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2 posts from August 12, 2013

August 12, 2013

Gators invading South Florida? Banner day ahead?

Florida picked up prized cornerback Chris Lammons (Plantation) late Monday afternoon after the four-star prospect committed to UF live on ESPNU.

Lammons chose the Gators over finalists South Carolina, Miami and Tennessee.

According to recruiting experts, Lammons’ verbal could be the first of three South Florida kids to commit to the Gators on Monday. We’ll see. More later.

***UPDATE***

Here's Safid Deen's piece (Herald recruiting writer) on the Gators snagging South Florida's star-studded trio all in one day. In addition to Lammons, UF collected verbal commitments from five-star receiver Ermon Lane (Homestead) and four-star cornerback Quincy Wilson (Davie University School) on Monday.

Here’s a notebook I filed to the paper earlier today with some added nuggets…

RB MAY MISS GAMES

GAINESVILLE -- Florida could be without the services of first-team tailback Matt Jones at the start of the 2013 season, Muschamp announced Monday.

The sophomore remains out indefinitely while recuperating from a serious viral infection.

Muschamp highlighted Jones’ recovery, but said the team would not rush back the preseason all-conference tailback.

“We’ve just got to be careful with his condition there,” Muschamp said. “We’re a little bit in uncharted waters having the type of infection he had. Then you’re talking about the heat we’re in and that sort of thing. We need to be really careful that we don’t have a relapse of the situation.”

Jones will play for Florida in 2013, Muschamp said, but he admitted there’s a growing reality Jones may miss some games early in the season.

INJURY LIST

Muschamp also updated the rest of UF’s extensive injury issues:

*Starting fullback Hunter Joyer pulled his hamstring and will be sidelined at least 8-10 days.

*First-team left guard Jon Halapio (torn pectoral) will not be cleared for contact for another 10 days, but offensive linemen Trip Thurman and Max Garcia both returned to practice.

*Cornerback Jaylen Watkins (sprained foot) and Damien Jacobs (patella) remain out.  

SCRIMMAGE STANDOUTS

Florida scrimmaged Saturday for the first time this fall, fighting the midday heat in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Although media and fans could not attend, here’s a highlight video (courtesy of GatorZone)

Muschamp said he was pleased with the scrimmage, calling it “solid” for both sides of the ball. The Gators ran roughly 50 offensive snaps, with another 15-20 special teams plays.

Scrimmage standouts included freshmen wideouts Demarcus Robinson and Ahmad Fulwood, tailback Kelvin Taylor, defensive end Jon Bullard, linebacker Neiron Ball and safety Marcus Maye.

Muschamp said, “There’s no question [Robinson and Fulwood] are going to help our football team.”

SUSPENSION STANDS -- FOR NOW

Florida linebacker Antonio Morrison remains suspended for UF’s first two games against Toledo and Miami, and coach Will Muschamp remains non-committal on if the suspension might ultimately be reduced. 

“I’m still working through that,” Muschamp said. “He’s still going through some things for me right now.”

Morrison, a sophomore, is Florida’s anticipated starter at middle linebacker. He was suspended indefinitely July 22 following two arrests in a five-week period.  Morrison was arrested July 21 for allegedly barking at a police dog and resisting arrest, but the charges were later dropped.

“We’ve talked continuously through the summer. It’s part of being the head coach,” Muschamp said. “When a young man has poor judgment, you work him through it, you educate him and you help him. That’s what we’re doing. I don’t treat these guys any different than I treat my sons. It’s called ‘tough love.’” 

UF ADDS OT COMMIT

Offensive lineman Nolan Kelleher (6-5, 305) became Florida’s 13th member of its 2014 recruiting class after verbally committing to the Gators on Saturday. The three-star prospect (Rivals) out of Wando High (Mount Pleasant, SC) is the sixth offensive lineman in UF’s class. 

THIS & THAT

Valdez Showers, once a part of Florida’s open safety competition, has switched to offense. The redshirt sophomore will play “the Omarius Hines position.” -- A nod to Florida’s senior hybrid H-back last season. … Monday was quarterback Jeff Driskel’s first day in full pads after completing the NCAA’s mandatory acclimation period. … Duel-threat cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy will begin seeing snaps at receiver later this week.

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton

Where Things Stand

A brief update on Florida's traning camp thus far... 

1. One down, one to go…

Barring an injury, Cody Riggs is a starting safety on Aug. 31. The situation could change four weeks into the season, but for now, the redshirt junior is the anointed starter.

2. Stepping up…

Freshmen receivers Ahmad Fulwood, Alvin Bailey and Demarcus Robinson have turned plenty of heads early in practice, but it’s redshirt junior Quinton Dunbar who appears poised for a breakout campaign. Dunbar has conveyed signs of newfound maturity and may be the (long awaited) answer to resurrecting Florida’s beleaguered receiving corps.

3. Wide left…

Florida’s kicking situation hasn’t drastically improved during the first 10 days of camp, but it seems increasingly likely redshirt freshman Austin Hardin will win the job. Senior walk-on Brad Phillips has battled a pulled groin, allowing Hardin -- the favorite to win the job at camp’s opening -- to distance himself.

TO DO LIST

1. Linebacker rotation…

See: work in progress. Michael Taylor (RSJR) will start at either the MIKE or WILL, but after that…the situation gets a tad murky. Although Ronald Powell is said to be looking strong, the SAM linebacker still isn’t 100 percent and his backup (freshman Matt Rolin) just tore his ACL and is out for the season. Darrin Kitchens, Neiron Ball and freshman Daniel McMillian will all play; where and how much is unknown right now. Suspended starter Antonio Morrison is the (not-so-secret) wrench to the whole equation, but his return date remains in limbo.  This is a unit that bears watching all season.

2. Offensive line continuity…

Nearly two weeks into camp, Florida has yet to practice a single snap with its projected starting offensive line. Injured guards Max Garcia and Jon Halapio are expected to return to practice this week, with moving parts to quickly follow. Tyler Moore, a natural tackle playing guard in place of the injured Halapio, will battle Chaz Green, last season’s starter, for first-team right tackle reps when Halapio and Garcia return to action.

3. The rest (starting with the most important)…

Tight end, safety, nose tackle rotation and kick returner are other unsettled battles. 

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton


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