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42 posts from July 2009

July 31, 2009

Former Florida Gators swimmer breaks Michael Phelps' 200 IM world record

Over in Rome, former Florida Gators swimmer Ryan Lochte won a gold medal in the 200 individual medley on Thursday in the 2009 FINA World Championships. Lochte broke Michael Phelps' world record in the process with a time of 1:54.10. Phelps' old world record was 1:54.23.

Lochte is a wild man. Check out the silver mouthpiece (grill, as the kids call it) Lochte wore on the medals stand.

Lochte-jo-

Israeli point guard would like to play for Gators

GAINESVILLE -- Israeli point guard Nimrod Tishman told The Miami Herald on Friday that he is hopes to attend the University of Florida this fall and play basketball for the Florida Gators.

A member of Israel's 18-and-under national basketball team, Tishman is a 6-5 point guard who could potentially take the place of former UF point guard Nick Calathes or at least provide much needed depth to UF's backcourt. Calathes turned pro this offseason and is now playing in Greece. Currently, UF's only point guard 5-7 sophomore Erving Walker.

Tishman has been in close contact with UF coach Billy Donovan and his staff. Asked on Friday if he will be playing for UF this season, Tishman said, "Not sure yet but it's a good chance that I will."

Tishman is currently averaging 18.3 points, four rebounds and 2.3 assists per game in the 18-and-under European Championships, which is taking place in Metz, France, until Aug. 2. Tishman is the second-leading scorer of the tournament's first division.

While Tishman would like to play for the Gators this fall, there are considerable hurdles that could prevent it from happening. The 18-year-old is required to serve in the Israeli military and that time would have to be deferred. Clearing Tishman through the admissions office by Aug. 24 (the first day of class) will also be difficult.

-jo-

Resetting the Florida Gators recruiting BIG BOARD!

GAINESVILLE -- Football previews are in the works here at Gator Clause but before we begin breaking down positions, asking important questions and generally writing fun stuff that every wants to read, the editorial board here at Gator Clause figured it was a good time to assess the University of Florida football team's recruiting efforts. (What a ridiculously long sentence!)

250px-Florida_Gators_logo The Gators already have 17 commitments for the class of 2010. According Rivals.com, UF's current group of non-binding oral commitments ranks No.2 nationally. (Texas is No.1.) With that in mind, it's time to reset the Gator Clause Recruiting Big Board and take a closer look at what positions still need to be filled. This blog published its first recruiting projections way back in April.

Five players have committed to Florida since then -- wide receivers Stephen Alli (Andover, N.H.) and Solomon Patton (Mobile, Ala.), running backs Mack Brown (Lithonia, Ga.) and Travon Vann (New Berlin, N.Y.) and defensive end Neiron Ball (Jackson, Ga.).

Florida will likely sign a full class of 25 recruits in 2010. That means the Gators only have eight slots available, assuming there aren't any de-commitments. With many of the Gators' top targets still uncommitted, UF's coaching staff will likely reevaluate its priorities next week before fall camp begins. With so many commitments already on board, the coaching staff has the luxury of being selective. UF coach Urban Meyer already passed on two receivers who wanted to commit, James Louis of Delray Beach Atlantic and Markeith Ambles of McDonough (Ga.) Henry County. Some people got a little upset when Meyer didn't except Louis' commitment. In Meyer's defense, don't hate the player. Hate the game.

Meyer didn't accept Louis' commitment because he's fairly certain that receiver Chris Dunkley of Pahokee is going to be a Gator next season. Another reason Meyer didn't accept Louis' commitment: Dunkley is fast but receiver Solomon Patton of Mobile Murphy might be faster. (People in Alabama tell me that Patton is the real deal and probably among one of the top four or five prospects in the state.)

James Louis is fast but it's more like Ohio State fast than Florida fast, if that makes any sense. Meyer and receivers coach Billy Gonzales are choosy about their receivers. Last year, the Gators never offered Duron Carter, the son of NFL great Cris Carter, because Duron apparently wasn't fast enough. Duron, like James Louis, went to Ohio State. (Of course, Duron is a legacy player at OSU).

All this talk of wide receivers, it only seems fitting that we start off our "Big Board!" with wide receivers. (Numbers indicate the players I think are most likely to sign with Florida come next February.)

THE BIG BOARD!
Gator Clause has narrowed down UF's TOP PRIORITIES to fill out the class of 2010. If Florida lands all of these recruits, then the Gators will undoubtedly have the top recruiting class in the nation next February. 

WIDE RECEIVER
Dunkley 1.
Chris Dunkley (5-10, 164) Pahokee TOP PRIORITY
+
A silent commitment to the Gators, if you ask me. Dunkley [PICTURED] recently said on his Facebook page that he is 70 percent sure he is going to be a Gator next season. Will Tennessee's Lane Kiffin swoop down at the last second and steal Dunkley from the Gators? Probably won't commit until National Signing Day.

2. Ivan McCartney (6-3, 180) Miramar TOP PRIORITY
+ McCartney is a big-body receiver with great hands. He impressed coaches at Friday Night Lights with his route-running ability. McCartney is a Florida, Miami, Florida State recruit who probably won't let anyone know where he's going until National Signing Day.

3. Solomon Patton (5-10, 170) Mobile (Ala.) Murphy COMMITTED
+ Patton apparently is about as fast as Chris Rainey. According to one account by a Mobile Press-Register reporter, Patton ran a 4.36 ... when he was a 15-year-old sophomore.

4. Stephen Alli (6-5, 208) Andover (N.H.) Proctor Academy COMMITTED
+ Another one of UF offensive coordinator Steve Addazio's northern kids. Addazio usually has a pretty good eye for talent. I don't know much about Alli other than he's tall, fast and dominates some tiny high school football division in New Hampshire.

Quinton Dunbar (6-3, 170) Miami Booker T. Washington LONG SHOT
+ We list Dunbar as a "longshot" simply because UF might not have anymore room (and Dunbar wants to be a package deal along with Booker T. defensive end Lynden Trail). With so many young and talented receivers at Miami and Florida at the saturation point, I'm guessing Dunbar goes to FSU. Personally, I'd make room for Dunbar at UF, go after him hard and cap the 2010 wide receivers at five.

Kadron Boone (6-1, 190) Ocala Trinity Catholic LONG SHOT
+ Will Florida hold a scholarship for Boone? UF might have too many receivers already if Dunkley is indeed a silent commitment.

Darius White (6-4, 205) of Fort Worth (Texas) Dunbar LONG SHOT
+
No way the top receiver in Texas leaves the Lone Star State.

OFFENSIVE LINE
5. Ian Silberman (6-4, 257) Fleming Island COMMITTED
+ Silberman has been committed to Florida since his sophomore season. He's a future stud if he can stay grounded.

6.
Leon Orr (6-5, 320) New Port Richey Gulf COMMITTED (Could move to defensive tackle.)
+
Orr's stock continues to rise. This is a big kid with quick feet. He ran a 4.83 40 at Friday Night Lights last week and one Rivals.com recruiting analyst recently compared Orr's measurable skills to those of former LSU star Glen Davis. 

Brandon%20Linder_2 7. Brandon Linder (6-6, 280) Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas TOP PRIORITY
+ Linder [PICTURED] is a top priority of the utmost importance to UF, but it's hard to read kids from St. Thomas. Florida has had success in the past -- offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert and safety Major Wright are STA alums -- but other players (OT Sam Young, Notre Dame) have gone out of state. Expect Linder to decide on a school before National Signing Day but be prepared to wait.

8. Chaz Green (6-6, 290) Tampa Catholic TOP PRIORITY
+ Green seems to be leaning towards the Gators after Friday Night Lights. Orr and other commitments are helping recruit Green to UF.

Seantrel Henderson (6-8, 301) St. Paul (Mn.) Cretin-Durham Hall LONG SHOT
+ Henderson is the top-rated prospect in the nation and he'll likely take an official visit to UF. The Gators will have a tough time convincing this player to move so far south, however.

T.J. Leifheit (6-7, 300) Wilmington (N.C.) Hoggard LONG SHOT
+ Florida has had success in North Carolina, so I wouldn't rule out Leifheit making an official trip to Gainesville this fall. Southern Cal seems to be the leader. Leifheit has family in Los Angeles. 

QUARTERBACK
9. Trey Burton (6-2, 203) Venice COMMITTED
+ Burton is a solid commitment and a quality dual-threat quarterback with above-average leadership skills. Burton has been recruiting several top priorities for the Gators, including Pahokee receiver Chris Dunkley.

RUNNING BACK
Mbrown 10. Mack Brown (5-11, 185) Lithonia (Ga.) Martin Luther King COMMITTED
+
Brown [PICTURED] was one of UF's top priorities for the class of 2010. He's super fast and will be asked to fill the "Percy Harvin position." Brown is rated the No.6 running back prospect in the nation by Rivals.com. Consider Brown a major haul for UF, which has hand trouble landing elite running back prospects in the past.

11. Travon Van (5-11, 200) New Berlin (N.Y.) Milford Academy COMMITTED
+ This guy could end up being the surprise of UF's 2010 recruiting class. He has great vision and his moves are incredible.

TIGHT END
12. Michael McFarland (6-6, 230) Tampa Blake COMMITTED
+
An excellent team player with an athletic body and quick feet. McFarland will fit in well at UF and will wind up being one of Meyer's favorite players.

13. Gerald Christian (6-3, 220) West Palm Beach Dwyer COMMITTED
+ Christian is an elite tight end in the mold of Aaron Hernandez. He catches everything, gives quarterbacks a large target and is a mismatch even for the best defenders. 

DEFENSIVE END
Powell 14. Ronald Powell (6-4, 240) Moreno Valley (Cali.) Rancho Verde TOP PRIORITY
+
Powell [PICTURED] is the nation's top-rated defensive prospect, according to Rivals.com and Florida has a chance to lure him away from Southern Cal. Powell visited UF twice this summer for camps and will likely return for an official visit.

Owamagbe Odighizuwa (6-3, 234) Portland (Ore.) David Douglas LONG SHOT
+
The West Coast theme continues with Odighizuwa, who is rated as the nation's No.2 prospect at weakside defensive end. Odighizuwa is being recruited by Dan McCarney and will likely take an official visit to Gainesville this fall. Cal is probably the leader right now but Florida is a close second. When it comes down to it, I'd expect Odighizuwa to stay close to home.

15. Neiron Ball (6-4, 210) Jackson (Ga.) High COMMITTED
+ Ball committed to UF after Friday Night Lights. He's a speedy defender in the mold of UF sophomore William Green.

16. Corey Lemonier (6-5, 223) Hialeah TOP PRIORITY
+
Lemonier has offers from every major program in the country and he'll likely be The Miami Herald's top prospect in Miami-Dade County. Florida is near the top of the list but Lemonier is also considering Florida State, Illinois, Tennessee and Auburn. Lemonier says early playing time is important and that's something UF will have a hard time selling.

Lynden Trail (6-7, 220) Miami Booker T. Washington LONG SHOT
+
We're moving Trail to "long shot" status. Ball probably took his spot.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE
Louis Nix (6-2, 320) Jacksonville Raines LONG SHOT
+
UF is still after Nix even after his friend flashed the Miami 'U' sign at Friday Night Lights and was asked to leave. Nix is currently committed to Miami.

LINEBACKER
17. Gideon Ajagbe (6-2, 197) Coconut Grove Ransom Everglades COMMITTED
+ Prediction: Ajabge is going to be a star for UF. He has the perfect attitude to excel at the next level. He's always working to improve his game. A future team captain with excellent leadership skills, Ajagbe was a great pick-up for the Gators. 

Luc 18. Jeff Luc (6-1, 230) Port St. Lucie Treasure Coast TOP PRIORITY
+ UF defensive coordinator Charlie Strong has been glued to Luc's hip for months. If Luc [PICUTRED] commits elsewhere (Miami?), then I'll be very surprised. Rated as the No.1 inside linebacker in the nation, Luc is the type of player coaches build a defense around. Ajabe of Coconut Grove Ransom Everglades has been recruiting Luc for UF.

Jordan Hicks (6-2, 210) West Chester, Ohio LONG SHOT
+
Hicks is rated as the No.1 outside linebacker in the nation by Rivals.com. He has narrowed his list to five schools and UF made the cut. That likely means Hicks will take an official visit to Gainesville this fall. Other schools in the mix are Alabama, Ohio State, Southern Cal and Texas. Talk about an impressive top five. Gotta assume that OSU is the leader.

Khairi Fortt (6-3, 230) Stamford, Conn. LONG SHOT
+ Fortt is the No.2 outside linebacker in the nation, according to Rivals.com. He's a long shot but Florida already has one Connecticut native on its roster (tight end Aaron Hernandez).

CORNERBACK
Dorsey 19. Demar Dorsey (6-1, 175) Lauderdale Lakes Boyd Anderson COMMITTED
+ Dorsey [PICTURED] is one of the fastest kids in South Florida. He's committed to UF but the Gators should be prepared to battle other schools (Miami, Florida State, Tennessee) until the bitter end.

20. Victor Hampton (5-11, 170) Charlotte (N.C.) Independence COMMITTED
+ Hampton committed to the Gators without visiting the school. He's a solid verbal commitment but there's plenty of time for other schools to make a move.

21. Jaylen Watkins (6-1, 172) Cape Coral COMMITTED
+
Watkins was a star at Friday Night Lights. He's a tall cornerback with above-average speed for the position. Probably the most likely of the cornerbacks not to remain committed to UF.

22. Cody Riggs (5-8, 156) Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas TOP PRIORITY
+ Riggs named Florida his top school after Friday Night Lights. He had been favoring Georgia for months. The No.4-rated cornerback in the nation, according to Rivals.com.

Lamarcus Joyner (5-8, 166) Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas LONG SHOT
+ Don't close the door on Joyner just yet. The No.2-rated cornerback in the nation is a long shot but the Gators will be in his ear until National Signing Day.

SAFETY
Elam 23.
Matt Elam (6-0, 205) West Palm Beach Dwyer COMMITTED
+ One of the top prospects in the nation, Elam [PICTURED] has a long-standing relationship with Meyer. Elam will take his visits this fall but should end up signing with Florida on National Signing Day. 

24. Jonathan Dowling (6-3, 178) Bradenton Southeast COMMITTED
+ One of the most talented high school safeties in the state. Dowling is a solid commitment. 

25. Jordan Haden (6-0, 198) Fort Washington (Md.) Friendly COMMITTED
+ The younger brother of UF cornerback Joe Haden.

-jo-

July 30, 2009

Florida Gators' first two football practices open to the public and media; Doughnut Giveway!

GAINESVILLE -- The University of Florida released its preseason football practice schedule on Thursday. Sorry, folks, it's not as fan friendly as years past.

Only the first two days of practice will be open to the public. Practice begins on Aug.6 at the football practice field. Fans can attend practices on Aug. 6-7, but there's a catch. Returning players practice from 6:10-8 a.m. on Aug. 6-7. Freshmen practice from 4:35-6 p.m. on Aug. 6-7. What does this mean for fans? Watching Tim Tebow throw a football before the first game of the season will not be easy.

After Aug.7 football practices will take place at the UVS practice fields and will be closed to the public and media.

Reminder: The third-annual Gator Clause "Doughnut" Fan Giveaway will take place at 6:10 a.m. on Aug.6 at the UF practice field. If you show up, you get free doughnuts.

Krispy_kreme_doughnut_flavors_for_phoenix










Hmmmmm, free doughnuts!

-jo- 

July 29, 2009

Florida Gators football players and cheerleaders have fun with paint

GAINESVILLE -- Several University of Florida football players and cheerleaders painted a large section of Gainesville's well-known 34th Street Graffiti Wall on Wednesday to promote Friday's second-annual Gator Charity Challenge.

If you went to school in Gainesville or have stayed at the Hilton for a football game, then you know about the 34th Street Graffiti Wall. It's a long concrete retaining wall near campus that doubles as an open canvas for UF students and Gainesville residents. On Wednesday, senior football players David Nelson, Joey Sorrentino and Cade Holliday whitewashed three sections of the wall and then put fellow football players and cheerleaders to work advertising the Gator Charity Challenge.

"I've driven past this wall hundreds of times and I never thought I'd be painting it," said Florida senior football player Dorian Munroe of Miami. "I feel proud that I'm leaving this university having painted this wall."

Munroe, who begins practicing for his senior season on Aug.6, graduates next Saturday and starts graduate school for sports management on Aug. 24.

Dorian











Florida senior safety Dorian Munroe and UF cheerleader Ashley Morris paint the wall.

JoeyDorian











Florida senior Joey Sorrentino (left) and Munroe roll on the Gator orange.

Nelsoninterview











Florida senior David Nelson speaks to a Gainesville television reporter about the Gator Charity Callenge.

-jo-

St. Thomas CB Cody Riggs favoring Florida Gators over Georgia Bulldogs

GAINESVILLE -- Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas senior Cody Riggs competed in Friday Night Lights last weekend and the cornerback left Ben Hill Griffin Stadium with a favorable impression of the Florida Gators.

Riggs Leaning heavily towards committing to the Georgia Bulldogs for months, Riggs told FlaVarsity.com on Monday that he now considers the Gators to be his top team.

"Their staff is great and showed they really want me at camp," Riggs said. "I got to talk to two of their players, who play in the secondary like me, in Major Wright, who is from my school, and Joe Haden. They had a lot of good things to say. I could see myself playing there."

Riggs is one of two highly rated cornerbacks at St. Thomas this season. The other is Lamarcus Joyner, who also participated in Friday Night Lights but is currently favoring Florida State.

-jo-

July 28, 2009

Speedy Georgia defensive end picks Florida Gators over UGA, Alabama and LSU

GAINESVILLE -- The recruits are rolling in now.

University of Florida football coach Urban Meyer received and accepted his 17th public commitment on Monday when Neiron Ball of Jackson (Ga.) High committed to the Gators. Ball (6-4, 200 pounds) ran a sub Ballrecruit 4.5 in the 40-yard dash at Florida's Friday Night Lights. YOUTUBE LINK. He chose Florida over a host of schools including Auburn, UGA, Alabama, LSU and Oregon.

Ball's defensive statistics from 2008 are absurd. He had 104 tackles, 35 tackles for loss, 19 sacks and seven forced fumbles as a junior.

[PICTURED, A Ball-er.]

Ball is rated a three-star recruit by Rivals.com and his brother, Neland, plays for the Georgia Bulldogs. (Talk about a family torn.)

Ball is the Gators' first commitment for the class of 2010 to be projected as a defensive end in college. Florida has offered several other defensive ends, including two players from Miami-Dade, Corey Lemonier of Hialeah and Lynden Trail of Miami Booker T. Washington. Owamagbe Odighizuwa of Portland, Ore., rated as the No.2 defensive end in the nation, is also high on the Gators, according to reports. Another highly rated defensive end from the West Coast, Ronald Powell of Moreno Valley, Cali., is also being recruited by the Gators.

Continue reading "Speedy Georgia defensive end picks Florida Gators over UGA, Alabama and LSU" »

July 27, 2009

Florida Gators' non-conference basketball schedule released

GAINESVILLE -- The University of Florida released its men's basketball team's non-conference schedule on Monday. Games against Xavier, Florida State, Michigan State, Rutgers or UMass, South Alabama, Syracuse and N.C. State will elevate the Gators' strength of schedule as well as increase tickets sales for home games.

Florida hosts Georgia Southern (Nov.18) and Troy (Nov.20) in the first two games of the Legends Classic before traveling to Atlantic City, N.J., for games against Michigan State and either UMass or Rutgers on Nov.28-29. In between, the Gators host in-state rival Florida State (Nov.24).

The Gators travel to Tampa for a neutral-site game against Syracuse on Dec.10 in the SEC/Big East Invitational. UF then travels to Sunrise for a game against Richmond at the BankAtlantic Center on Dec. 19 in the Metro PCS Orange Bowl Basketball Classic. 

Florida plays at N.C. State on Jan.3 before returning home to begin its Southeastern Conference schedule. The Gators will take a break from SEC play on Jan.13 for a home game against Xavier.

Continue reading "Florida Gators' non-conference basketball schedule released" »

July 26, 2009

UF football camp takes an unfortunate turn when Miami recruit is asked to leave

GAINESVILLE -- Perhaps this stipulation should be spelled out on future applications for the University of Florida's Friday Night Lights football camps: Only Gator chomps are allowed in The Swamp. All other collegiate traditions will be banished.

That's exactly what happened on Friday when a Miami recruit was asked to leave the Gators' elite high school football camp. Tavadis Glenn of Jacksonville gestured the University of Miami's equivalent of a Gator chomp -- the 'U' sign -- during a football drill and was the told to leave by a Florida assistant coach. The University of Florida later said that Glenn was asked to leave for safety reasons.

Does anyone have a problem with this? Is recruiting ridiculous?

-jo-

July 25, 2009

Georgia RB Mack Brown commits to Gators

GAINESVILLE -- The University of Florida football team received its 16th public commitment on Friday shortly after the Gators' Friday Night Lights football camp, according to Rivals.com.

Georgia running back Mack Brown (5-11, 185 pounds) committed to UF coach Urban Meyer on Friday night. Brown, who plays at Lithonia (Ga.) Martin Luther King High, was one of Meyer's top targets for the class of 2010. Brown is listed by Rivals.com as one of the top 100 recruits in the country.

Brown chose Florida over Georgia, which has already received commitments from some of Brown's closests friends. Brown said facing his friends "is going to be pretty hard" but added that he "had to follow my heart."

-jo-

July 24, 2009

Florida linebacker Dustin Doe in trouble ... again

HOOVER, Ala. -- University of Florida linebacker Dustin Doe was arrested on Thursday night for driving with a suspended license -- again.

DustinDoe Doe was already in trouble with the law and Florida Gators coach Urban Meyer for driving with a suspended license. He was arrested in June and has a court date in August. The latest infraction occurred late Thursday night. Doe was booked into Alachua County Jail and released early Friday morning with a $1,000 bond.

[PICTURED, Has Dustin Doe kissed his chances at starting this season good-bye?]

Florida coach Urban Meyer said on Friday that Doe is suspended from the team until his legal issues are resolved. Practice begins Aug. 6 but Doe will not participate, according to Meyer. Doe was arrested for fighting in 2007 but those charges were dropped. Doe's current legal problems stem from an unpaid parking ticket. Doe paid the ticket but didn't pay the late fee.

"Dustin had been suspended from team activities while resolving his parking ticket issues and driving with a suspended license," Meyer said in a statement. "Those issues have not been taken care of and as a result, he will not be with us when we begin practice."

-jo-

Gators great Steve Spurrier didn't vote for Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow

HOOVER, Ala. -- Hey, Lane Kiffin, get out your notebook. This is how enrage Gator Nation.

Well, the final day of Southeastern Conference Media Days just got pretty interesting. South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier, considered the greatest Gator by many UF fans, is the SEC coach who didn't vote for UF quarterback Tim Tebow as the preseason All-SEC first-team quarterback.

"I take the blame," said Spurrier, who voted for Ole Miss quarterback Jevan Snead. "I take full responsibility."

40093401_SteveSpurrier Well, not really. Spurrier said on Friday morning that he left the voting process up to his sports information director.   

"He said something about we already had 10 Gators and he didn't think it was a big deal," Spurrier said. "So I'll take the blame. I'll take full responsibility. I didn't look at that sheet."

[PICTURED Is Stephen Orr Spurrier still the greatest Gator?]

Spurrier told reporters on Friday that he contacted SEC associate commissioner Charles Bloom and changed his vote. So, technically, Tebow is now a unanimous selection. Spurrier also called Tebow and apologized.

"I screwed it up; I apologized," Spurrier said. "I messed it up by not looking at the ballot but that's the way it happened.

"I have great admiration for Tim Tebow. He and Danny Wuerffel are two of the finest young men to ever play this game and their Christian men who live the Christian life and don't just talk it." 

So, Gators fans, is Steve Spurrier still the "Greatest Gator?" Do you immediately forgive Spurrier? Do you even care? Do you believe Spurrier? Is Spurrier dead to you?

I say give Spurrier the benefit of the doubt. He apologized and changed his vote. This kind of thing is fun for reporters like me to write about and for readers like you to comment upon but it's not really that big of a deal.

-jo-  

Gene Chizik, Lane Kiffin and Les Miles say they voted Tim Tebow; That leaves Steve Spurrier

HOOVER, Ala. -- Steve Spurrier is the culprit? The Greatest Gator didn't vote for the greater Gator?

Who knows? Spurrier hasn't made a public statement yet but every other coach in the SEC has already said they voted for Tim Tebow as the preseason All-SEC first-team quarterback. Gene Chizik was the first coach to speak with reporters on Friday, the final day of SEC Media Days, and Auburn's new coach -- the new guy among SEC head coaches but very familiar with the SEC -- lectured the media about his right to keep his ballot a secret.

"I don't want to open myself up," said Chizik, who was a walk-on at UF in the '80s. "Tim Tebow is a great quarterback and yes I did vote for him."

If Spurrier becomes the 11th coach to say he voted for Tebow then that means someone didn't tell the truth this week. My guess, Spurrier will tell reporters that he doesn't disclose his ballot. Back in 2007 I asked Surrier if he voted for Tebow at the top of his Heisman ballot and Spurrier pleaded the Fifth.

-jo-

July 23, 2009

Updated list of prospects expected at Friday Night Lights

HOOVER, Ala. -- It's always a good time to talk recruiting, even when Gator Clause is up in Alabama covering the Southeastern Conference Media Days. Here's a lengthy list of high school prospects who are expected at Friday Night Lights: 

Continue reading "Updated list of prospects expected at Friday Night Lights " »

Riley Cooper can sign pro contract and still play football, according to Texas Rangers

HOOVER, Ala. -- Let's take a break from the Southeastern Conference Media Days for some news on Gators receiver Riley Cooper.

Florida coach Urban Meyer said on Thursday that he will learn of Cooper's fate either Friday or Saturday. Riley Cooper's father, Larry, said on Monday that his son will likely make a decision (football or baseball) by Friday.

Before you jump to any conclusions, let's wait and hear what the Texas Rangers have to say....

OK, just got off the horn with the Rangers. According to one of the Rangers' amateur baseball scouts, Cooper can sign with the Rangers and still play football for the Gators this season.

"[Riley] could sign with us and still play football for the Gators this season," a team spokesman said. "So anything that happens with football (starting practice, etc.) will not affect the baseball situation."

The deadline for 2009 draft picks to sign with MLB teams is midnight Eastern Time on Aug. 17. The Gators' first day of fall practice begins on Aug. 6. The first day of the fall semester begins on Aug. 24. Riley Cooper is currently playing for the McKinney Marshals of the Texas Collegiate League. He was drafted in the 25th round by the Texas Rangers and is currently trying to secure a minor-league contract.

-jo- 

Richt dodges subject of moving Florida-Georgia rivalry game

HOOVER, Ala. -- Georgia coach Mark Richt is on record saying that he would like to play the Florida-Georgia game at a different site, perhaps the Georgia Dome, but on Thursday at SEC Media Days Richt dodged the subject.

The current four-year contract between the city of Jacksonville, the University of Florida and the University of Georgia expires after this year and has not been renewed. Richt has said in the past that he feels Jacksonville Municipal Stadium is not a neutral site but on Thursday he ignored the subject.

"This is what I want to do," Richt said when asked if he wanted the rivalry game moved. "I want to focus on winning that game. That's all I want to focus on when it comes to that game."

When asked if he cared where the game was played Richt said, "I really just want to focus on trying to win that game. That's all I want to focus on when it comes to that game."

-jo-

Nick Saban, Mark Richt and Houston Nutt say they casted votes for Tim Tebow

HOOVER, Ala. -- The SEC Media Days who-done-it search will continue until Friday.

Georgia coach Mark Richt, Alabama coach Nick Saban and Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt both said on Thursday that they voted for Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow as the preseason All-SEC first-team quarterback.

"I think that's what everybody else said so far," said Richt with a smile.

Richt is correct, of course. Seven coaches down and seven votes for Tebow. That leaves four coaches: Auburn coach Gene Chizik, LSU coach Les Miles, South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier and Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin.

Both Richt and Saban praised Tebow, calling him an excellent leader and a top-flight quarterback. (Saban discussed Tebow and the NFL and I'll post that a little later.)

-jo-

July 22, 2009

Florida Gators cornerback Janoris Jenkins to wear coveted No.1 jersey

HOOVER, Ala. -- Florida Gators cornerback Janoris Jenkins will wear the number one on his jersey this season, according to the University of Florida's sports information department.

Jenkins, who will be a sophomore this season, had a breakout season in 2008, starting 12 games and earning first-team freshman All America honors from College Football News. As a freshman, Jenkins had 39 tackles, three interceptions, 11 pass deflections and one forced fumble.

Florida all-purpose star Percy Harvin wore the Gators' No.1 jersey in 2008.

Other new jersey numbers:

No.4, freshman receiver Andre Debose; No.8, freshman running back Mike Gillislee; No.67, freshman offensive lineman Xavier Nixon; No.43, freshman linebacker Jelani Jenkins, No.16, freshman quarterback Jordan Reed; No.93, freshman defensive end Kedric Johnson; No.24, freshman safety Josh Evans; No.77, freshman offensive lineman Jon Halapio and No.64, freshman offensive lineman Kyle Koehne.

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MSU coach Dan Mullen gets emotional talking about Tim Tebow

HOOVER, Ala. — Former University of Florida offensive coordinator Dan Mullen might be the new head football coach at Mississippi State, but part of his heart is still in Gainesville.

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Mullen, who worked with Florida coach Urban Meyer for 10 years at Bowling Green, Utah and Florida, got misty-eyed on Wednesday at the Southeastern Conference Media Days when speaking about his relationship with Florida quarterback Tim Tebow.

The emotion was provoked by a light-hearted question: Now that you’re at Mississippi “State would you “share any dirt on Tebow?”-

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"I’ll say this about Tim Tebow. If you get the opportunity to met him, spend time with him, he’s one of the most unique people in the world,” Mullen said. “I probably have more respect for him than anyone I’ve ever met … Just an amazing kid. Just an amazing kid. He taught me a very valuable lesson in life: If you can make an impact on someone’s life, it’s your obligation to do that. You know, and he is one of the most amazing young people out there.”

 

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Mullen, Brooks also proclaim innocence in TebowGate

By Mike McCall

HOOVER, Ala.--Mississippi State's Dan Mullen (still feels weird to type that) and Kentucky's Rich Brooks have joined the fast-growing list of SEC coaches hoping to be spared the wrath of Tim Tebow.
The search for the guy who didn't vote Tebow to the All-SEC first team isn't really that big of a deal, of course, but this is a story that will likely keep intensifying until Lane Kiffin closes out SEC Media Days on Friday. The process of elimination is pretty fun.
Mullen and Brooks, along with Arkansas' Bobby Petrino and Vandy's Bobby Johnson, have removed themselves from the list of suspects. Petrino said, "I'm not crazy," Johnson added, "I don’t know if y’all are going to find that culprit that didn’t vote for him, but you can tell [Tebow] it wasn’t me," Mullen got a little choked up while praising his former player, and Brooks gave a similar response to Johnson.
Here's my breakdown of the remaining seven candidates, minus Urban Meyer (coaches couldn't vote for their own players).

Thursday

Nick Saban, Alabama—Maybe he’s still upset about losing the SEC title. Or maybe he really likes Mississippi’s Jevan Snead. But as much as people hate Saban, I don’t see it. He’s high-profile and has shown Tebow plenty of love in the past, and he doesn’t really have anything to gain by doing it. And he’s a good evaluator of talent. And I don’t think he’s stupid.

Mark Richt, Georgia—Richt and Tebow are cut from the same cloth, and regardless of his hate for the Gators or Meyer’s timeout-calling, he isn’t the type to take that out on Tebow.

Houston Nutt, Ole Miss—Nutt was the early favorite since he has the conference’s second-best quarterback, but since he couldn’t vote for Snead, it probably wasn’t him. If it was, it means he voted for a third party and views Tebow as the conference’s third-best quarterback. Nic Harris would be proud.

Friday

Gene Chizik, Auburn—Chizik played at UF, but he’s a new guy, and he’s fighting an uphill battle in trying to win over a fan base that just waved goodbye to Tommy Tuberville. For this reason, I’m taking Chizik as the dark horse to upset you-know-who. He’d be loved by Tigers fans for it, and he can deflect some criticism by saying he hasn’t coached against Tebow.

Steve Spurrier, South Carolina—No way, right?

Les Miles, LSU—Miles recruited Tebow, and by all accounts, they got along well, so I don’t think it was him. I’d put him and Saban on the same level of likelihood.

Lane Kiffin, Tennessee—It’s almost like the SEC made the schedule with this in mind. Kiffin is going last, meaning that by the time he takes the podium, it’s pretty likely that we’ll already have 10 denials in hand. Kiffin told the Associated Press he voted for Tebow, but I don’t want to count him out yet. I believe in his curmudgeonry. If everyone else says they voted for Tebow, and Kiffin sticks to his story, it either means he voted for him and isn’t as crazy as we thought, or it means he didn’t, is lying, and is calling an unnamed coach a liar. That is going to be fun. On the flip side, it helps his case that he denied it. If he voted for someone else, he’d most likely come out and say it, not keep it private.

Of course, this whole witch hunt is based on us assuming that these coaches won’t do what most of them are very good at: lying in public.

So we may never get an answer, and if that happens, Kiffin is probably going to take the blame.


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