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Florida defensive lineman Jabari Zuniga (92) lines up for a play during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Charleston Southern Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Experienced Defensive Line Looks to Standout in 2019

As the Florida Gators prepare for their season-opener about three weeks away, the experienced defensive line will look to be a standout group in week one and for the rest of the season.

How they line up

Headlining this unit is senior Jabari Zuniga, who started all 13 games a year ago. He was second on the team in tackles-for-loss, sacks and quarterback hurries. Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham had high praise for his star lineman.

Zuniga is a preseason All-SEC selection, which shows he’s a threat in the conference and around the country. He’ll look to take the next step as one of the leaders on the team.

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Another player looking to make an immediate impact is graduate transfer Jonathan Greenard. Greenard missed the entire 2018 season with the Louisville Cardinals after suffering a wrist injury on the first defensive series. Back in 2017, he led the team in tackles-for-loss and was tied for the lead in sacks.

Greenard will occupy the buck linebacker position in Grantham’s 3-4 defensive scheme. This will allow Greenard to rush off the edge and drop back into coverage. It was this scheme that made Jachai Polite so successful last season.

Greenard talked about how he’s fitting into this defensive unit.

Experience is key

Unlike the offensive line, this side of the trenches for the Gators is loaded with experience. Along with Zuniga, Florida is returning its starting defensive tackle from a year ago Kyree Campbell. He started and played in 11 games a season ago and will look to be a key contributor on the line this year.

In the second fall camp under Grantham’s scheme, Campbell describes what the new mission is for the defense.

Another big part of the line is graduate senior Adam Shuler. He notched playing time in all 13 games while starting 10 of them. This is just another example of the experience on the defensive line Grantham has at his disposal.

This experienced group will look to be one of the best positional groups not only in the conference, but the nation as well. With skill and experience throughout, there’s no telling how good this group could really be.

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