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Wednesday, July 27, 2011
The SEC's best 25 players: No. 24

By Edward Aschoff

Though bothered by an injury and kept out of spring practice because of ankle surgery, our next player is a giant from the Sunshine State:

No. 24: Jaye Howard, DT, Florida

2010 Numbers: Howard started eight of the 11 games he played in, but was bothered by an ankle injury during the latter part of the season. Howard recorded 29 tackles, including 12 for loss, and three sacks in 2010.

Most recent ranking: Not ranked in the 2011 postseason countdown.

Making the case for Howard: Howard arrived at Florida as a defensive end, but kept growing and moved inside. Even at 6-foot-3, 302 pounds, Howard still has the speed and athleticism to move around the defensive line, especially when Florida moves into the 3-4. Howard, who has played in 31 career games, possesses great size and strength in the middle. While he missed spring practice to have ankle surgery, Florida's coaches are excited to see him work in Dan Quinn's new defensive scheme. When Howard plays to his potential, he's one of the toughest linemen to block, and though he didn't have eye-popping stats last season, he enters 2011 as one of the top interior defensive linemen prospects in next year's NFL draft. He was very disruptive at times when he was healthy last season.