GAINESVILLE -- Giddy up.
Here’s everything you may have missed since Florida’s dreadful season mercifully ended one week ago.
What’s that you say? Florida canned its offensive coordinator and offensive line coach?
Ok, y’all already knew that, but UF’s brain trust (coach Will Muschamp and athletic director Jeremy Foley) is taking its sweet-time searching for Florida’s third coordinator in four seasons.
While speculation has run rampant since Brent Pease’s firing, the Gators are unlikely to hire a new coach before the end of bowl season.
Muschamp actually took a similar approach the last time he faced such a predicament -- hiring Pease on Jan. 10, 2012 -- but considering his ultimate fate with the Gators likely rides on his next hire, he’d be wise to take his time again.
Florida’s (rumored) list of potential coordinator candidates runs longer than an episode of A Prairie Home Companion, but here she goes.
Arizona State’s Mike Norvell and Southern California’s Clay Helton are the presumed frontrunners, while Dave Christensen (ex-Wyoming head coach), Texas’ Major Applewhite, Texas A&M’s Jake Spavital and North Carolina’s Blake Anderson are alleged candidates too.
Really, who the hell knows right now?
I continue to hold out hope for Ed Orgeron because why not? Having no offensive coordinator would be the most Will Muschamp thing ever.
PURIFOY BOLTS TO THE NFL
As anticipated, junior cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy declared for the 2014 NFL Draft earlier this week.
In an official statement released by the school, Purifoy said, “I have had a great three years at the University of Florida, but at this time I think it's best for me and my family to pursue a career in the NFL. Coach Muschamp and Coach [Travaris] Robinson have put me in a position to take the next step. I know there is still a lot of work for me ahead, but I appreciate what everyone at Florida did to get me to this point. As much as I look forward to playing in the NFL, I will miss my teammates and coaches and look forward to watching them play next year."
Purifoy, a dynamic athlete ranked as the No. 27 overall prospect according to Scouts Inc., ended his Florida career as a tantalizing talent.
The junior flashed his playmaking skills with blocked punts, blindside sacks and interceptions, but his inconsistencies (especially tackling) frustrated many fans’ lofty expectations.
During the preseason, the junior was hyped as a potential offensive threat, but a lingering wrist issue thwarted any extensive role.
Purifoy finished his junior year with two interceptions (one for a touchdown), seven pass breakups and 3.5 tackles for loss (two sacks).
"There are a lot of factors that go into making these individual and personal decisions and I'm 100 percent supportive of Loucheiz's choice to enter into the NFL Draft," Muschamp said. "Loucheiz has come a long way from when I sat in his living room with his family during the recruiting process, and he also knows his work is not done. We wish him nothing but the best of luck and look forward to watching him on Sundays. As we have with other former Gators, we encourage him to return to Florida and complete his degree."
SENIOR BOWL INVITES
Right guard Jon Halapio and defensive back Jaylen Watkins both accepted invitations to the 2014 Senior Bowl in Mobile, AL.
Watkins, who mostly played safety as a senior, finished third on the Gators in tackles with 52, while Halapio tallied 43 career starts.
2014 wideout Ryan Sousa (Lake Nona High, Orlando) flipped his verbal commitment from Florida State to Florida late Monday evening. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound three-star prospect had been a longtime Seminoles commit before switching his allegiance to the Gators following his visit to Gainesville during the FSU-UF game. The Gators’ 2014 class, ranked No. 15 by Rivals.com, now has 16 verbal commitments.
Meanwhile, five-star tailback Dalvin Cook has reportedly (according to multiple recruiting websites) signed financial aid agreements with Miami, FSU and UF, allowing the teams’ staff unlimited contact throughout the remainder of the recruiting process. While it’s been a bumpy recruitment, Cook remains a UF commit despite rumors swirling of an impending flip to an archrival school.
Finally, quarterback prospect Will Grier -- perhaps Florida’s most important oral commit in its 2014 class -- was named the Gatorade North Carolina Player of the Year for the second straight year.
Enjoy Championship Saturday, y’all.
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