Our offseason spotlight continues with the Florida Gators:
Spotlight: Defensive end, Ronald Powell, 6-foot-4, 248, rising junior
2011 summary: Powell moved to the Buck position, which is basically a hybrid linebacker/defensive end in Dan Quinn and Will Muschamp's defense. He started 12 games for the Gators, ending the season fourth on the team with nine tackles for loss, and he had a team-high six sacks. He also recorded 32 tackles, three quarterback hurries and a forced fumble.
The skinny: Powell was the No. 1 recruit in the nation two years ago and it seemed as though he'd be a monster pass-rusher for the Gators. But with two seasons under his belt, he has yet to really live up to expectations. He looked much better and a little more active at the Buck position, but there were still times last season when it just didn't look like Powell gave it his all. This defense is built on aggressive play, but Powell had a reputation for taking plays off. Powell should use this offseason to mature more on the field. Powell has tremendous athletic ability, but he doesn't always use it. He has the speed to be dangerous and he should use this offseason to work on being more consistent as a pass-rusher and improving his work ethic. Florida can't afford to have Powell waste his athleticism, and the coaches won't be afraid to bench him if needed. He's also a veteran now and needs to start taking command of this team on and off the field.