One of the hallmarks of Billy Napier since taking over Florida football is that he targets four-star prospects with almost exclusivity. While Gators fans would like to see a five-star or two make their way to Gainesville, Napier hasn’t plumped up his recruiting classes with three-star guys unlikely to make an impact in the SEC.
So when Marcus Downs announced on Twitter yesterday that he had received an offer from Napier, it required a deeper dive into what Napier sees in the three-star defensive lineman that would make Downs a good fit for the Gators.
Florida Football: Down to business
Downs is listed as 6’5″ and 260 pounds. He would fit right in size-wise with everyone Florida has listed as EDGE this Spring, but he would need to add another 50+ pounds to fit in with the guys listed as DL.
Out of Greer, South Carolina, Downs has offers from LSU, Tennessee, and Georgia, among others.
The film on Downs tells the story of a player with a high motor that opposing offensive lines can’t seem to stop even when they double-team him. He lines up all over the place, sheds blocks with ease, and isn’t afraid to get physical once he makes it to the opposing QB and/or ball carrier.
247 Sports has Downs rated 563rd in the country and just the 54th-best defensive lineman in the country. Despite a six-minute highlight film filled with constant playmaking ability, the one critique you could say about Downs is that he projects more as a physical inside guy vs a speed rusher on the outside. His preference seems to be beating guys to the inside, and he doesn’t showcase much in the way of getting around the edge to get to the QB.
And as noted above, if he is going to play along the inside in the SEC, he will need to put on more weight.
But Napier and the rest of the Florida football staff have faith that the size gain is the easy part and probably love the fact that Downs is a beast on the field, even when teams sell out to stop him.
Downs is not the flashiest recruit the Florida Gators are going after, but don’t scoff that he’s “only a three-star.”