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2 posts from January 13, 2014

January 13, 2014

Driskel set for spring, Jones scheduled for second surgery

GAINESVILLE -- Florida coach Will Muschamp formally introduced three new assistant coaches Monday, but he also updated UF’s extensive injury report and hinted at a blank-slate approach to spring practice.

The Gators -- decimated by 11 season-ending injuries during their dismal 4-8 campaign -- will enter spring camp (tentatively starting March 19) with their former starting quarterback healthy but remain shorthanded elsewhere. 

Junior signal caller Jeff Driskel, who broke his leg against Tennessee last September, should be ready for spring practice, according to Muschamp.

“His rehab is coming along very well,” UF’s coach said.

The Gators pushed back camp roughly one week in order to give Driskel the most time to heal.

The prognosis was not so good for junior tailback Matt Jones, who sustained a complete radial tear in his left meniscus (Oct. 12) and will miss spring practice following a second procedure expected to take place in about a month.

Muschamp said Jones’ initial surgery repaired “60 percent of the meniscus” and is hopeful the tailback will be ready for the start of preseason camp in August.  

“He had a radial tear, which basically splits the meniscus in half,” Muschamp explained. “We’re going to go back and build the quad back and then we’re going to come back in three or four weeks to have a scope to repair the remaining 40 percent. Our orthopedics feel very confident that they’re going to be able to do so. … We’re very optimistic about the meniscus being fine.”

 

Also sidelined for spring practice are linebackers Matt Rolin (torn ACL) and Alex Anzalone (torn labrum), as well as special teams ace Jeremi Powell (torn ACL). Wideout/kick returner Andre Debose (torn ACL) is expected to participate in all non-contact drills, while offensive tackle Tyler Moore (fractured elbow) will have an X-ray in a couple weeks to determine his status for the 15 practices. Finally, redshirt freshman offensive lineman Octavius Jackson had offseason shoulder surgery to repair “a chronic issue,” and is questionable for camp.

Meanwhile coming off the school’s first losing season in 34 years, change is afoot and no one is guaranteed a starting job, according to Muschamp.

Florida’s coach refused to tab Driskel as UF’s No. 1 quarterback for 2014, saying, “Every job is open. When you go 4-8, it’s all open.”

“You are what your record is,” Muschamp continued. “I’m a 4-8 coach, and we’ve got a 4-8 ball club. We need to work hard to get better and improve in every facet.”

NINE NEW FACES ON CAMPUS

 UF officially announced nine early enrollees including five-star defensive back Jalen Tabor. The rest of the group includes TE DeAndre Goolsby, QB Will Grier, OL Kavaris Harkless, OL Nolan Kelleher, OL Drew Sarvary, RB Brandon Powell, DL Taven Bryan and DB Duke Dawson.

JOKER AN OC CANDIDATE? 

As first reported by the Austin American-Statesman, Florida wide receivers coach Joker Phillips is one of three finalists for Texas’ offensive coordinator position.

On Monday, UF’s offensive line coach Mike Summers -- who actually recruited Phillips to Kentucky in 1981 -- and offensive coordinator Kurt Roper both spoke glowingly of Phillips and acknowledged their strong ties to the assistant was a factor in their decision to come to Florida.

Musuchamp said he does not anticipate any more changes on his coaching staff. 

QUOTABLE 

“As far as an injury update, I’m not going go through everybody, but what I’m going to do is if I don’t say anything about them, that means they’re a full go for spring. And if I hit on guys — there’s different guys, and I’ve got multiple dates and we could be here all day if you want me to go through it.”

-- Muschamp, on Florida’s hampered roster.  

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton

Flipapalooza: Wild week on recruiting trail

GAINESVILLE -- Whew. Take a breath.

Florida’s 2014 class continues to have tons of movement, as the last week continued a whirlwind of upheavel (both good and bad) with two new commitments and a pair of (not-so-surprising) decommitments.

In the last prospect update, I wrote, “I'm sure it will be a crazy month. Stay tuned.”

I only shortchanged the chaos by three weeks.

The bad news first.

On Friday, five-star wideout Ermon Lane (Homestead) officially announced his decommitment from UF (via Twitter), following in the footsteps of his South Florida buddy, five-star tailback Dalvin Cook.

Screen shot 2014-01-12 at 11.28.40 PM

Screen shot 2014-01-12 at 11.28.53 PM

Lane -- like Cook -- Gator chomped for cameras throughout the week during the Under Armour All-American practices, but the talented receiver was actually considered a Florida State lean after word leaked he planned on taking an official visit to FSU in late January.

Also of note: Dalvin Cook is committed to the Seminoles.

The Gators also lost four-star cornerback Chris Lammons (Plantation High), who decommited Thursday, but not without a mega (pleasant) surprise earlier in the day.

Five-star cornerback Jalen Tabor, an early enrollee and the No. 24 ranked player nationally, flipped his commitment from Arizona to Florida. According to reports, Tabor is set to start classes in Gainesville on Monday.

The Gators continued their flipapalooza Friday, nabbing four-star tailback Brandon Powell (Deerfield Beach), who decommitted from Miami after receiving a UF offer Wednesday.

Powell, another early enrollee, is currently UF's lone running back pledge. 

Florida also inched closer to landing defensive tackle Thomas Holley. The four-star prospect, formally a longtime Penn State commit, reopened his recruitment following former PSU head coach Bill O’Brien’s departure to the NFL. Now, the Gators are the presumed favorites to land the Rivals100 defensive lineman.

Finally, 2015 cornerback Deontai Williams (Trinity Christian Academy) committed to Florida in a school ceremony Thursday. Williams is currently UF’s sole pledge for its 2015 class.

Y’all get all that?

In all, the early returns of 2014 have been rather profitable for UF. Since losing Cook on New Years Eve, the Gators have snagged the commitments of Tabor, Powell, Gerald Willis III and Kavaris Harkless, with more likely to come.

Whiffing on Cook and Lane definitely hurt Florida (a lot), but the Gators no longer appear destined for a sputtering finish.

As always, stay tuned.   

Kerfuffle complete: UF's 2014 class remains at 20 commitments.

PLAYER

POS.

HT.

WT.

SCHOOL

STARS

Duke Dawson

DB

5’11”

195

Dixie County

****

J.C. Jackson

DB

5’10”

175

Immokalee

****

Quincy Wilson

DB

6’2”

195

University Sch.

****

Justus Reed

DE

6’5”

235

Central Catholic

***

Khairi Clark

DT

6’2”

325

Chamindade

****

Dontae Angus

OL

6’6”

330

M L King (PA)

***

Tavern Bryan

OL

6’5”

250

Natrona (WY)

***

Nolan Kelleher

OL

6’6”

285

Wando (SC)

****

Travaris Dorsey

OL

6’3”

314

Raines

***

Gerald Willis

DE

6’4”

250

Edna Karr (LA)

****

Will Grier

QB

6’2”

177

Davidson Day (NC)

****

Kavaris Harkless

OL

6’5”

270

Trinity Christian

***

Brandon Powell

RB

5’9”

167

Deerfield Beach

****

C’yontai Lewis

TE

6’5”

212

Northridge (AL)

***

Deandre Goolsby

TE

6’4”

225

Derby (KS)

***

David Sharpe

OL

6’8”

275

Providence Sch.

****

Ryan Sousa

WR

6’0”

180

Lake Nona

***

Moral Stephens

TE

6’3”

205

Taylor County

****

Drew Sarvary

OL

6’7”

310

Tyler J.C. (TX)

***

Jalen Tabor

DB

6’1”

186

Friendship Academy (DC)

*****

UF’s early enrollees: Powell, Tabor, Sarvary, Bryan, Dawson, Goolsby, Grier, Kelleher and Harkless

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton


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