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50 posts from April 2009

April 30, 2009

Gator Clause takes a break for a few days

GAINESVILLE -- With the spring evaluation-and-recruiting post in order, I'm taking a few days off to visit family in Pensacola. My younger brother is getting hitched this weekend, so I'll be up on Shakedown Street on Friday night, in tuxedo on Saturday and eating Royal Reds on Sunday. Be back at the desk on Monday evening or Tuesday morning.

If news breaks while I'm away, then I'm confident our resident wunderkind, Mike-Mike McCall, will handle his business. As Pigpen used to say, "Next time you see me, things won't be the same."

--The bridge is yours, Mike-Mike. Let's see what you got...


Your Florida Gators spring evaluation headquarters; Plus the Gator Clause Big Board

GAINESVILLE -- Florida's assistant coaches are fanned out across the country this week, evaluating recruits for the class of 2010.

Florida_Gators_logo_medium California, Texas, Georgia, Alabama, Minnesota, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, North Carolina: If there is a top recruit in one of these states then the chances are pretty good that UF's assistant coaches are charting their skills and shaking hands with high school coaches this week. The spring evaluation period runs from April 15 until May 31 but coaches can only travel for four of the six weeks, due to NCAA rules.

UF's assistant coaches began their evaluation period this week. Since the state of Florida's spring football schedule doesn't begin until May 1, the Gators' coaching staff is using this week to travel across the country and evaluate out-of-state talent. Here's a breakdown of where each UF assistant will be evaluating talent this spring: (Note: Head coaches are not allowed to travel during the spring. Urban Meyer does the Gator Gathering thing, which raises money for the program.)

Continue reading "Your Florida Gators spring evaluation headquarters; Plus the Gator Clause Big Board" »

April 28, 2009

If Superman wears Tebow pajamas, Wonder Woman wears these...

TeeBows By Mike McCall

Tim Tebow can add another first to his resume. To my knowledge, he's the first college football player to inspire underwear. Admittedly, I'm not very well-versed on the subject, but it's hard to imagine this has been done for many other people.

That's right, you can buy TeeBows for that special someone in your life, and she (or he, no judging here) will carry the mark of The Chosen One in the form of T-shaped, 90-percent cotton, orange-and-blue undergarments.

This might be the most ridiculous example of TebowMania I've seen to date, but I have little doubt that this will be topped soon.

Schuster Watch: The Dream is Dead

Patrick Schuster2 By Mike McCall

Well, Patrick Schuster's amazing no-hitter streak has come to an end. Gaither High's Drew Doty smacked a deep liner to right in the third inning to end the streak at four games.

It didn't come as much of a surprise, actually, because Schuster had a pretty wild start to the game. His control was a little off, as he pegged two and walked two.

Kudos to the St. Pete Times, who pretty much predicted how that would go down. Check out the column HERE.


Update (4:51): Schuster's Mitchell High answered with two runs in the bottom of the second to take a 2-1 lead, and Schuster opened the third by pegging Gaither High's first batter in the face. He was down for a few minutes, and Gaither put in a pinch runner.

The next batter, Drew Doty, laced a line drive into deep right field for a double, and that's all she wrote for Schuster's no-hitter streak. For some reading on Schuster, check out the feature The New York Times ran on him today: LINK, although it's a little bittersweet now.


Update (4:35): Schuster got through the second unscathed, so far his line is 2 IP, R, 2BB, 2K.

The Florida signee is trying to get his fifth-straight no-no, and if he does that, he'll still be one shy of the national record. Funny thing is, Schuster could throw a no-hitter today and never get the chance to get six. With his team trailing 1-0, he could throw a no-hitter and take the loss, meaning his team would be bounced from the state playoffs.


So I'm toggling between the Chelsea-Barcelona Champions League semifinal and Mitchell High pitcher Patrick Schuster's bid for a fifth-straight no-hitter, which is being broadcast on ESPNNews, so bear with me.

Schuster got through the first without allowing a hit, but he did give up a run. He walked and pegged batters, and a run scored after a throwing error on a grounder to shortstop.

Alex Tyus staying with Florida Gators

UPDATE: The University of Florida is working this morning to clarify this story. Also, Alex Tyus' basketball bio was never removed from the UF athletics website, according to a spokesman.

GAINESVILLE -- Remember that whole story about University of Florida basketball player Alex Tyus transferring because he was unhappy with his role on his team? Well, you can forget about it, apparently.

According to Tyus' Facebook page, the 6-8 forward is now returning to Gainesville for his junior season. Here's what Tyus' Facebook page said today: (Edited by me out of respect for the English language.)

"Alex Tyus all over St. Louis right now!!! But yeah, man, what' s all the negativity about? I'll be back in Gainesville at the end of June. Relax, I'm going nowhere!!!"

All UF coach Billy Donovan has to do now is convince point guard Nick Calathes to stick around for another year and the Gators' should be back in business.

--The university announced on Monday that back-up quarterback John Brantley recently underwent successful ankle surgery. It was minor surgery to correct chronic tendonitis. Brantley should be fully recovered in time for two-a-days, according to UF.

--NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. is still hating on Tim Tebow. During a conference call on Monday, Kiper said that Tebow will be a second- or third-round pick next year, similar to former West Virginia quarterback Pat White.

"I don't think he can be a full-time quarterback," Kiper said. "I don't think he can be the quarterback of the future for you but I do think in the third round, maybe the second round. It will be the same as Pat White. We'll be talking about Tim Tebow like we talked about Pat White."


April 27, 2009

Watkins, Trautwein sign contracts

GAINESVILLE -- They didn't get drafted but it didn't take long for former UF lineman Jason Watkins and Phil Trautwein to find NFL homes.

Watkins agreed to a free-agent contract with the Houston Texans shortly after the draft on Sunday. Trautwein did the same with the St. Louis Rams. Watkins started at right tackle for the 2008 national champions. Trautwein started at left tackle.

Three Gators were drafted over the weekend: Percy Harvin (Minnesota Vikings), Louis Murphy (Oakland Raiders) and Cornelius Ingram (Philadelphia Eagles).

Disappointing draft for the state of Florida

GAINESVILLE -- Slightly off topic here. So, I was charged with writing a story for Monday's paper on the instate college football players selected in the 2009 NFL Draft. Well, it's a short list.

Can you believe that only seven college football players from instate universities were drafted this weekend? You read that correctly. Only SEVEN. Here's the list. (Keep in mind that there are seven Football Bowl Subdivision teams throughout the state.)

Continue reading "Disappointing draft for the state of Florida" »

April 26, 2009

Philly takes Cornelius Ingram in fifth round

GAINESVILLE -- Concerns still remain about the health of Cornelius Ingram's surgically repaired left knee. Ingram, the Gators' former tight end, fell to the fifth round on Sunday of the 2009 NFL Draft before being drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles.

DraftCorneliusIngram Eagles coach Andy Reid said on Sunday that his team's medical staff will evaluate Ingram before allowing him to participate in an upcoming mini-camp.

"We think he should be able to do it," Reid said. "We're going to take it real easy on him. I've got a great trainer, Rick Burkholder, and he'll bring [Ingram] in with our docs and make sure that he's good to go for the mini-camp, which we have a mini-camp this next weekend, so he's going to get thrown right into the fire. He's very talented kid and he sure looked good in his workouts."

Ingram tore his ACL last summer and spent the year rehabilitating his knee and preparing for the 2009 NFL Combine. He ran a 4.68 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine in February. Ingram returned to school for the 2008 season in part to improve his skills as a blocking tight end. The injury robbed Ingram of that opportunity, so now Ingram's first year in the league will likely include plenty of instruction from the Eagles' coaching staff.

"I had [Ingram] as the third-best tight end in this class," said ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay. "Not a great blocker, obviously. Basically a rocked-up wide receiver with very good hands."

Despite the injury, McShay said that Ingram was "a great pick -- the best pick of the fifth round."


Oakland Raiders draft Louis Murphy

GAINESVILLE -- Another Florida Gator is off the draft board. Finally.

The Oakland Raiders selected UF receiver Louis Murphy with the 24th pick of the fourth round on Sunday Lmurphy of the 2009 NFL Draft. Murphy [PICTURED] is the second UF receiver taken this draft. Percy Harvin was the 22nd overall pick on Saturday to the Minnesota Vikings.

Can someone explain to me why Ohio State's third best receiver, Brian Hartline, and two Penn State receivers, were selected ahead of Murphy? Am I making a big deal out of nothing? Here's what ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. thinks.

"Travis Taylor, Taylor Jacobs, Chad Jackson, Reidel Anthony: the list goes on and on and on. Florida receivers have struggled in the NFL and I think guys are afraid of people coming out of the program," Kiper said.

Ouch! Pretty sure UF receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Billy Gonzales isn't going to use that fact when he hits the recruiting road this summer. (Lane Kiffin probably will, though.)

Former Gators still waiting to be drafted today are Cornelius Ingram, Jason Watkins and Phil Trautwein. How is Ingram still around? This is baffling to me. He's such an incredible athlete, you'd think someone would have drafted him before the end of the fourth round. Four tight ends have been drafted today. Meanwhile, Ingram is still waiting to get the phone call.


Urban Meyer calls out critical former Gators

GAINESVILLE -- University of Florida football coach Urban Meyer spoke at a booster club and alumni association meeting on Saturday in Orlando. Folks, he shot from the hip.

Urban Here's what he had to say about former players being critical of the current administration, according to Andrea Adelson of the Orlando Sentinel:

“There’s going to be a time when you don’t win every game you play. There’s going to be a time when someone makes a mistake. If you’re a person who’s going to criticize, we don’t need you around.

“I’m also going to talk about loyalty with our former athletes. Some are welcome, some aren’t. …We want former Gators to come back, but loyalty’s a two-way street. If you want to be critical of a player on our team or a coach on our team you can buy a ticket for seat 37F, you’re not welcome back in the football office.

"You’re either a Gator or you’re not a Gator. It’s real simple. For those who are not Gators keep buying tickets, critique, but if you’re a real Gator, get to know our players. Let’s enjoy the greatest era ... of Gator athletics.”

Anybody got a clue who Meyer might be talking about?

Continue reading "Urban Meyer calls out critical former Gators" »

April 25, 2009

Q&A: Percy Harvin on Vikings, character issues

GAINESVILLE -- Percy Harvin answered questions from beat reporters who cover the Minnesota Vikings and Saturday night. Harvin was selected by the Vikings in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft with the 22nd overall pick.


Percy_harvin HARVIN: It was a great privilege, actually going through this whole process. Me and my agent, Joel Segal, who helped me out a ton, we kind of went through the teams we wanted to go to. Minnesota was kind of number one on my list, just being a team that I could grow from, being under Bernard Berrian and being that they already got a workhorse in Adrian Peterson. I’m just looking to come in and help win and be a (piece of) this puzzle. I’m looking forward to being a Viking and helping the team win.


HARVIN: It was tremendous. We didn’t specifically talk about any subject (or) anything that kind of went on. It was kind of like we were just buddies and just doing a lot of things. We went out to eat. Like I said, we didn’t specifically talk about anything; we did hit on football and things like that. For the most part it was just hanging out and getting to know each other. It was a great, tremendous visit. Even after that we kind of texted each other. Everything was very good.


HARVIN: Definitely. I respect the question. Growing up, I’ve always been good with getting things out in the open. I knew it was a question that had to be answered. I had no problems with answering it. With these coaches, I opened up to them and they opened up to me. When it got to those subjects, the only thing I could do was tell them the truth, be up front and let them judge me from there. We had a great respect for each other. Them picking me shows they believed in me. I got their back and they got mine. I’m just looking forward to becoming a Viking.

Continue reading "Q&A: Percy Harvin on Vikings, character issues" »

NFL DRAFT: Percy Harvin selected 22nd overall

GAINESVILLE -- The Minnesota Vikings drafted former University of Florida receiver Percy Harvin with the 22nd selection of the first round in the 2009 NFL Draft on Saturday.

Harvin (5-11, 192 pounds) joins a team with several legitimate playmakers, which could make life easier for Harvin during his rookie season. Harvin will complement Vikings receiver Bernard Berrian and should take more pressure off of Minnesota's star running back, Adrian Peterson.

Harvin is the first wide receiver drafted by the Vikings in the first round since 2005, when Minnesota selected former South Carolina wide-out Troy Williamson with the seventh overall pick. Harvin scored 32 touchdowns in 36 games for the University of Florida. He amassed 1,929 receiving yards and 1,852 yards rushing during his collegiate career.

Harvin's selection on Saturday extended a three-year streak for the Florida Gators of at least one former player being drafted in the first round.


Urban Meyer suspends Miami's Hannah

GAINESVILLE -- University of Florida football coach Urban Meyer has suspended Florida walk-on Marquis Hannah from the team following Hannah's Friday night arrest for breaking and entering and misdemeanor battery.

"[Hannah] is not part of this team until the issue is resolved," Meyer said on Saturday afternoon. Meyer was in Orlando on Saturday for a booster club and alumni association fan rally.

Hannah, who starred at Miami Carol City in 2005, walked on the Gators football team in 2007. He was bonded out of the Alachua County jail on Saturday.


University of Florida football player arrested

GAINESVILLE -- University of Florida football player Marquis Hannah, a graduate of Miami Carol City, was arrested at 5 p.m. on Friday for allegedly forcing his way into a Gainesville apartment and punching a man in the face.

Hannah Hannah, who spent the night in the Alachua County Jail, was charged with two counts: a second-degree felony for unarmed burglary of an occupied dwelling and a first-degree misdemeanor for battery. Hannah, who will be a redshirt junior next season, tore the anterior-cruciate ligament in his knee in 2008 and sat out the national championship football season. Listed as a scout-team running back, Hannah joined the Gators football team in 2007 as a walk-on.

Hannah was a captain of the Miami Carol City Chiefs football team in 2005 and was selected to the Miami-Dade County all-star team following a senior season that earned him a spot on The Miami Herald's All County second-team defense. In January, Hannah was selected to the Southeastern Conference Academic Honor roll. He is majoring in criminology.

University of Florida football coach Urban Meyer was unavailable for comment on Friday night. Hannah dressed for one game during his one healthy season with the Gators.

According to jail records, Hannah allegedly knocked on an apartment door at 1000 SW 62nd Blvd. -- The District on 62nd apartment complex -- at 4 p.m. on Friday and then pushed his way inside the apartment once the door had been opened by a female occupant. Once inside the apartment, Hannah began yelling at two females "that they needed to talk," according to Gainesville police. The commotion awoke a man, who had been sleeping in the apartment's bedroom. The man walked into the living area of the apartment and began questioning why his girlfriend was being accosted.

At this time, Hannah allegedly struck the man in the face, according to police records. The victim then grabbed Hannah and pulled him outside of the apartment. According to jail records, Hannah told police post-Miranda that the male victim first bumped Hannah in the chest before the fighting ensued.


April 24, 2009

The final blow to Percy Harvin's ego


GAINESVILLE -- Percy Harvin isn't going to be on the cover of EA Sports' college football video game after all. Instead, the coverboys of College Football 2010 will be receiver Michael Crabtree of Texas Tech, quarterback Mark Sanchez of Southern Cal, defensive end Brian Orakpo of Texas and quarterback Brian Johnson of Utah.

EA Sports introduced the players at a party on Friday night in New York. Harvin wasn't introduced, but a former Gator sure did a lot of talking at the event, so that counts for something, right?

All the talk of Harvin gracing one of the covers and then not making the final cut led some to speculate that Harvin's negative publicity of late had something to do with his snub. That theory seems a little farfetched, if you ask me, but who knows? (And never mind that EA Sports' target audience for College Football 2010 is a bunch of stoners sitting around their dorm room playing video games.)

Who cares, really? Just a video game, right? Well, not so fast. Video games aside, how many possible endorsement deals are Harvin's alleged misleads going to cost him? Not many, if he's smart. 

Harvin's image, of course, isn't totally ruined over a few rumors by NFL Draft websites and Fox Sports. It can be salvaged. (And plenty of people don't even care one way or the other if Harvin smokes pot as long as he doesn't test positive once he's in the NFL.) Hopefully Harvin will spend some of that signing-bonus money on a savvy publicist. Americans love their sports heroes, but Americans really love their sports heroes who fall and then get back up. He's edgy, he's fearless, he's reformed now go buy his jersey.

ANYWAY, let's see what else is buzzing around campus these days ... In other words, let's talking RECRUITING!

Continue reading "The final blow to Percy Harvin's ego" »

April 23, 2009

President Obama has a "soft spot" for Florida Gators offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert

How would you like being called out in a crowd by President Barack Obama? That's what happened to Florida Gators offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert when the University of Florida football team met with the President at the White House on Thursday.

Gilbert Marcus Gilbert's father, Jeff, was a Secret Service agent for Obama throughout most of his campaign. President Obama and Jeff Gilbert are good friends, according to the President. Naturally, that means the President gets to bust the chops of Jeff's son. Gilbert, who will be a redshirt junior next season, is from Coral Springs and graduated from Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas in 2006.

For the record, Gilbert [PICTURED] was the first person President Obama singled out on Thursday ... ahead of Tim Tebow even.

"I do have to give a special shout-out to Marcus Gilbert," Obama said. "Where's Marcus? There he is. Marcus, I've got a soft spot for this guy, because his dad, Jeff, was the first Secret Service agent on my detail, almost two years ago. He was with me for most of the campaign. He is a great friend of mine -- and there he is back there.

"So that's Marcus' pop right here. We always tried to figure out how Marcus got so big because Jeff is not that big and his wife is even smaller."


Tim Tebow: I got your back, Mr. President

Obama2 Among the many highlights of the Florida Gators' trip to the White House on Thursday was quarterback Tim Tebow's words of encouragement to President Barack Obama.

According to Tebow, he looked President Obama "in the eye" and told him "we're behind" you and "praying for" you ... So, the President has got that going for him.

During his address to the team, President Obama recognized Tebow's "Promise Speech," which Tebow delivered to reporters and fans following the Gators' 2008 loss to Ole Miss. President Obama was in Oxford, Miss., the day the Rebels defeated Florida at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Continue reading "Tim Tebow: I got your back, Mr. President" »

Notes on the Gators' trip to the White House

Obama The University of Florida football team presented President Barack Obama with a Florida Gators jersey today with his name on the back. The jersey number was the number one, of course.

President Obama also received a commemorative football from the team. On the ball reads "Barack Obama" along with the score from the national championship game and the phrase, "National Champions."

President Obama flipped the ball underhanded to his aide, Reggie Love. Obama then noted that Love played football at Duke and asked Love if he ever played the Gators. Love said no, to which Obama replied, "Yeah, you're lucky."

Love said Duke "probably would have beaten them."

Continue reading "Notes on the Gators' trip to the White House" »

President Obama meets with the Florida Gators

President Barack Obama met with the University of Florida football team for about 10 minutes today (3:50-4 p.m.) in the East Room of the White House. Here's a transcript of the meeting, according to the Office of the Press Secretary ...

Continue reading "President Obama meets with the Florida Gators" »

Shakespeare on the Florida Gators

GAINESVILLE -- With today being the official/unofficial birthday of William Shakespeare and all, we thought we'd have a little fun on the blog...

"Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon 'em."
-Malvolio, Twelfth Night Act 2, scene 5, 156-159

The quality of "Percy" is not strain'd,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that "tokes."
-Portia, The Merchant of Venice Act 4, scene 1, 180-187

A hit, a very palpable hit.
-Osric, Hamlet Act 5, scene 2, 282

Continue reading "Shakespeare on the Florida Gators" »



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