UGA’s Floyd coming into his own in preparation for sophomore season

Leonard Floyd earned his first scholarship offer in the summer of 2010 from Georgia and it wasn’t long before Alabama followed suit.

UGA's Floyd coming into his own in preparation for sophomore season
Marc Weiszer

“I remember going to a camp over there,” Floyd said.

The Alabama secondary coach back then was Jeremy Pruitt and the Crimson Tide’s new director of player development was Kevin Sherrer.

Floyd remembered both in January when Georgia hired Pruitt from Florida State as its defensive coordinator and Sherrer from South Alabama to help coach linebackers.

“We wanted him,” Jeremy Pruitt said of Floyd. “We didn’t get him.”

Now they’ve got the sophomore pass rusher.

Floyd, out of Dodge County, picked Georgia over Alabama and Florida in April of 2011 and after a year at Hargrave (Va.) Military Academy made an impact for the Bulldogs as an outside linebacker last season in Todd Grantham’s 3-4 scheme.

Floyd led Georgia with 6 ¬Ω sacks and had 55 tackles, 9 ¬Ω tackles for loss and two forced fumbles during a season he was named to the Southeastern Conference all-freshman team.

Now, Floyd is lining up at sam outside linebacker or defensive end under Pruitt.

“It’s probably a harder role because I’m in the trenches more,” Floyd said. “I’m in the three-point stance more than I was last year.”

The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Floyd has embraced his role in the new system. He says he’s dropping into coverage less and spending more time trying to get after the quarterback.

“I love it,” Floyd said. “Don’t have to think as much. All I’ve got to do is think about rushing.”

The old saying in football is it’s not about the Xs and Os but the Jimmies and Joes.

That’s true with a talent like Floyd.

“I think Leonard Floyd is just a great player and he’s going to fit into any defensive scheme that you put him in,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “But he’s doing well, he’s doing well. He’s got some technical things to perfect, but he plays hard as heck. He’s got great leverage, he’s got these long arms, he’s athletic, he’s quick and he just likes football. He plays hard, he practices hard, he’s a really good player.

Floyd spends most of his practice time with Sherrer.

“He’s all about technique,” Floyd said. “He’ll have us doing it over and over until we do it right.”

Sherrer walked into a Georgia program where he is working at linebacker with Floyd and Jordan Jenkins, two of the most talented players on Georgia’s defense.

“They’re obviously great players,” Sherrer said. “They’ve played a lot of football since they’ve been here and we had some good players (at South Alabama), but this is Georgia, the SEC. They’re seasoned guys, they’re mature and they’re helping the younger guys in that room too kind of understand what they have to do to kind of get into coach Pruitt’s defensive philosophy.”

Ray Drew, a pretty good pass rusher in his own right, isn’t shy to heap praise Floyd’s way.

“Leonard Floyd is a man,” Drew said. “He’s awesome. Violence off the ball with his hands. For an offensive lineman, he’s a nightmare. He’s quick, he’s powerful. He’s a presence off the edge, great in this defense.”

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