The Florida Gators’ defense was not the best last year, and that was no secret. However, junior linebacker Mohamoud Diabate could be why Florida’s defense goes from good to great in 2021.
For those worrying, Florida’s defense should be much improved next season. Though, it shouldn’t come as a surprise since they were uncharacteristically bad last year.
The Gators defense is led by potential top 10 pick cornerback Kaiir Elam.
Elam is the best player on the defense, but true sophomore defensive tackle Gervon Dexter is not far behind.
Along with Elam and Dexter, Florida has some solid pieces with edge defender Brenton Cox Jr., linebacker Ventrell Miller, true freshman cornerback Jason Marshall Jr., defensive lineman Zachary Carter, and safety Trey Dean III. All of those players are pretty well-known, except for Marshall Jr., so which player that hasn’t been talked about much will step up this season?
That player is linebacker Mohamoud Diabate.
Diabate started six games for the Gators in 2020 but was still one of their best defenders.
Diabate ended the year with 67 tackles, seven tackles for a loss, two forced fumbles, one and a half sacks, and one interception.
The 6-3, 221-pound linebacker also made an impact right away in his freshman year, playing in all 13 games and even starting one of them. As a freshman, Diabate showcased his blitzing skills, where he had four sacks.
Diabate showed early on that he has the skillset to make plays for the Gators.
When you turn on the film, you see No. 11 flying all over the field. He’s extremely athletic, and when he tackles, he tackles.
Paring Miller and Diabate for an entire season will give the Gators a scary tandem for opposing offenses. Having two elite linebackers could change the dynamic of the season for Florida, especially towards the end of the season.
Diabate has NFL potential because of how he plays the game and how it fits perfectly for the mold of NFL linebackers. If he can take another step forward like he did from Year 1 to Year 2, Diabate could end up becoming one of the impact players on the defense.
And if he takes a big jump, he could take the Gators’ defense from good to great.