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Monday October 22, 2012Senior Jon Bostic doing a lotta bit of everything

Updated: 10:18am, October 23

Jon Bostic

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Jonathan Bostic is like most college football players. He wants to play in the NFL. To his credit, though, he wastes little time thinking about his future now because there’s way too much on his present-day plate.

Starting with the Georgia Bulldogs.

Still, it’s amazing what a little focus and a lot coachability can do for a football player.

"I think Jon Bostic is playing as well as any linebacker in the country," Coach Will Muschamp said Monday.

Bostic, maybe as much as any Florida defensive player, has bought into what Muschamp and his staff have been selling since the end to last year’s disappointing season. The results have been pretty pronounced.

Starting with 7-0.

“They meet with every player and the defense as a whole, the offense as a whole and the special teams unit as a whole,” Bostic said, looking back to conversations with coaches heading into the offseason. “They say these are some areas that we would like to improve on for next year and different things that we can take over to help improve our game.”

Bostic came to UF from Palm Beach Central High as one of the top inside linebacker prospects in the country; the eventual heir to Brandon Spikes. He led all freshmen in tackles in ’09, started six games in ’10 and finished with a team-best 96 tackles in ’11.

But like so much about the Gators, that wasn’t good enough. Bostic knew it. His coaches knew.

So with a year of college left, Bostic came back for his senior season looking to upgrade his overall game for the good of the Gators, as well as that longterm future.

His goals to improve were a virtual brushstroke of everything.

“It’s not one area. Pretty much in every area they wanted me to improve,” Bostic said. “They wanted me to improve in tackling. They wanted me to improve on my leadership. They wanted me to improve on being a lot more vocal. It’s not really one area that I can say that they said this is the area we want you to focus on the most.”

The 6-foot-1, 246-pounder ranks third on the team with 38 tackles, including a team-best six stops for loss to go with three sacks, a forced fumble and two pass break-ups.

The 2012 version of Bostic is far more complete player, which is not lost on NFL scouts, most of whom -- in great part due to his versatility -- have Bostic among the 10 best inside linebacker prospects heading into the 2013 draft.

There are no situations Bostic can’t be on the field.

“He can play every down. He can play first down, second down, third down, and he can cover,” said Muschamp, who coached Miami Dolphins linebackers for Nick Saban in 2005. “There aren’t a lot of guys who can play inside that can cover and play on third down. He can. He’s very intelligent. But the other thing about Jon -- and I try to get our guys to understand -- it’s a 53-man roster, so you better play special teams. He’s on our punt team. He’s helped us on kickoffs. He does a lot of things that bring value as a player in the organization.”

In a league that boasts the likes of Jarvis Jones, Kevin Minter and C.J. Mosley, he may not get a lot of linebacker love as far as media exposure, but the Gators are loving everything about Bostic this season.

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