FOUR BITS: Grant, Manuel, Henry, OL transfer

1 » The No. 12/14 Florida Gators pulled off a 61-52 win Tuesday night against the Alabama Crimson Tide mostly due to an explosive start to the second half in which Florida scored 16-straight points. Though the Gators were without two primary reserves in the game, the Crimson Tide had two starters indefinitely suspended, a move that head coach Anthony Grant felt he had to make. As Grant and Florida head coach Billy Donovan communicated both before and after the game, suspending players is a hard decision for a coach to make but usually a smart run because the long-term health if the team is much more important than shot-term gains. The Associated Press’ Jim Litke gave Grant kudos for his decision in this column on Wednesday.

For the price of a ticket Tuesday night in Tuscaloosa, you could see something rare in college sports anymore: a coach putting his foot down. [...] Grant is doing exactly what the NCAA high-handedly promotes as its core mission – holding himself and his players accountable – but the selection committee isn’t about to cut him any slack for doing the right thing. Every loss still counts as a loss, never mind that it occurred because the coach volunteered to tie one hand behind his back. Grant gets that, too. He won’t change a thing because of it.

2 » Former Florida safety Marquand Manuel, an eight-year NFL who spent last year as an intern with the Gators, has been hired as the Seattle Seahawks’ new assistant special teams coach. A two-year starter for Seattle, Manuel also played in the Super Bowl with the Seahawks and is obviously hoping to begin his climb up the coaching ladder with this move.

3 » Former Florida forward Aneika Henry was signed to a training camp contract on Monday by the Atlanta Dream of the WNBA. Currently playing in Poland and ranking fifth in the EuroLeague in rebounding and eighth in double-doubles (averaging 13.6 points and 9.1 boards per game), Henry spent two years with the Gators and tallied 110 blocks while shooting 53.7 percent from the field. Should she be added to the squad for the regular season, Henry will be just the second former Florida player currently playing in the league, joining DeLisha Milton-Jones of the Los Angeles Sparks.

4 » As they did a year ago, the Gators are hoping that an experienced offensive lineman will decide to transfer to Florida and boost the team’s unit. In fact, UF is currently pursuing a pair of players looking to continue their careers at a different school. The Gators are one of a number of top teams going after three-star JUCO guard Fehoko Fanaika (San Mateo, CA), who visited the school recently and has also received offers from Georgia and LSU. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Florida is also interested in Maryland transfer three-star tackle Max Garcia (Norcorss, GA), who is leaving the program but restricted from transferring to any ACC school, Connecticut, Temple, Vanderbilt or West Virginia. Unlike Fanaika, Garcia would be forced to redshirt the 2012 season before joining any team in 2013. A Georgia native, it is believed that he would strongly consider playing close to home if he gets an offer from UGA.

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5 Responses to “FOUR BITS: Grant, Manuel, Henry, OL transfer”

  1. Gatorjm7 says:

    As for the stuff on the JUCO OLs, you mentioned Garcia would be forced to redshirt. According to Fanaika’s comments he would really like to redshirt. So, even if we get both of these guys I would expect neither of them to have an impact this fall.

  2. J.J. says:

    I’m usually a positive person when it comes to the Gators but even I can not help but say it’s pathetic how poor we have recruited at some positions-WR, OL, LB, RB-between the final three years of the previous staff and now this staff. To have to pin your hopes on a mediocre JUCO lineman and now a transfer from Maryland is the kind of thing teams like USF and UCF should be doing, not Florida. Humphries and Dunker are potential All-Americas but having just two of them means the margin for error is non-existent. I still fully support Muschamp but he has his work cut out for him and I go into next season with little expectation of great improvement from last season.

  3. DRU2012 says:

    I’m just glad we’re going after guys like this and are “still in the mix”–it’s an area that was mainly ignored by the last regime, which was OK when everything was going our way in the recruiting process and the success rate of those early Meyer classes, but once that went south, stubbornly staying out of that arena only cost us MORE opportunities.

  4. Ken (CA) says:

    The AP writer really nailed it. If a player is out due to injury, the selection committee will take that into account when evaluating the loss, but if the player was suspended it won’t. Pretty much a double standard there.

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