Florida Gators football’s tumultuous offseason

The 2013 offseason started out relatively calm and normal for the Florida Gators football program with some players deciding to leave school early to play professionally and others choosing to try their luck at another university. Suddenly, starting on Jan. 10, a string of arrests, poor decisions, injuries and negative headlines began taking over the spring and summer for the Gators. Below is a timeline* of one of the most bizarre and controversial offseasons in Florida football history.

* While all of the news below was sour for Florida or its players in one way or another, obviously some of the occurrences (arrests, suspensions) are significantly more egregious than others (players transferring, coaches leaving). The standout, headline-making stories that either painted the program in a negative light or were exceptionally newsworthy during the summer are highlighted in red.

Luckily for Gators fans, with fall practice officially opening on Friday and the 2013 college season exactly one month away, the offseason is now over.


Jan. 3 – Standout defenders – safety Matt Elam, defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd – declare for the 2013 NFL Draft
Jan. 4 – Leading pass catcher and starting tight end Jordan Reed declares for draft
Jan. 5 – Back-up quarterback Jacoby Brissett transfers
Jan. 6 – Back-up running back Chris Johnson transfers
Jan. 7 – Starting linebacker Jelani Jenkins declares for the draft, but defensive tackle Dominique Easley decides to stay for his senior season
Jan. 10 – Former RB Chris Rainey is arrested for battery in Gainesville, FL and subsequently waived by the Pittsburgh Steelers (See: Feb. 1)
Jan. 15 – Former QB Doug Johnson potentially faces a felony battery charge for an incident that occurred in Nov. 2012 (See: Feb. 20)
Jan. 16 – Offensive lineman Jessamen Dunker is arrested for grand theft auto and driving with a suspended license (See: Jan. 18)
Jan. 17 – Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn leaves Florida for the Seattle Seahawks, but the Gators immediately name D.J. Durkin as his replacement
Jan. 18 – Head coach Will Muschamp suspends Dunker indefinitely
Jan. 29-30 – UF confirms that it has changed the number font on its uniforms…to this
Feb. 1 – Rainey’s battery charge is dropped down to disorderly conduct
Feb. 3 – Standout defensive back Loucheiz Purifoy is arrested for possession of marijuana (See: Feb. 21)
Feb. 14 – Then-New York Jets QB Tim Tebow catches major fire for a planned speaking engagement at the controversial First Baptist Church (See: Feb. 21)
Feb. 20 – Battery charges against Doug Johnson are dropped
Feb. 21 – Marijuana possession charges against Purifoy are dismissed | Tebow backs out of his speaking engagement with First Baptist Church
March 6 – Dunker is arrested again (second time in the spring, third overall) for speeding and driving with a suspended license (See: April 24)
March 8 – While recovering from an ACL injury, wide receiver David Nelson is cut by the Buffalo Bills (See: April 8)
March 16 – Freshman LB Alex Anzalone injures his shoulder in practice, has surgery and is ruled out for the remainder of spring practice
March 26 – Freshman WR Demarcus Robinson suffers a high-ankle sprain, misses the end of spring practice
April 3-4 – A former Auburn player alleges that Muschamp paid him; Muschamp subsequently denies the allegations
April 8 – Cleveland signs Nelson to a one-year deal
April 10 – Defensive line coach Bryant Young resigns
April 12 – Brissett rips Florida for its handling of the quarterback competition
April 24 – Dunker leaves the program via transfer
April 29 – Tebow is finally released by the Jets
May 6 – Dwyer High School head coach Jack Daniels rips UF for QB competition
May 14 – Offensive line coach Tim Davis jokingly calls Nick Saban “the devil himself” at a Gator Gathering (See: May 17)
May 17 – Saban keeps story in the spotlight by calling Davis comment “disappointing”
June 9 – Starting QB Jeff Driskel is selected in 2013 MLB Draft, fans become concerned about him leaving for no good reason
June 16 – Linebacker Antonio Morrison is arrested for battery (See: June 28)
June 18-22 – New England tight end Aaron Hernandez is questioned in homicide investigation looking into the shooting death of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd, an associate
June 19 – Hernandez is also being sued for shooting a man in Miami
June 26 – Hernandez is arrested and subsequently released by the Patriots before being charged with first-degree murder
June 28 – Morrison agrees to deferred prosecution for his battery arrest
June 29 – Walk-on punter Grant Van Aman is arrested for driving under the influence
July 2 – It is uncovered that Hernandez was nearly arrested on battery charges by Gainesville police in 2007 and – gasp – Tebow was on the scene trying to help
July 3 – Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer reportedly turns in Florida RB coach Brian White for a recruiting violation but adamantly denies doing so, though an secondary report confirms that he was involved in the proceedings
July 3 – After the Gainesville Police Department inadvertantly releases a sealed police report, ESPN’s Outside the Lines digs in on the 2007 Gainesville shooting incident in which Hernandez and Reggie Nelson were questioned by police
July 3 – Driskel signs with the Red Sox; Gators fans freak out for no good reason
July 10 – Documents released in Hernandez trial paint a damning picture against him
July 13 – Maurkice and Mike Pouncey, while celebrating their birthday in Miami, FL, don “Free Hernandez” hats in support of their former teammate (See: July 15)
July 15 – Maurkice Pouncey apologizes, but Mike Pouncey does not
July 20 – New York Giants safety Will Hill is suspended four games for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy; it is later revealed that the suspension was for marijuana
July 21 – Morrison is arrested for barking at a police dog and resisting arrest without violence while out in a shady part of Gainesville at 3 a.m.; Muschamp immediately suspends him for two games (See: July 23)
July 23 – Charges against Morrison are dropped
July 24 – While uncovering evidence to tie Hernandez to the June murder of his associate, investagators begin zeroing in on him as a prime suspect in a July 2012 shooting death of two other men
July 25 – Florida creates controversy when it removes Hernandez’s All-American brick
July 29 – Seattle announces that WR Percy Harvin has a torn labrum in his hip, may need surgery and could miss most or all of the 2013 season (See: July 30)
July 30 – Driskel goes under the knife for an appendectomy, may be out up to two weeks | Harvin announces he will have surgery, potentially sidelining him for the season
July 31 – A video is released of Phildelphia WR Riley Cooper dropping a racial slur at a concert; Cooper immediately apologizes and accepts any and all punishments for his actions | Cincinnati defensive end Carlos Dunlap suffers a concussion in training camp

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2 Responses to “Florida Gators football’s tumultuous offseason”

  1. SB says:

    Wow…. nice work Adam.

  2. Gatorgrad79 says:

    Now we know why they call this period from the National championship to the first day of fall practice “Knucklehead season”!!