From time to time, OGGOA will come across a plethora of news and notes that we wish to share – too much to fit into one of our truncated BITS segments. When stories like these fall through the cracks, we catch and wrap them all up with Gator Bites.
» Florida Gators junior forward Will Yeguete as seen Gator Chomping his way into your living room after his team took down LSU 74-52 on the road on Saturday. Animated GIF created for OnlyGators.com by photekxl.
» In addition to being the first center in NFL history to be named to the Pro Bowl in each of his first three seasons in the league, Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey learned Saturday that he has also been voted a 2012 NFL All-Pro by the Associated Press for the third-straight year. Pouncey was also named to USA Football’s All-Fundamental Team this season.
» Fresh off winning the 2012 FIFA World Player of the Year award for the first time in her illustrious career, former Florida striker Abby Wambach received some more great news when she was allocated to her hometown team – the Western New York Flash – on Friday by the brand new eight-team National Women’s Soccer League. Wambach, a native of Rochester, NY, was like all players able to submit a list of requested destinations for the league’s initial allocation and of course put the Flash, which are set to play home games in Rochester, at the very top. Though not every player in the league received their top choice – including other U.S. Women’s National Team stars – most were happy with their destinations. None more so than Wambach.
» According to multiple reports, Gators freshman defensive back Willie Bailey has chosen Louisville as his transfer destination. Bailey chose to leave the program in early December in a decision that was a long time coming as he was not likely to see the field much for the duration of his career.
Check out 13 more Gator Bites…after the break!
» Remember the rusty old 1995 Ford Thunderbird that quarterback Tim Tebow was driving around in his documentary during his senior year of college? It should come as no surprise to anyone that the car was ditched at his parents’ house once he started playing professional football. Three years later, Tebow’s car is about to get a complete overhaul at the hands of NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Richard Petty. According to SportingNews, Tebow will be paying Petty to restore his car, which will then be auctioned off for charity. The car will go “from rusty and covered in cat prints to an amazing machine because of Petty’s Garage,” Tim Tebow Foundation executive director Erik Dellenback told the website. “The car isn’t real special but it will be soon. Timmy knows very well who Richard is. He’s a big fan.”
The car, which had around 80,000 miles on it, will take about 800 manhours to rebuild. It was gutted and will have a new 5.0-liter Coyote Ford engine (500 horsepower) with automatic transmission. It will have new front and rear suspension with big brakes to make it a high-performance vehicle. It will have new custom seats. The shifter from the old car and parts of the car’s body will be used as part of the rebuild.
» In case you were interested in getting some grooming tips from a NFL player, Atlanta Falcons linebacker Mike Peterson offers his in the January 2013 issue of JEZEBEL Magazine. Check them out by clicking here.
» Former Florida defensive end Kevin Carter is hosting a very cool charity event in which celebrities work as servers at a dinner. Great idea. That being said, I had to look up Jay DeMarcus…and I’m not quite sure he can be considered a celebrity…but kudos to him for helping out a very worthy cause.
» Are wide receiver Percy Harvin and the Minnesota Vikings headed for splitsville in his final year under contract? Not according to team general manager Rick Spielman, who told the Associated Press last week that Harvin is a hard worker who has a place with the Vikings going forward. He added that Harvin being placed on injured reserve for his ankle injury was done out of the player’s best interest. “Percy comes to work every day. Everybody sees what Percy puts on the field,” he said. “He plays the game as hard, or order, than anyone else in the NFL, the effort that he puts up out there. So we have no issues with Percy Harvin.” He continued, “We didn’t want to ruin any long-term or longevity issues and put him out there if he wasn’t going to be able to play and risk further injury.” Harvin will be looking for a new contract before the 2013 season. If the team forces him to play the year without a new deal, he could very well become disgruntled…more so if Minnesota slaps the franchise tag on him in 2014.
» Did you know that the Jets planned to primarily use Tebow as a running back in 2012? Though that is not much of a surprise considering the team asked him to pack on the pounds (of muscle) in the offseason, USA Today reports that the team hoped to use him “in traditional sets” in addition to Wildcat packages. “It involved more than the shotgun look and was intended to ‘give [Tebow] the ball and play at times just like [Shonn] Greene and [Bilal] Powell’ were used.” The team also “believed Tebow could be an integral part of their game plans as a running back.”
» Despite having his career potentially ruined by being in New York this past year, Tebow said Wednesday on FOX Business that he was not concerned with looking at decisions past. “I don’t have any regrets,” Tebow said. “I believe everything happens for a reason. I don’t know what my future holds, but I know who holds my future and in that there is a lot of peace and a lot of comfort.”
» Speaking of television, former Gators swimmer and five-time Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte has been given a brand new reality show by E! Entertainment Television. The show, set to be called “What Would Ryan Lochte Do?” revolves around his training, social life and friends and family. It will follow Lochte as he prepares for the 2016 Rio Olympics, designs clothing, looks for love and hangs out with his family and friends. The six-episode program is set to debut in April. “He is an incredibly endearing personality who is sexy, entertaining and fun,” network president Suzanne Kolb said in a statement reported by Entertainment Weekly. “Watching this show, I believe people will fall into three categories: they will want to be him, sleep with him or mother him.”
» Atlanta Braves pitcher Billy Bullock was suspended 50 games by MiLB after testing positive for a “drug of abuse” and violating the league’s drug policy for the second time. Bullock, who has a mid-90s fastball and continues to strike batters out at a high rate, has been inconsistent as a professional and remains a minor league ballplayer.
» Could Florida redshirt junior wide receiver Stephen Alli be headed to the CFL this offseason? Probably not, though it is interesting that the league’s scouting bureau has him listed as the No. 12 available player for the league’s upcoming draft. Alli has one year of eligibility remaining and will likely return to the Gators…because why not? He may not see much action on the field, but college life is good, a UF education goes a long way and the CFL will always be there after graduation. Alli is a highly-coveted player by CFL teams because of his athleticism, potential and because he’s a Canadian. CFL rosters max out at 46 players with 42 available on gamedays (39 non-quarterbacks). Of those 39 players, only 19 can be imports, meaning 20 must be naturalized Canadians. While Alli may not have had a standout college career, he was a top-notch high school player in Canada and will likely have a CFL career ahead of him. He is also a top-flight draft prospect because the league will likely be his only option. Teams do not want to waste picks on players that would consider joining a NFL team as an undrafted free agent or trying to make it first as a practice squad player.
» Gators sophomore punter Kyle Christy was honored at the College Football Performance Awards on Tuesday with the Punter Trophy. He was honored during Florida’s basketball game last Wednesday.
» Miami Dolphins C Mike Pouncey has been robbed of some big-time awards this season, including a deserved nomination to the Pro Bowl, but he has created fans among teammates, the team’s front office and even opposing players. New England Patriots future Hall of Fame defensive tackle Vince Wilfork raved about Pouncey prior to the Week 17 game between the two teams. (Quote courtesy of Ben Volin.)
“The guy’s is a very smart football player. It’s rare that you find a center that can pull out into the open field and can block [defensive backs] and linebackers, especially up front being able to orchestrate that offensive line and getting everybody in the right position that they need to be in. He definitely doesn’t play like he’s only two years in because he’s a real, real good center, offensive lineman in this game. It’s hard to just know that he’s only two years in – that’s the scary thing. He has a very bright future ahead of him and I think those guys, they rally around him. He sets the tone for that team, that offensive line and everybody else just works around of him. He’s definitely a hell of a person, a hell of a player. Anytime you can get a center in the open field to move the way that he moves, that says a lot about that guy individually. He’s a very, very good football player and smart.”
» In a recent championship game, Gators five-star 2013 point guard commit Kasey Hill (Clermont, FL) threw down a dunk and followed it up with a Gator Chomp. Check it out.
» After deciding to hang up his cleats this past offseason, former Florida running back Brandon James accepted a job to be a football coach at St. Joseph’s High School in St. Augustine, FL. When the coach that hired him (Bernie Packo) was fired just 22 days after James was hired, he was asked to lead the program as head coach and accepted the position. Now, after his first and only season with the team, James has been fired. While the team only went 2-8 this past season, it also ended the 2012 campaign with fewer than 20 players on the active roster, according to The St. Augustine Record. James was surprised by the decision, especially after meeting with school administration and telling them he would happily stay on for the rebuilding process. “At the end of the day, I don’t want to be looked at in a bad light,” he told the paper. “I don’t want to be looked at as a guy who took a job and ran away from it. I was ready to tackle another year.”