksonville, First Coast – 6-foot-5, 250 pounds – He’s a little light at the position, but has the height to play at end if needed. He’s a bit raw and still hasn’t gotten an offer from the Gators, but if he impresses at a camp this summer he could get one. Plus, he’s basically playing in UF’s backyard and the staff won’t want to let players with potential like his get away.