Gone are the days of the Florida Gators thinking Microsoft Paint-created social media art is campy and fun. With a new coaching staff and improved philosophy in Florida’s recruiting office has come a dedication to promoting the Gators brand on social media, the latest incarnation of which has come in sharp new graphs sent to high school seniors along with official scholarship offer letters.
Coming off their first national tile in more than a decade, the Ohio State Buckeyes earned the No. 1 spot in the 2015 preseason USA Today Coaches’ Poll released Thursday, while the Florida Gators will enter the season unranked for the second straight season.
Florida opened the 2015 poll in the 48th spot with two total votes, one of 13 Southeastern Conference teams to receive votes (eight of which will start in the top 25).
It is the second time since USA Today took over the coaches poll in 1991 that the Gators have been unranked in its preseason edition, the first coming last year.
Ohio State received 62 of 64 possible first-place votes with TCU (1), Alabama (1), Baylor and Oregon rounding out the top five.
The eight Southeastern Conference teams ranked by the coaches this preseason – three in the top 10 – include: Alabama (3), Auburn (7), Georgia (9), LSU (13), Ole Miss (15), Arkansas (20), Missouri (23) and Tennessee (25). Overall, 10 SEC teams ranked among the top 27 vote-getters.
UF will face six teams ranked in the preseason top 25: FSU, UGA, LSU, Mizzou, UT.
Updated at 9 p.m.
Back in March, OnlyGators.com provided an in-depth look at some of the first steps head coach Jim McElwain took to build and enhance the infrastructure of Florida Gators football. Specifically, McElwain created a top-notch support staff for the program, though he cautioned that there were still a handful of spots that would be available to add additional talent: “We’re not filled up yet,” he said.
It now appears as if one of those open slots has been taken. According to The Gainesville Sun’s Zach Abolverdi, who cited an anonymous source, six-year NFL veteran quarterback Charlie Frye will join the Gators this fall.
1 » USA Today went somewhat in-depth on former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow with Josh Peter penning a feature that looks at how his throwing motion and football mind has evolved while fighting to keep his career alive. Below is a highlight quote from the feature, which you can read in full by clicking here.
“I don’t feel like I’m the same player from a passing standpoint and a mechanics standpoint,” Tebow said. “I love the process and I love that I have a chance to get better,” he added. “That’s an important mindset not just for football, just in life. When you have that mindset, then you won’t look back and you won’t regret anything. No matter how much you succeeded, no matter how good you were at something, you can never look back and say, ‘I regret I didn’t go all the way.'”
2 » Though former Florida cornerback Janoris Jenkins missed out on first-round money due to off-field concerns, it appears as if he may be close to striking a substantial contract extension with the St. Louis Rams, which took a chance on him with the No. 39 overall pick in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Jenkins has been a solid starter for the Rams over the last three seasons, making his share of highlight plays and also being on his fair end of offensive highlights for the St. Louis’ opponents. Still, Jenkins will likely command second- or third-tier money, which for a cornerback these days can be a more-than-solid payday. Jenkins picked off seven passes and scored five touchdowns from 2012-14.
1 » Former Florida Gators guard/forward Mike Miller, who signed a two-year deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers to play with superstar LeBron James and hopefully win another title before retiring, has been traded by the franchise to the Portland Trailblazers. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, who first reported the Miller trade, he will likely be bought out by Portland and become a free agent, though league rules prevent him from resigning with Cleveland for a full season.
With roster spots at a premium right now, Miller would likely have to wait to join a new team; he could also decide to retire. Miller, 35, is owed $2.85 million in the final year of his contract but will likely accept a buyout for a much lower amount. He has already received $400,000 as a trade kicker, a clause that was built into his Cavaliers contract.
Two-star quarterback Kyle Trask (Manvel, TX) committed to the Florida Gators on Sunday, becoming the first signal caller to pledge for the team in the Class of 2016.
“I am proud to announce that I have officially committed to the University of Florida!!! #ChompChomp #GoGators,” the prospect wrote on his Twitter account.
Florida Gators redshirt sophomore wide receiver Alvin Bailey was arrested on an outstanding warrant and sent to jail Saturday after failing to appear in court for a mandatory hearing on June 9.
Bailey, who was fist cited on May 8, 2014, for unknowingly driving with a suspended license, was cited a second time for driving a vehicle with a suspended license nearly one year later on May 4.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, which first reported Bailey’s arrest, he was booked into Hillsborough County Jail on Saturday evening following an afternoon arrest.
OnlyGators.com has learned, via a court records search, that Bailey was released from jail at 10 p.m. on Saturday after posting a $5,000 bond.
One day after an evening that had already reaped rewards for the Florida Gators, four-star linebacker Jeremiah Moon (Birmingham, AL) may well be the biggest get as the talented defender has committed to the program shortly after its Friday Night Lights camp in Gainesville, Florida.
“God is awesome! I am officially committed to the University of Florida! #ChompChomp,” Moon wrote on his Twitter account Saturday.