Florida finished No. 5 overall in total defense this past season.

While the staunch defense was led by head coach Jim McElwain, a lot of the credit should also go to Will Muschamp. Now at South Carolina, Muschamp recruited the vast majority of the players making up this terrific unit.

His fiery, energetic personality makes him an exceptional recruiter. Couple that with his defensive-minded outlook, and it’s no surprise to see Florida’s defense perform at a high level.

The Gators have six defensive players (Caleb Brantley, Teez Tabor, Alex Anzalone, Bryan Cox Jr., Jarrad Davis, Quincy Wilson) currently participating at the NFL Draft Combine in Indianapolis.

Brantley and Davis in particular were very effusive in praising their former head coach.

The linebacker had this to say:

“Muschamp and his staff, they really built the basis for us as a defense. They put together a group of guys from across the country that were very talented, and they got us thinking how to be a dominant defense. When they moved on and (new Florida coach Jim) McElwain came in, we never lost that mentality. We came out and we did exactly what they put in us.”

Brantley then followed with these thoughts:

“Will Muschamp? I learned how to take coaching with him. I learned how to work hard. I love coach Muschamp. He taught me how to be a man. I think Muschamp recruited a great group of guys, obviously because a lot of them are here. I think our defense is going to go down as special, one of the best defenses in history.”

 It truly is quite a testament to Muschamp’s ability to not only recruit, but to also recognize talent in the prep ranks. It’s feasible to believe Davis, Wilson, and Tabor will all be first-round selections.