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NCAA Football Florida GatorsSEC Football

University of Florida Player to Watch on Defense-Jonathan Bullard

Jonathan Bullard

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The University of Florida Gators are going to have to make some big changes in 2013 on defense. There’s a real possibility that one of the best defenses in all of college football will be playing six new starters in the upcoming season. This is a Gators team that built its reputation on its aggressive, swarming and attacking defense. In order to maintain that reputation these young players are going to really need to step up, and key among those will be defensive end Jonathan Bullard.

Bullard is only a true sophomore, but even as a freshman last year he showed flashes of his athleticism in spot duty. At 6-3 and 270lbs he’s got a tremendous potential. He’s still growing and could end up filling out to a point he moves inside, but for now he’s going to be a key piece of the defensive line rotation on the outside. He’s got great instincts, a strong first step, and plays with impressive energy. He’s got a high football IQ for a player so young, and I won’t be at all shocked to see him starting at one end in 2013.

If this team wants to repeat what it did in 2012, they need that one dominant defensive lineman. Last season is was defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, and this year I am guessing it’s going to be Bullard. Word is Dominique Easley ended the season near 290 and if that’s the case, he would likely slide inside to the spot vacated by Floyd, and that leaves a spot for Bullard on the outside. I expect huge things from this young man in 2013 and Gators fans should as well. The Gators defensive staff are going to spend a lot of time in the Spring and Fall practices finding out just how many ways they can utilize Bullard in the defense. Don’t be shocked if he ends up with double digit sacks and close to 18 tackles for loss. He really is that kind of special player.

Curt covers the Pittsburgh Steelers, the NFL draft, and college football for Rant Sports. Connect with Curt on Twitter @nfldraftboard.