The Florida Gators will be without two starters in the 2015 Birmingham Bowl on Saturday as interim head coach D.J. Durkin announced Wednesday that wide receiver/kick returner Andre Debose and defensive tackle Darious Cummings will not be with the team, ending their Gators careers.
According to Durkin, Debose is healthy and eligible for the game but decided to mutually part ways with Florida prior to the contest. Cummings is suspended for the bowl for a violation of team rules.
“We had two guys not make the trip with us – Darious Cummings and Andre Debose. Those will be two guys that won’t be participating in the game. Darious Cummings was a violation of team rules and Andre, it was just kind of a decision he made and a mutual agreement that he would be moving on with his career,” explained Durkin.
A five-star prospect expected to be a breakout star for the Gators, Debose ends his career never coming close to living up to the hype. The sixth-year senior missed the 2009 and 2013 seasons due to injury but nevertheless accounted for just 540 yards on 30 receptions with four receiving touchdowns (all in 2011) for his playing career. He was able to flash his athleticism for Florida in the return game, however, tying an SEC record and setting a school mark with four kickoff return touchdowns; Debose also returned a punt for a touchdown in 2014.
“Andre’s been here six years and done a lot of great things for the Gators. He and I have a good relationship,” Durkin added. “We’ve been here. We joke he’s as old as some of the coaches, and we’ve been here a long time together. Sometimes things just work out that way. He’ll be fine and so will the Gators.”
People people don't be so salty. I love my team and my team loves me. They know where my heart is and that's all that matters. #GatorNation
— Andre DeBose (@bose45681) December 31, 2014
Cummings transferred to UF from East Mississippi Community College ahead of the 2013, playing in 22-of-23 games over the last two seasons. He started six contests as a junior and 10 games in 2014, recording 45 total tackles (eight for lost yardage) with three sacks, six quarterback hurries, an interception, a forced fumble and three pass defenses.
Florida’s opponent in the Birmingham Bowl, the East Carolina Pirates, will be without two defensive starters as nose tackle Terry Williams and safety Domonique Lennon were ruled ineligible, head coach Ruffin McNeill announced on Sunday.
“Our kids have done a phenomenal job, and I’m very thankful to them for that,” Durkin said of UF’s bowl preparation. “You can easily see that going a couple different directions and they haven’t. They’ve responded and practiced and played and met and done everything we’ve asked, just like we were going to play for a championship. That says a lot about our kids and our staff as well. Those guys have handled it really well. We got a great group of people to work with around us.”
The Gators and Pirates will square off at Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama, at noon on Saturday with the game set to air live nationally on ESPN.