University of Florida

Florida Gators defensive lineman Caleb Brantley aims for breakout season

Eastern Michigan running back Darius Jackson is stopped by Florida's defensive lineman Gerald Willis (92) and defensive lineman Caleb Brantley (57) on Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014 in Gainesville.
Eastern Michigan running back Darius Jackson is stopped by Florida's defensive lineman Gerald Willis (92) and defensive lineman Caleb Brantley (57) on Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014 in Gainesville. AP

Caleb Brantley performed well as a rotational defensive lineman last season, but Florida’s redshirt sophomore could be primed for stardom in 2015.

“He’s a person who is going to shock a lot of people,” junior defensive tackle Joey Ivie said. “He’s a very talented guy. He’s come around a lot. The main thing with him was just his motivation, and he’s definitely motivated this camp. I’m expecting big things out him.”

Brantley is a powerfully quick three-technique tackle. He recorded four hurries and four tackles for loss in limited snaps last season. At 6-2, 315 pounds, Brantley “can do a lot of athletic things big guys shouldn’t be able to do,” Ivie said.

Brantley said his practice habits and focus have improved this offseason, and he’s ready to become Florida’s next great defensive lineman.

“I feel like I was ready last year, but I only played like 15 snaps a game,” he said. “I didn’t really get a chance. I’m playing a lot this year, and I’m ready to show the world.”

In the past three years, three Gators defensive linemen have been drafted in the first round, and junior end Alex McCalister believes Brantley compares favorably to Sharif Floyd, the No. 23 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.

“He’s like a young Floyd,” McCalister said. “The way he moves his hands, comes off the ball. He’s swift and quick. That’s tough to be his size and move like that.”

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