Top 5 Florida defensive linemen all-time
The Gators hope new coach Jim McElwain can maintain the tradition of a hounding defense while reviving a dormant offense.
While we wait for the season, Florida has produced plenty of defensive talent, particularly during the eras of Steve Spurrier and Urban Meyer. Here are the five best defensive linemen in school history.
5. DE Derrick Harvey (2004-07): Harvey started just 18 games for the Gators and didn’t enter a season as the starter until his redshirt junior year in ’07. Still, he managed 11 sacks as a sophomore, filling in at times for an injured Ray McDonald and earning MVP honors in the BCS title game win against Ohio State. Coach Urban Meyer finally named Harvey a starter, and he made 8.5 sacks and 17 tackles for loss in ’07 before a relatively disappointing four-year NFL career.
4. DT Brad Culpepper (1988-91): The most decorated scholar-athlete in the country in ’91, Culpepper also culminated his career with a first-team All-American selection after recording 21.5 tackles for loss. Named to the Gainesville Sun’s Florida Team of the Century in ’99, Culpepper made 47.5 tackles for loss during his time with the Gators, a record for an interior lineman. He also played nine years in the NFL for Minnesota, Tampa Bay and Chicago.
3. DE Kevin Carter (1991-94): A member of Florida’s All-Century and 100th Anniversary teams, Carter helped coach Steve Spurrier and the Gators win three SEC championships in four years. He started 38 of his last 39 games, earning first-team All-SEC status in ’93 and ’94. Carter made a career-high 11.5 sacks in ’94 and finished his time in Gainesville with 42.5 tackles for loss. He made 104.5 career NFL sacks in 14 seasons with St. Louis, Tennessee, Miami and Tampa Bay.
2. DE Alex Brown (1997-01): After backing up Jevon Kearse as a redshirt freshman in ’98, Brown produced back-to-back-to-back stellar seasons playing for Spurrier. He earned All-American status in ’99, punctuating an otherwise-decent season with a five-sack performance against Tee Martin and reigning national champion Tennessee during an upset win. He improved to 10.5 sacks (along with three blocked kicks) in ’00 and then made 13 sacks as a senior, becoming the first Florida defensive lineman to make two All-American teams. The 2001 SEC Defensive Player of the Year, Brown holds Florida’s career sack record with 33.
1. DE Jack Youngblood (1968-70): One of two Florida players ever to make the College Football and Pro Football Hall of Fame (along with Emmitt Smith), Youngblood ranks as one of the greatest defensive ends ever to play the game at any level. One of just five Gators in the program’s Ring of Honor, Youngblood set the school record for sacks (14) as a junior, including a dominating five-sack performance against Florida State. He followed that with a 10-sack year as an All-American in 1970. In Gainesville, Youngblood was part of testing for a sports drink that became Gatorade. The five-time All-Pro made the NFL 1970s All-Decade team as well.