Found August 19, 2013 on Fox Sports Florida:
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- This was their plan all along. They talked about it before they ever signed on as teammates with the Gators. They remained steadfast when others tried to persuade them to change direction. Back on the recruiting trail, when others told them they would be better off going somewhere the other wasn't, sophomore defensive linemen Dante Fowler Jr. and Jonathan Bullard tuned them out. They knew as a tandem they were good enough to be labeled double trouble, dynamic duo or as Fowler revealed last week, Florida's "Bash Brothers," a self-anointed nickname they came up with over the summer. "Those two guys aren't afraid of anybody," Florida coach Will Muschamp said. Certainly not of each other. Fowler and Bullard had options out of high school. Fowler was a Florida State commit until deciding to sign with the Gators in February 2012. Clemson and South Carolina had their eyes locked on Bullard. They heard it all before deciding they wanted to be teammates at Florida. "We had schools even throwing our names at each other," Bullard said. "Coming in, we wanted to play with great players. I think he is a real good player and he has a lot of good attributes that are going to help me out. "We looked at signing as the same school as a positive thing." So did Gators fullback Rhaheim Ledbetter, a teammate of Bullard's at Crest Senior High in Shelby, N.C. Ledbetter and Bullard have been friends since elementary school. Their families are close, too. They wanted to remain teammates in college. Ledbetter had a good idea of what that could mean for Florida's defensive line if Fowler, who starred at St. Pete (Fla.) Lakewood High, also signed with the Gators. "That duo right there is crazy," Ledbetter said. "A lot of people don't realize it, but after this year, I think a lot of people are going to realize what kind of duo that is going to be in the future." Florida fans got a glimpse of the Fowler-Bullard duo last season. Both played regularly as freshmen, providing energy, depth and as the season wore on, more and more big plays. Fowler finished with 30 tackles and 2 12 sacks. Bullard started two games and finished with 27 tackles and 1 12 sacks. Both were named to the Southeastern Conference All-Freshman Team. As sophomores Fowler and Bullard will move into starting roles -- Fowler at left defensive end and Bullard on the right side. Fowler can also play the BUCK position, a hybrid linebackerend spot that specializes in rushing the passer or dropping into coverage. "I actually like covering," Fowler said. "Some people think I'm just a defensive lineman. Whenever I get out and cover, I take it really serious." First-year defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin sees a pair of emerging players that have the ability to help the Gators finish among the nation's top defenses. Florida is one of five schools to finish in the top 10 nationally in total defense the past two seasons. The 6-foot-3, 265-pound Fowler has all the tools to be an elite pass rusher. "He's an impressive football player," Durkin said. "He's a rare mix of a guy his size that can move as well as he does and he plays really, really physical. And the great thing about Dante is he practices hard every single day. "Every day you see him at meetings, on the field, he's got a big smile on his face. He just loves competing, loves football, and he's hungry. He's one of the best guys to coach on the team. He takes coaching really well so a guy with that ability level that takes coaching, the sky's the limit. Bullard (6-3, 270) has a little more bulk than Fowler and defends the run as well as he rushes the passer. As a senior at Crest Senior -- the same school that produced former Gators linebacker Brandon Spikes and NBA great David Thompson -- Bullard and Ledbetter helped the Chargers to a state runner-up finish. Ledbetter signed with the Gators as a defensive back and has moved to fullback. Having played with Bullard in middle school and high school, Ledbetter is not surprised as Bullard's quick impact at Florida. "His speed coming off the ball is just unbelievable," Ledbetter said. "In high school, just put him on one side, and I'll be happy to go to the other side. He would tell me, 'I got it.' He had it." Bullard and Fowler are now trying to form that kind of dominating presence for the Gators. Florida lost starting defensive linemen Sharrif Floyd, Lerentee McCray and Omar Hunter, but with senior defensive tackle Dominique Easley returning and Bullard and Fowler on the verge of breakout seasons, the defensive line projects as one of the Gators' strengths. "Two quality guys who have a huge upside as players," Muschamp said. As for that "Bash Brothers" nickname, Muschamp doesn't know much about that. Fowler and Bullard came up with that one. That's nothing new. They have talked about their possibilities together for a long time. Regardless of what they do individually, Fowler and Bullard will continue to be lumped together. They are fine with that, same as they never backed off from playing together when others told them they would be better off going their own way. "We knew that coming in," Bullard said. "We just try to go out and make something happen every play."

Gators RB Matt Jones showing signs of improvement

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Gators running back Matt Jones is making progress on his road to recovery from a serious viral infection, according to Gators coach Will Muschamp. Jones is scheduled for blood work on Monday and Muschamp said that Jones continues to work out and is back up to 223 pounds, only three pounds less than his listed playing weight of 226 pounds. "I'll know...

Will Muschamp surprises two walk-ons with scholarships

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- When Florida coach Will Muschamp huddled the Gators together following Tuesday afternoon's practice at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, he saved a special surprise for last. The announcement left Mark Herndon in tears and brought a huge relief over Tim Clark. Muschamp put both players on scholarship. "I was not expecting that," Herndon said. "It...

Florida Gators: Starting safeties now set

During Monday’s media availability session head coach Will Muschamp announced that redshirt freshman Marcus Maye would be one of the starter’s at safety to start the season, alongside redshirt junior Cody Riggs. Maye and Riggs will have some big shoes to fill as they try and replace former Gators Matt Elam and Josh Evans, both of whom are now playing in the NFL. Cody Riggs (pictured...

Florida Gators: Pass rush should look much imporved

They may lack the big-name, like South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney, but as a group this could potentially be the best defensive line the Florida Gators have had in years. The pass rush will receive a much-needed boost this season as the group looks to improve upon the 30 sacks the team had in 2012. With the anticipated return of hybrid linebacker/defensive end Ronald Powell, the...

SEC releases Gators' 2013-14 basketball schedule

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The Florida Gators will open the upcoming Southeastern Conference basketball season at home Jan. 8 against South Carolina and end it two months later at home March 8 against Kentucky. The SEC released its schedule Tuesday, thus putting the finishing touches on the Gators' 2013-14 slate, which looms as one of the most attractive, competitive and, yes, difficult...

Gators grant scholarship to walk-on RB Mark Herndon, the smile says it all

Sophomore running back Mark Herndon's dreams came true on Tuesday when the Florida Gators offered the Ocala, FL native a scholarship.

Fantastic photo of Gators’ walk-on Mark Herndon receiving the news

Florida Gators running back coach Brian White posted this fantastic photo of Mark Herndon receiving his scholarship to Instagram.

Herndon earns scholarship

The Gators rallied around head coach Will Muschamp following Tuesday’s practice expecting the normal post-practice instructions, but the script changed. It was a special day for Muschamp, as the former walk-on at Georgia got to hand out scholarships to two Florida walk-ons. Even when the topic was brought up, sophomore Mark Herndon never expected what was about to happen.

Jones still uncertain

As the season opener against Toledo creeps closer, the Gators are still in the dark about starting running back Matt Jones. He's working back from a viral infection, and the sophomore will get blood work done on Monday to provide an update on his status. The Gators have been preparing throughout training camp as if he wouldn’t be able to play in the opener, and it’s starting...

Florida Gators Top-Recruit Chris Walker may not Enroll Until December

  The Chris Walker saga just won’t go away. Florida’s highly coveted recruit has been fighting an eligibility battle all summer. Normally you see kids of his talent go to prep schools that are accustom to sending players off to Division I programs. Well, unfortunately Walker didn’t choose that route. Walker stayed at his local high school in Florida and it’s resulted in...

Future Gator Feels Blessed

The Florida Gators are not only securing players in the class of 2014 but 2015 and 2016. The Gators landed wide receiver Da'Vante Phillips for 2015 as well as Tyler Byrd and Tre Jackson for 2016.

One handed player offered preferred Walk-On by Florida

Zach Hodskins is a deadly shooter from three. He shot over 60 % from downtime last season. You would think with that the senior from Georgia would have a ton of scholarship offers rolling in, but he doesn’t . The main reason is because Hodskins only has one hand. You will see in the video below that Hodskins has plenty of game. Billy Donovan is one of the best coaches in the country...

Huggins is One of the Best for 2015

South Carolina has always produced a high quality of high school football players over the years and the Florida Gators and the rest of the college football world have taken notice. The Gators have set their sights on a 2015 defensive end prospect from Orangeburg (SC) Orangeburg Wilkinson Senior high school and his name is Albert Huggins.
Gators News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.