Linebackers and defensive backs are the lifeblood of UF alums in the NFL, as about half of all active Gators in the League hail from either position group.
In Week 8, almost all of the top performers were either linebackers or defensive backs.
Janoris Jenkins (corner, New York Giants) turned in another exceptional outing, as he celebrated his Oct. 29th birthday with another interception. The eight year veteran is second in the NFL with four interceptions, trailing only the New England Patriots’ Devin McCourty (5). Jenkins also defended a pass and made three tackles (all solo), including one for a loss in a 24-10 loss at the Los Angeles Rams.
Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (corner, New Orleans Saints) also had a nice game as he made his second career start. The rookie made five tackles (four solo), including one in the backfield, and also defended two passes as the Saints beat the Arizona Cardinals 31-9.
Jon Bostic (linebacker, Washington Redskins) flew around the field yet again for the Redskins, recording his seventh-straight game of seven tackles or more. Bostic brought down nine ball carriers (seven solo) in a 19-9 defeat to the Minnesota Vikings. He also got his first sack of the season.
Also recording his first sack of the year was Jarrad Davis (linebacker, Detroit Lions). The third-year player nabbed five tackles (three solo), a quarterback hit, a defended pass, and a forced fumble in addition to the sack. He helped the Lions defeat the Giants, 31-26.
While Davis forced a fumble, Vernon Hargreaves III (corner, Tampa Bay Buccaneers) recovered a loose ball. Hargreaves’ Bucs may have suffered a 27-23 loss at the Tennessee Titans, but the corner had a decent day himself, recording five tackles (four solo), a defended pass and the fumble recovery.
When the Rams took on the Bengals, two former Gators in Carlos Dunlap (defensive lineman, Cincinnati Bengals) and Dante Fowler Jr. (edge rusher, Los Angeles Rams) squared off as well, and each had a strong performance.
Dunlap made his first appearance since Week 5, as he returned from a hamstring injury. He had three tackles (all solo), a deflected pass and two quarterback hits. However, Fowler had the more productive day, as he registered four tackles (three solo), a tackle for loss and 1.5 sacks, helping lead the Rams to a 24-10 victory.
The normally consistent Eddy Piñeiro (kicker, Chicago Bears) had difficulty booting the football in a 17-16 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. Despite scoring 10 of the Bears’ points, Piñeiro missed two of five field goals — one from 33 yards in the first quarter and one from 41 yards to conclude the game — to seal his team’s one-point loss. The kicker’s three makes all came in the second quarter from a distance of 25 yards or less. He is now 12 of 15 on the season with all his misses coming between 30 and 49 yards.