Maurkice and Michael Pouncey are identical twins. But ever since the two arrived in Gainesville as true freshmen offensive linemen in 2007, Michael has sort of been viewed as the other Pouncey.
Maurkice was a higher-rated prospect coming out of Lakeland High, and he moved right in as a starter at offensive guard as a true freshman, while Michael was a backup who actually saw some playing time at defensive tackle as a true freshman.
Now, the draft thing.
Maurkice was so highly rated by the NFL that he made the decision to enter the draft, while Michael felt it was best to return of his senior season, based on information he got back from the NFL.
So now, officially for the first time, Maurkice has moved ahead of Michael after being drafted in the first round by the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 18th overall selection.
Even as a prospect for the 2011 draft, Michael gets mixed reviews when compared to his twin. “He’s not quite as athletic as his twin brother,” according to ESPN.com’s Todd McShay, “but he shows good strength at the point of attack and plays with a similar mean streak.
But if you listen to UF offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Steve Addazio (which I did on an SEC coaches’ teleconference Thursday), Michael, who moved to center in the spring, has a chance to not only catch up to his identical twin, but maybe even pass him with a strong senior season.
“I think Mike can be even better (than Maurkice),” Addazio said. “With another year at that position, he can continue his development. In my opinion, (Mike) is the best offensive lineman in America. He’s tough, he’s physical, he’s smart, he’s a leader. He’s played guard, center, he even played tackle this spring.
“He has the opportunity to play all three positions. His versatility is incredible.”
A year from now, maybe Michael will be just like his twin — a first-round NFL draft pick.