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September 6, 2011

ITG Hot 11: No Surprise at the top

MORE FROM THE OPENING WEEKEND: Tuesday Notebook: Driskel showed poise | Following the Future Week 2 - updating UF's 17 commitments | UF-FAU - Upon Further Review | Scout's Eye View: Breaking down big plays | What we learned: Week 1 | Photo Gallery: Scenes from Saturday | Monday Notebook: Muschamp reviews the big win | Thumbs Up & Thumbs Down | Defense dominates in win | Muschamp Era begins with a victory | Florida unleashes dynamic duo | Class of 2011 who played | Florida Football Approval Ratings | In the Alley - Game Day Thread | Starting DT Floyd ineligible | VOTE: Alley Gator of the Game | Chomp Talk: At the half notes

Today, Inside the Gators unveils its Hot 11. After reviewing the win over FAU, the ITG staff voted on those who turned in the 11 best performances, in our opinion, to this point in the season. Each member votes on a top 11, then points are awarded on a sliding scale: 1st place vote = 11 points, 2nd place = 10 points, etc... (Total points and 1st place votes in parenthesis).
1. Chris Rainey (66/6) Position: Running back
Comment: Yes, the quality of opposition can be questioned, but Rainey proved that he is one half of a very capable running back duo. Not only did he run the ball effectively, he was also the teams leading receiver.

2. Dominique Easley (56) Position: Defensive tackle
Comment: Though Saturday was his official coming out party, interestingly enough, he was also ranked No. 2 overall in the last Hot 11 voted on after the Orange & Blue Debut. It is hard to believe that just one year ago, he was ready to pack his bags and leave. How grateful is the Gator Nation today that the decided against it?

3. Jeff Demps (55) Position: Running back
Comment: Topping the century mark, Demps looked like more than an all-purpose back, and it wasn't because he changed his uniform number.

4. Jelani Jenkins (37) Position: Linebacker
Comment: His numbers weren't great, but then again, defensive players aren't going to rack up a ton of tackles when continuously forcing the opposing team to go three and out. He had the hit of the game on an in-completion in the third quarter.

5. Jaye Howard (33) Position: Defensive tackle
Comment: The SEC's co-defensive lineman of the week was in the FAU backfield several times during the contest.

6. Ronald Powell (27) Position: Buck
Comment: Like Jenkins above, he seemed more active than his stat line would indicate. He also recorded one of Florida's two sacks in his debut as a Buck linebacker/defensive end.

7. Lerentee McCray (23) Position: Strongside linebacker
Comment: The former defensive end, who had never garnered a single Hot 11 vote in his three year Gator career, was perhaps Florida's most pleasant surprise on the night.

8. Xavier Nixon (17) Position: Offensive tackle
Comment: One of the biggest questions along the line was whether or not he could return to freshman form after a disappointing sophomore campaign. So far, so good.

9. Dan Wenger (16) Position: Offensive guard
Comment: Just a month ago, many in the Gator Nation would have been happy had Wenger simply been able to provide some senior leadership to a young group of linemen. The Notre Dame castoff has not only done that, he's the starting left guard and was singled out as a player of the game by Will Muschamp.

10. Caleb Sturgis (15) Position: Place kicker
Comment: Returning to action after missing the 2010 season with a back injury, Sturgis hit both of his field goal attempts, including one from 51-yards.

11. John Brantley (10) Position: Quarterback
Comment: Throwing two interceptions held down his efficiency rating, but there's no doubting that Brantley looks much better this year compared to last. Expect him to rise up this ranking throughout the season.

OTHERS RECEIVING VOTES: Tight end Jordan Reed, offensive guard Jon Halapio, safety Matt Elam, cornerback Marcus Roberson, receiver Frankie Hammond Jr., receiver Deonte Thompson and fullback Hunter Joyer

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