New Freak at Florida

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Over the years, quite a few physical freaks have come through the program at Florida. The two that first come to mind are linebacker Jevon Kearse and, more recently, defensive end Carlos Dunlap. Both had a rare combination of size, speed and strength.

Now, it’s time to introduce the Gators’ newest Freak.

Jaye Howard.

Howard came to Florida as a 230-pound defensive end. Now, the junior from Apopka is a 310-pound starting (and very imposing) defensive tackle. And here’s the scary part: He’s running around out there like a defensive end or linebacker, making plays all over the field.

“He’s doing really good,” junior defensive end William Green said. “He’s over 300 pounds and he’s very fast. He’s almost as fast as I am. He’s a very fast guy, and very strong. His potential … the sky is the limit.”

By all accounts, Howard has been dominant in camp. When coaches or players are asked about who the top players are right now on defense, Howard’s name comes up every time.

Howard says he’s just competing as hard as he can every day.

“With the competition, if you miss one practice, your job is up for grabs. You have to keep pushing through,” he said.

Howard said those 310 pounds he is carrying aren’t a burden.

“I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been, but I’m able to run with it,” he said. “I’m comfortable with it.”

He’s a Freak with it.

Howard and starting nose tackle Omar Hunter are giving the UF defense a very strong look in the middle.

“Omar and I are really working good together,” Howard said. “We have a great bond together.”

15 COMMENTS

  1. I read that the Gators are going to run a lot of 3 man fronts….why?…when you have Howard, Hunter, Marsh, Sanders, Floyd, Ealey…..but then….you do have both Jelani Jenkins and Joe Bostic at middle linebacker. Am I the only one getting really excited about the potential of this defense?

  2. Um “very fast, very strong”…310 pounds..anyone think of using him on short and 2, 3rd down plays as a running back? Just occasionally. Might take care of the loss of Tebow as a runner! Bet he played both defense and offense in high school. That would be a cool experiment!!

  3. Um “very fast, very strong”…310 pounds..anyone think of using him on short and 2, 3rd down plays as a running back? Just occasionally. Might take care of the loss of Tebow as a runner! Bet he played both defense and offense in high school. That would be a cool experiment!!
    by Paul

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    Actually Paul, since they tape the fingers together of the linemen to keep them from being broken, he wouldn’t be a very good RB. Couldn’t hold onto the ball well. Maybe he could be a blocker.

  4. I love the idea of throwing some huge monster back there to just crush some poor dude trying to tackle him. Bone-jarring, jaw-breaking, concussing load of a man–give him the ball at least once. I think the fans would love it. Imagine having Demps and Howard in the backfield. As a tackler, which would you choose–a pulled hammie or being knocked out and concussed?

    I can’t freaking wait til gametime. This has been the longest summer.

  5. Thanks for the note Lizardgrad89. Wonder of he could wear a leather mitten or elastic wrap that he could take off and put back on during the game. I would still love to see what he could do with out 2010 line moving defenders out of the way so his 310 pounds would be against cornerbacks and safeties. Also a distraction for passes and our speedster running backs if he’s in there.

    Guess I’m just old school (UF-’72 & ’80) and would love to watch some hard nose, smashmouth football along with all of our great speed. I know we have a great coach in Urban Meyer and I am in NO way critcizing his programs and strategies. Just sharing some thoughts. Think of what speed AND POWER football could do!!

    Please take this simply as wondering and thinking, not telling Coach Meyer what to do. HE is the Coach, not me!