Former Florida Gators shine at 2013 Pro Day

By Adam Silverstein
March 13, 2013

Nineteen former Florida Gators football players – including five that have been off the team for more than a year – participated in Pro Day at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on a rain-covered Florida Field in Gainesville, FL on Tuesday.

Representatives from all 32 NFL teams were in attendance though many head coaches and general managers remained at their teams’ headquarters considering Pro Day was being held on the same day as the start of NFL free agency for the 2013 season.

“It’s an exciting time. That’s how Pro Day is supposed to look at Florida,” head coach Will Muschamp said after the event. “All 32 teams are here and that’s how it ought to be. As we continue to do a good job evaluating in recruiting and developing our players, which we will, our Pro Days will continue to look that way. Really proud of these guys that worked out today and appreciate all their contributions to the University of Florida. I want to congratulate our staff on doing an outstanding job developing these guys.”

“I think they’ve all worked extremely hard,” he continued. “They understand what’s at stake. These guys are at a great time in their life. Here they are the verge of playing in the arena on Sunday. That’s something, as you look at, you’re a football player and taking that next step. They understand what’s at stake. I’m proud of what I saw today just form the standpoint of how they worked and how they conducted themselves, the positive feedback I’ve gotten from general managers, head coaches, assistants and the National Football League of the character of our guys and how they handled themselves at the combine. All of it has been ultra-positive. I’ve been real pleased about that.”

Below are evaluations on and quotes from many of the Gators that participated on Tuesday. Defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, linebacker Lerentee McCray and tight end Jordan Reed did not work out but will in a separate, private Pro Day event on March 22 in The Swamp. Reed did still participate in some on-field drills Tuesday.

Muschamp had nothing but high praise for Floyd when asked about him potentially going in the top five picks. “Turn on the tape,” he said. “The guy can anchor, he can play the run, he’s got great initial quickness, he can rush the passer. He’s everything you want from an inside player. The NFL teams, they don’t like to project. I’ve been there; I know. They want to see guys that play in 3-4 and 4-3. They’ve seen him play two-gap. They’ve seen him play nose. They’ve seen him play four-technique, They’ve seen him play one-gap, three-technique, five-technique, nine-technique. They’ve seen him play outside; they’ve seen him play inside.

“From a general manager prospective, talking to his owner and telling him he wants to spend money on a player – a clean player that has no issues off the field – that’s a very smart pick, in my opinion. You got a guy that can be a very dominating player that has got so many positive things surrounding him and he’s been exposed positionally to so many different things within our scheme.”

Other former Gators in attendance to root on the younger guys included wide receivers Reidel Anthony and Riley Cooper, defensive end Carlos Dunlap, linebacker Mike Peterson, running back Chris Rainey and linebacker Brandon Siler.

Safety Matt Elam

» NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock (via Florida’s website): “On tape he plays so close to the line of scrimmage, especially in their nickel package, he’s on the slot. He’s quick-footed, an aggressive tough kid. What I saw today was what I wanted to see, his ball skills, especially on deep balls. I could see him open his hips, take angles like a deep half or deep third. I thought he really helped himself today.”


» On the NFL Draft process (via InsidetheGators.com): “It’s been a very tough process. You just go day by day and get yourself fired up by going to the gym. You just go out there and work and let everything else happen by itself, just wait for Pro Day. Whatever team I go to, it’ll be a blessing.”

» On how he felt he did during the skill drills (via InsidetheGators.com): “I just wanted to show them being fluid in the back end,” he said. “They see a lot of film of me playing nickel against a slot receiver. There’s not a lot of me playing in the back end at middle safety and opening up my hips and showing them how fluid I am. My versatility.”

» On workouts and the draft process: “It was a great experience. I learned a lot of new things and met some interesting guys, so it’s been a great process for me. I feel like it’s no different from practice. Just go out and work every day and just keep on improving so you can be the best.”

Tight end Jordan Reed

» NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock (via Florida’s website): “It was important to see him. He initially told the tight end coaches that he wasn’t going to go and they kind of shamed him into it. I think it was good for the kid. He caught the ball extremely well, not just the one-handed catches that look good, but every catch was solid, no double catches. I’d put a third-round grade on him but it wouldn’t surprise me in today’s NFL if he ended up in the second round somewhere.”

Linebacker Jon Bostic

» Defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin: “He’s been in and out of town with working out down in Tampa, but quite a bit. We talk on the phone. I’m really proud of him and what he’s done. He did a great job at the combine, did a great job today at the workouts. We’re excited to see what happens with him. The biggest thing – for whatever reason some people were questioning his speed at the next level, which I don’t know why because it shows up on tape quite a bit. I think he silenced all that right away. He went and ran a great time at the combine. That’s what we’ve known what he can do, so it wasn’t a surprise to us. Jon works very hard at football both on and off the field. I think that has shown up in his workouts and how he’s a professional about it. He doesn’t say much about it; he just goes about his business. Talk about a senior year, that guy played unbelievable for us this year. I think teams now are seeing what he’s made of. [Feedback I’m hearing is] all very positive. I think those guys, their eyes are opening to what he can do. The more you get to know about him, the more you get to know him, the better it is. That guy is an unbelievable character both on and off the field as I said before with Jelani as well. Just very intelligent. There’s no weakness in his game. He can play all three downs at linebacker. He can cover; he can play the run. He’s made improvements throughout his career here at Florida, which is evident – you can see it on tape. Some of the weaknesses he had earlier in his career, he doesn’t [have those] anymore. He’s instinctive. He’s a guy that I think will have a long, long career in the NFL. That’s the feedback I’m getting from those guys as well.”

» On how he has performed during workouts (via Associated Press): “A lot of eyes were opened at the combine. People didn’t expect me to run as fast as I did and be as agile as I was. … The main thing with me was a lot of people wanted to see if I could run. Their prediction for me was 4.8, so that was kinda funny.”

» On how Pro Day went for him: “I thought it went pretty well. I got a chance to really come out and show things that I do well, so that’s always positive. […] I really don’t care where about I get drafted. I really just want a chance to play at the next level and succeed.”

Linebacker Jelani Jenkins

» Defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin: “Jelani and I talked about it a bunch. We’ve had a good relationship or quite some time. I’ve been here with him for a while. Jelani, you talk about a top-notch character guy. I don’t think you can find a stronger character person off the field. He’s a great linebacker in terms of he can learn the game in the meeting room and carry it right over to the field. He’s very smart, intelligent. He’s vocal on the field. He’s quiet sometimes off the field, but he’s very vocal on the field, makes all the calls and checks. We put a lot on our linebackers here and he did that very well. I think he has dynamic speed. I don’t know a linebacker that turns better than Jelani. I think he brings quite a bit to these teams. I think they’re seeing that right now. … Jelani had that in his mind, that was a dream of his and something he wanted to do at the end of this year. He’s been here for four years; he redshirted. That was something he made up in his mind. He’s got a great family, great people around him that helped make those type of decisions. They’re all on the same page behind it and, you know what, good for him. He’s going to be able to go play in the NFL and play for a long time as long as he stays healthy. We’re excited to watch him do it.”

» Jenkins on why he did not workout at the combine (via ESPN): “It took me a while to start being able to go run and do everything with everybody else that was working out with me,” Jenkins said. “I just tried to take it slow, get a good two or three weeks of just straight treatment and then start from fundamentals. It kind of pushed me back a little bit, but I was able to do everything today.”

» Workouts scheduled with Kansas City, Miami and Carolina.

Running back Mike Gillislee

» Offensive coordinator Brent Pease: “I think they’re very encouraged by Mike’s production, especially having one year to really do what he did. They asked how does he learn and all the typical stuff. Especially being new, he’s once again going to be in a new system like he was last year. Obviously his learning capabilities are productive and consistent. He can do that, that’s all I told them. I think he’s got a great opportunity for whatever team drafts him. Whoever wants him, the right team will find him. It’s not just going to be pretty random out there.”

» On the whole draft process (via InsidetheGators.com): “It’s been tough, but everything is worth it. I just stayed focused and stayed humble and knew God was gonna bless me one day and give me an opportunity.”

» Workouts scheduled with Atlanta and St. Louis.

Safety Josh Evans

» NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock (via Florida’s website): “He is a big solid kid. To be honest with you, I’ve got to go back and do a little more work on him. I kind of like the way he moved around today. I’ve got to do more homework on him.”

» On the weather (via InsidetheGators.com): “It was a little difficult, but as football players, we call it football weather. We still came out here, no excuses. We came to compete.”

» On how the coaching staff helped him with his career: “I want to take my hat off to this coaching staff we had the last two seasons. They helped me tremendously. Dan Quinn, a defensive coordinator guru, and Will Muschamp having those guys supporting you and pushing you and showing you some of those NFL techniques definitely helped my game. I’ll definitely be using that at the next level.”

Defensive tackle Omar Hunter

» On how his workout went (via InsidetheGators.com): “I don’t like to use excuses for anything. I ran what I ran. If it would have been on a dry field, I probably would have ran a little bit better. But for the most part, it was OK. … This is my home, this is the Florida Gators. I didn’t expect anything less.”

» Workouts scheduled with Jacksonville, New Orleans, Indianapolis, Houston and Washington.

Defensive lineman Earl Okine

Kicker Caleb Sturgis

Also participated: offensive lineman Xavier Nixon, fullback Scott Peek, wide receivers Frankie Hammond, Jr. and Omarius Hines, and offensive linemen Sam Robey and James Wilson. Former Gators: defensive linemen Brandon Antwine and Lawrence Marsh, offensive lineman Carl Johnson and Phil Trautwein, and defensive back Moses Jenkins.

One Comment

  1. Michael Jones says:

    Coach Muschamp. . what a class act. There is just nothing, as a Gator, to not love about the guy. I also really appreciate how these coaches get behind these kids who have graduated in their efforts to play at the next level. Says a lot about what we have at UF–a coaching staff that really cares about these student athletes, not just for as long as they can contribute on the field, but cares about them for the rest of their lives. Also love seeing former players show up for pro day and getting behind these kids and encouraging them. Makes me even prouder to be a Florida Gator.

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