Sugar Bowl PreviewWednesday, January 02, 2013
Wednesday (1/2) 8:30 pm EST on ESPN
Florida vs Louisville, Sugar Bowl
Teddy B. versus the world. The Cardinals sophomore QB Teddy Bridgewater will be an extremely coveted prospect heading into his juniors season. Some will mischaracterize him and say he is a runner first, which is far from the truth. Bridgewater is extremely comfortable in the pocket, stepping up against edge pressure, while finding downfield targets. And yes, he can pick up yards with his feet. Florida’s defense is loaded with prospects, but their leader is one of the only seniors in LB Jon Bostic (#1/6’1/246). Although he lacks range, Bostic brings the hammer against run blockers and is a force on contact. His counterpart, junior LB Jelani Jenkins (#3/6’0/237), will miss the game. Up front, Louisville C Mario Benavides (#55/6’2/302) will battle junior DT Sharrif Floyd (#73/6’3/303) and senior DT Omar Hunter (#99/6’0/313). Benavides has limited reach, so he’ll have to work hard to latch on and sustain blocks, especially against these two. Hunter is a true nose tackle that plays in a two yard radius, while Floyd can anchor if neede or penetrate with brute strength or foot quickness. In the back half, junior S Matt Elam (#22/5’10/202) is an aggressive hitter with range to make plays in coverage. He could end up being the first safety off the board in April. Their most improved veteran defensive player may actually be DE Lerentee McCray (#34/6’2/249), who has impressed on the edge this season.
As much as McCray improved defensive, the surprise of the season for the Gators has to be RB Mike Gillislee (#23/5’11/210). He thrives on power or front side runs and has young legs due to the lack of work he received during his career. LT Xavier Nixon (#73/6’5/314) is an intriguing prospect that will likely be drafted earlier than many expect. He has struggled with weight, and in turn strength, but Nixon flashes athletic footwork and a nice frame. LB Preston Brown (#2/6’2/258) occasionally makes plays in the backfield and is one of the few Cardinals to watch defensively. Be on the lookout for Junior TE Jordan Reed (#11/6’3/243), as we think he could be the top joker selected in April. For how short of a time he has played the position, Reed is very comfortable in space as a receiver and in routes. We aren’t sure where junior FB Trey Burton (#8/6’2/228) projects at the NFL level, but he acts as a utility playmaker to help with the versatile playcalling.
Other Players To Watch
junior DE Dominique Easley (#2/6’2/280)
CB Jaylen Watkins (#14/6’0/187)
K Caleb Sturgis (#19/5’10/185)
junior RBs Jeremy Wright (#28/5’10/200)
CB Adrian Bushell (#21/5’10/190)
TE Nate Ford (#85/6’5/230)
WR Andrell Smith (#14/6’3/210)
LB Daniel Brown (#24/6’1/221)
S Hakeem Smith (#29/6’1/185) junior
T Alex Kupper (#66/6’3/285)