Prized incoming offensive tackle David Sharpe (Jacksonville, FL/Providence School) was gracious enough to give me ten minutes of his time to discuss a number of things, such as: his commitment to Florida, the difficulty of balancing basketball and football, improving his stance, and adjusting to the SEC speed. And more.
The Gators really struggled on offense last year, finishing outside the top 100 in the country in total offense (out of 123 FBS teams). A big part of that was their inability to protect the quarterback, and that also had a lot to do with the season ending injuries to Florida’s top two quarterbacks in Jeff Driskel and Tyler Murphy. Sharpe, one of the nation’s top offensive lineman, figures to step in (possibly right away) to provide some help on that front.
Sharpe has incredible physical talent. He comes off the ball very quickly, and gets to the point of attack with a great amount of strength. There were a few plays on his tape that I watched where I thought, “that’s it. The guy’s beaten him. Next play.” And seemingly out of nowhere, Sharpe would recover to steer the defensive end into the garbage. That’s natural quickness and strength that simply cannot be taught, and will more than come in handy on the rare occasions where he gets beat. If there’s a weakness in his game, it’s that he occasionally delivers his punch (and sometimes just operates in general) a bit too high, but that can be coached out of him. Of course, he could always grow and get quicker to better adapt to the increased talent in the SEC, but that goes for every offensive lineman in college football.
I’m not guaranteeing that Sharpe is the next Michael Oher, or even that he starts right away. He does have some work to do. But I also wouldn’t be surprised in either case. He’s got tremendous upside, and when it’s all said and done, I can easily see him being a first round NFL Draft pick.