The Gators’ 2022 recruiting class, the first of head coach Billy Napier’s career, was an understandably low-rated one. The team started from behind the eight ball thanks to Dan Mullen’s poor showing on the recruiting trail and Napier’s unwillingness to sign players who didn’t fit the culture or scheme he’s trying to construct.
Nevertheless, the batch of players who will be joining Gator nation this year do have a few gems. Turning Kamari Wilson from his Georgia lean and re-earning Shemar James’ commit are the highest-profile wins, but another player deserves more attention than he’s gotten. Defensive lineman Jamari Lyons could be a real contributor for the Gators in his freshman season.
The former coaching staff didn’t create a defensive line group that was built for sustainability, making it one of the priorities heading into the 2022 season. Gervon Dexter is set to be the hearthstone of the line, but there’s not much clarity about who will be flanking him once the season begins. Power hates a vacuum, though. Now that the attitude that seniority should be weighted in deciding playing time has left the Swamp, that job is open for the taking.
Lyons has largely flown under the radar in discussions of the Gators’ incoming freshman. He was one of the final four-star players listed in the 247Sports composite — only eight of the 350 four-star recruits were ranked lower than him — and he didn’t make a big spectacle of his commitment. He still continues to hold significant potential under the new scheme.
As a defensive tackle, Lyons’ best role is as a three-tech. At 6-foot-4-inches and carrying just shy of 300 pounds, he has just the right size and explosion to threaten offensive lines with both mass force and athletic disruptiveness. In other words, he’s versatile enough to make an impact in…