Scouting Report is a series that will run on Friday through the rest of the Florida football season, spotlighting players who could have major impacts on the Gators' games.
Florida's defensive line has improved as the season's gone on, especially against opponents' running games. Sharrif Floyd (So. DT) has been integral to that improvement, and we're scouting him in advance of Florida's early Saturday game against Vanderbilt with the hope that he'll anchor the Gators' line against the Commodores.
Floyd has good size for a defensive tackle, at 6'3" and 295 pounds. He would need a little more bulk to become a reliably effective run-stopper, and lacks the top-end acceleration necessary to be an elite pass-rusher from the tackle position. But he's also got enough of each to be versatile enough to play both inside and out on Florida's front line.
Floyd played for much of his freshman season, starting against Kentucky and in Florida's game against Penn State, and had 23 tackles and 6.5 tackles for loss over those 13 games in 2010. In 2011, over six games, he has 28 tackles, three for loss, and 25 of those tackles came during Florida's miserable winless October. As the competition's gotten tougher, Floyd's stepped up his game.
Floyd, you'll remember, was suspended for Florida's first two games of the 2011 season for taking money for what amounted to living expenses from a foundation that helps prospective NCAA athletes. And then Will Muschamp delivered a hellfire-and-brimstone sermon in Floyd's defense, and everyone realized just how highly this Florida staff values Floyd's character. Floyd might not be the visible leader of the Florida defense, but it would be safe to say he's not far off from the ideal temperament for Muschamp's program.
In Florida's Defense
Floyd's been shifted around on the line in Muschamp's 3-4 scheme, moving from tackle to end and back again. And he's much, much better as a tackle, where his quickness and strength (he's a touch slower than Dominique Easley, but stronger) has made him a reliable rotation player and run-stopper. Floyd could use some work as a pass rusher, but the sacks will come with time, hopefully.
Projection Vs. Vanderbilt
So far, the three players we've scouted for this series — Jeff Driskel before LSU, Mike Gillislee before Auburn, and Lerentee McCray before Georgia — have, respectively, not played due to injury, played sparingly due to "injury," and left the game due to injury. Sharrif, it is your responsibility to break the curse, with four or five tackles, a big tackle for loss, and a sack against Vanderbilt.
For more, discuss Floyd and the Gators in the FightinGators.com forums.