We have reached the 43rd day on our Rant Sports, SEC: 50 Players In 50 Days countdown, today, we’ll take a look at Florida Gator linebacker, Jonathan Bostic.
Jonathan Bostic, LB, Florida:
The Florida Gators enter year two of the Will Muschamp era after year one only produced a 7-6 record. This is a critical year for the Gators as they are learning a new offensive scheme which will put even more pressure on Muschamp to keep his defense playing at a high level. Florida will return 10 starters from a defense, that in 2011, ranked eighth in the country in total defense.
The Gators did suffer a big blow in spring practice however, as Ronald Powell went down with a torn ACL. Powell was a big reason for the success of the Gator defense in 2011 as he combined 32 tackles with six sacks. The Gator medical staff expects Powell to return some time in the 2012 season as the recovery time is listed at four to six months.
With the loss of Powell, the defensive leader will be Jonathan Bostic. Bostic had a great year in 2011 and was a stat stuffer. Bostic was a tackling machine, as he finished the year with 94 and parlayed that with three sacks. He also led the Gators in tackles seven times, with eight or more in each of the seven and reached double digits three times. Bostic was also a major factor behind the line of scrimmage as he recorded 10 tackles for loss for a total of 57 yards.
Over his career, Bostic has improved every year and been a huge contributor on this Florida defense. He has appeared in 38 games, making 19 starts and has a total of 169 tackles in his three year career.
Bostic’s running mate at linebacker will be junior Jelani Jenkins. Jenkins and Bostic have a combined 42 starts which gives the Gators plenty of experience. Jenkins finished third on the team in tackles, but must get more consistent in making game changing plays to be considered among the elite in the SEC.
The Gators’ defense will have to carry this team until the offense can get going under new offensive coordinator Brent Peace. Peace came over from Boise State and gives coach Muschamp the power, pro style attack he has been looking for.
The schedule sets up nicely for the Gators with road trips to Texas A&M, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Florida State. The home schedule is huge with Bowling Green, Kentucky, LSU, South Carolina, Missouri, Louisiana and Jacksonville State, along with the annual trip to Jacksonville to take on Georgia in the “Cocktail Party.”