The honors continue to roll in for the 11-1 Florida Gators as four members of Will Muschamp’s highly regarded 2012 recruiting class were named to the SEC All Freshman team today. Bookend defensive ends Jonathan Bullard and Dante Fowler, along with linebacker Antonio Morrison and offensive tackle D.J. Humphries all were honored by the league’s coaches.
Bullard, a five star recruit and Army All-American from Shelby high school in Crest, North Carolina, and Fowler, a four star Under Armour All-American from Lakewood high school in St. Petersburg, Florida took different paths to get to Florida, but once they arrived it was obvious they were the future for Florida at the two defensive end spots. They came in physically ready showing great athleticism and strength and were able to provide much needed depth on the defensive line, particularly with the loss of starting buck linebacker Ronald Powell for the season due to injury. They played well in fall camp, impressed the coaches, and earned their way into the defensive line rotation from the start. They played well and continued to get better as the season progressed finishing 11th and 12th on the team in tackles with 27 and 26 respectively consistently giving the Gators an edge presence they’ve been lacking in season’s past both in the passing game and the run game.
Antonio Morrison, like Bullard and Fowler, made his presence known early, getting into the linebacker rotation and seeing significant playing time in a back up role to Jelani Jenkins at Will linebacker and actually making a couple of starts when Jelani sat out due to nagging injuries. Morrison showed speed, toughness, and a nose for the ball and his hit on Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel forced a fumble that changed the complexion of the game. One play after Jenkins suffered a season-ending injury, Morrison made the big hit on Manuel as he attempted to scramble up the middle knocking the ball from his hand and knocking Manuel out of the game. Mike Gillislee took the first play from scrimmage 37 yards for a touchdown and a Gator lead they would not relinquish.
D.J. Humphries, another consensus 5 star Army All-American from Charlotte, North Carolina Mallard Creek high school, came to Gainesville physically ready to compete on the offensive line, a rare feat in the SEC. He provided valuable depth to an offensive line that was short on it last season. He competed so well at times it looked as though he might take senior offensive tackles and fellow North Carolina native Xavier Nixon’s spot at left tackle. His play this season was solid and he will certainly be an anchor for the Gators offensive line for three years to come.
The Gators four selections tied Alabama and Texas A&M for the most selections in the conference.
Check out the full SEC All Freshman team here