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Florida football recruiting: 2020 DT Jalen Lee commits, adds to Gators’ formidable DL class

Florida needed quality and quantity at defensive line in its 2020 recruiting class — and is getting both.

Florida State v Florida Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

There’s no single spot where the Florida Gators need to do more stocking up with their 2020 recruiting class than the interior of the defensive line — and they know it.

And what’s more, they have acted like it, focusing on the line and building a formidable crop of tackles. Thursday night’s somewhat surprising commitment of four-star DT Jalen Lee only solidifies the Gators’ haul of space-eaters as one of the nation’s best.

Lee, who hails from Watson, Louisiana — a tiny, unincorporated town in the Baton Rouge metropolitan area — was considered a LSU lean by most Florida fans prior to his commitment, despite long giving the Gators the time of day. And Florida’s pursuit of other DT prospects — Alabama commit Tim Smith — suggested, at minimum, that the Gators were not certain they would round out their class with Lee.

But what they are getting in him is a potentially destructive player. Lee’s highlights show that he can play with excellent leverage and burst while also defeating blockers with heavy hands, and while he appears to me to be carrying some bad weight on a 6’3” frame — he’s listed around 300 pounds — he rises out of his stance with force.

And Lee is also just the most recent potentially monstrous defensive lineman to commit to the Gators. He joins Sunshine Staters Gervon Dexter — maybe the crown jewel of Florida’s class — and Johnnie Brown and Connecticut resident Lamar Goods in a four-man DT unit that is comprised of four of the top 33 DTs in the 2020 cycle, according to the 247Sports Composite ranking.

That’s not the nation’s best class — Clemson has the nation’s top two DTs committed ... and the No. 7 DT — but it is a top-five group without a doubt, and much praise is due to Florida defensive line coach David Turner, the lone coach new to the Gators’ 2019 coaching staff, for making that class come together.

Lee is Florida’s 22nd verbal commit in its 2020 recruiting class, and his pledge pushed the Gators to No. 9 nationally, per the 247Sports Composite.