Prior to his game-high four tackles in the Orange and Blue Debut – three of them for losses – most of the offseason talk surrounding Sharrif Floyd has centered on the opportunity ahead for he and fellow defensive tackle Dominique Easley.
They were rated the top two defensive tackles in the country by Scout.com coming out of high school, prompting images of the two forming one of college football’s great interior duos one day.
After one season together in Gainesville, Floyd has produced more results, playing in all 13 games and finishing with 23 tackles. Easley played in six games, recording just four tackles.
Floyd and Easley, both from the Northeast, are expected to be greater contributors come fall with their first year at UF in the books. Their new position coach – Bryant Young – is one of the best defensive tackles in NFL history.
Floyd has studied up on Bryant to learn more.
“He doesn’t bring out the film, he doesn’t brag,’’ Floyd said. “I do know he was  years in the NFL and [four] time pro-bowler, so he had to be okay.’’
Based on his performance in the spring game, Floyd has been doing his homework on the field too.
Floyd arrived at UF after being named the Maxwell Football Club’s National Player of the Year in 2009, a 6-foot-3, 311-pound run-stopper with the speed and quickness to also be an effective pass rusher.
With returning DTs Omar Hunter and Jaye Howard slowed by injuries during the spring, Floyd saw his reps increase and hopes to make more of an impact once fall camp starts. He expects the Gators’ defensive front to be deeper and more productive than his freshman season.
Floyd, Easley and DE/LB Ronald Powell form the nucleus of a young unit that has enormous talent but remains short on experience.
“The defensive line has come a long way,’’ Floyd said. “We knew we could do better. We wanted to earn it and not just given to us. We can be one hell of a force if we really, really come together and get it done.’’
Floyd has drawn strong reviews from defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and head coach Will Muschamp. While he has adjusted to the college life and a new coaching staff, Floyd is thankful for a fresh start.
He said Muschamp’s approach has helped make that easier for everyone.
“The biggest thing I learned about Coach Muschamp is that he isn’t afraid to have fun with us and laugh in meetings and be himself and let loose with us,’’ Floyd said. “He isn’t serious all the time, but when it is time to get serious, he gets serious.”