GAINESVILLE -- For those wishful souls out there who might be hoping that Ronnie Wilson can give the Gators an immediate boost at defensive tacke, think again says Gators senior defensive tackle Javier Estopinan.
The Gators' senior leader, who many think will be the Gators' defensive captain this season, told Gator Clause that Wilson is out of shape and not ready to contribute at defensive tackle. First things first for Wilson: Get back into good graces with his teammates, Estopinan said.
"He has tried to change his act around," Estopinan said. "He hasn't been working out with the team or anything. He's trying to work his way back into the drills and get back on everyone's good side."
Estopinan said that Wilson should be commended for making an attempt to rejoin the team by paying his own through school, but indicated Wilson's gesture is only the beginning to winning back the trust of his teammates. Wilson, of course, was arrested in 2007 and UF coach Urban Meyer was forced to kick him off the team. According to Meyer, Wilson is being allowed to practice with the team during fall camp but has not officially made the team yet. Wilson is listed on the Gators' roster.
"[Wilson] just got back on the team," Estopinan said. "Everybody deserves a shot and everybody makes a mistake. You learn from it and hopefully you grow from it. [Wilson] is just like a walk-on, so he's just got to earn his rights again."
Estopinan of South Miami High said on Monday that his left knee is close to full health following offseason surgery to repair a torn anterior-cruciate ligament. He tore the ligament against Georgia. The senior, who has already earned his undergraduate degree and is now attending graduate school on a full athletic scholarship, is projected as a starting defensive tackle. He weighed in at 285 pounds on Monday.
The Gators' second starting defensive tackle spot will be up for grabs during fall camp and two-a-days. Terron Sanders, Troy Epps and Lawrence Marsh are the top contenders.