TWO BITS: Tebow on the clock, weekend visitors

1 » ESPN and analysts Mel Kiper, Jr., Trent Dilfer and Chris Mortensen put former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow “On the Clock” before the 2010 NFL Draft:

2 » Florida football is set to have a bunch of big-name 2011 recruits on hand during spring practice this weekend. Rivals’ Mark Wheeler reports that athlete Sammy Watkins (Cape Coral, FL) [brother of four-star cornerback Jaylen Watkins], offensive linemen brothers Nathan and John Theus (Jacksonville, FL), defensive tackle Joel Hale (Greenwood, IN), offensive tackle Trip Thurman (Dover, DE) and quarterback Kevin Hogan (Washington, D.C.) will all be in attendance between Friday and Monday. The Gators’ biggest recruiting weekend of the spring will take place on April 10 during the Orange & Blue Debut spring game.

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Florida football’s five positions of need for 2010

With the Florida Gators’ first Junior Day of the 2011 session in the books and recruiting for the next term already underway, OGGOA recruiting contributor Zach Abolverdi takes a look at what will be the top five needs for the team next offseason.

Check out the Gators’ top five positions of need for 2011 after the jump!
Continue Reading » Florida football’s five positions of need for 2010

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FOUR BITS: Smith & Perry, baseball, WNIT berth

1 » As OGGOA reported via Twitter over the weekend, former Florida Gators and NFL star running back Emmitt Smith has announced that he asked Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to induct him into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. However, Smith was not worrying about his acceptance speech over the weekend, as he teamed with other former Gators and celebrities including head coach Urban Meyer to raise money for his former fullback and still close friend Darryl Perry‘s charity – Miracle of Life Foundation. “Darryl led me back then and he leads me now,” Smith told the Orlando Sentinel. “Except now he leads me with his heart.”

2 » After postponing a series last week due to inclimate weather, No. 6/7 Florida baseball (12-3) snuck a game against Army Black Knights (5-4) into the schedule Monday night. Playing at home at McKethan Stadium, the Gators earned a 9-3 victory as sophomore starter Anthony DeSclafani tossed a season-high 5.2 innings. Sophomore designated hitter Preston Tucker went 1-5 with his first home run of the season and three RBI, while freshman first baseman Austin Maddox (2-5) drove in two runs and senior reliever Jeff Barfield (S2) picked up the save on 3.1 innings of work.

3 » Shut out of the NCAA Tournament after posting a 14-16 record on the season, the Gators women’s basketball team has been invited to compete in the 2010 Women’s National Invitation Tournament. Florida will host first-round action, facing the South Florida Bulls (15-15) on Thursday in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. The Bulls are defending WNIT champions, defeating the Kansas Jayhawks 75-71 in the 2009 event.

4 » Former Ball State Cardinals head volleyball coach Dave Boos has been named assistant coach of Gators volleyball , head coach Mary Wise announced to the press on Monday. “I am very excited to join the Gator volleyball family,” Boos said in a release. “I’ve had the opportunity to coach with and against Coach Wise during my career and have the utmost respect for her and how she has built Florida volleyball. I am looking forward to working with one of the top coaching staffs in the country and assisting in the guidance of a tremendous group of student-athletes.”

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FOUR BITS: Toledo injured, baseball falls & more

1 » No. 6/7 Florida Gators baseball (11-3) was unsuccessful at completing a sweep of the Charleston Southern Buccaneers (6-10) over the weekend, falling 6-3 on Sunday at McKethan Stadium. CSU starter Tyler Thornburg (3-1) tossed a complete game with a career-high 11 strikeouts to put a halt to Florida’s five-game winning streak. Redshirt sophomore starter Tommy Toledo (2-1) left the game in the top of the fourth inning after a line drive from Buccaneers’ first baseman Derek Smith hit him square in the face. Toledo broke numerous facial bones for which he is undergoing surgery.

2 » After splitting a doubleheader, No. 4/11 Florida softball (18-3, 2-1 SEC) picked up the rubber match with a 5-3 win over the Ole Miss Rebels (16-10, 3-2 SEC) on Sunday at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. Junior Stephanie Brombacher (14-3) picked up the win with five strikeouts over five innings, and junior first baseman Megan Bush led the Gators going 2-2 with a run and three RBI. Freshman Ensley Gammel earned her first career save, and junior second baseman Aja Pachulba went 2-4 with two RBI.

3 » No. 7 men’s tennis (12-2, 4-0 SEC) and No. 5 women’s tennis (14-2, 4-0 SEC) were both victorious Sunday against the Alabama Crimson Tide (7-8, 1-3 SEC) and (6-7, 0-4 SEC), defeating them respectively 6-1 at Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex and 4-0 on the road at the University of Alabama Tennis Stadium. The No. 16-ranked men’s doubles pair of redshirt senior Antoine Benneteau and Alexandre Lacroix continued their great season with an 8-3 win, and No. 6 Lacroix won his singles match 6-5, 5-6, 3-3 (ret.). On the women’s side, the No. 6 duo of senior Marrit Boonstra and freshman Allie Will won 9-7, while No. 11 Will (6-0, 6-1) and No. 15-ranked freshman Lauren Embree (6-2, 6-2) cruised to singles victories.

4 » Gators soccer announced Monday that 11 players have committed to the program for the 2010 fall season. For a full list of the commitments, you can visit GatorZone.

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FOUR BITS: Wonderlic, NFL Draft, Parsons, Knight

1 » Former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow scored a 22 on his Wonderlic exam at the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine, according to Edgar Thompson of the Palm Beach Post. By comparison, the average for a NFL QB is 24. Former Miami Dolphins QB and Hall of Famer Dan Marino posted a 13; Buffalo Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick scored a 48. OGGOA sees no need to expand further on this revelation.

2 » ESPN NFL Draft analysts and talking head Mel Kiper, Jr. and Todd McShay released their latest mock drafts Wednesday, and two former Gators continue to appear as potential first-round selections. McShay believes cornerback Joe Haden will be selected No. 7 overall by the Cleveland Browns, while Kiper counters that he will go No. 13 to the San Francisco 49ers. However, Kiper has center Maurkice Pouncey being taken at No. 24 by the Philadelphia Eagles, while McShay has him lasting until the end of the first round – going No. 31 to the Indianapolis Colts.

3 » Florida freshman guard Kenny Boynton and sophomore point guard Erving Walker were both recognized by the Southeastern Conference Tuesday for their contributions on the court this season. However, junior forward Chandler Parsons was snubbed by the conference – not that he cares. “Honestly, it doesn’t matter to me,” Parsons told The Florida Times-Union. “I haven’t even seen them, didn’t even know. As long as my team keeps winning and we get to where we want to, no individual accolades are needed for me. I didn’t get many in high school. I don’t expect any here.”

4 » Updating an item reported late Wednesday, five-star basketball recruit Brandon Knight (Fort Lauderdale, FL) has decided to remove Miami (FL) from his top five and replace them with Syracuse. Knight is also considering Florida, Kentucky, Kansas and Connecticut and will likely decide in just over a month’s time.

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FOUR BITS: Pouncey, schedule, Knight, Horford

1 » Now that his brother has set a course for greener pastures in the NFL, Florida Gators junior guard/center Mike Pouncey will play without him next to him for the first time in years. Rather than feel a sense of longing, Pouncey sees this as an opportunity to take on a leadership role. “I’ve got to lead this team,” he told The Gainesville Sun. “I’ve got the most starts on the team – just gotta go out there and prove everybody day-by-day that we’re going to be a good team this year. […] It’s going to be weird [not having Maurkice there], but I’ve been with these guys on the offensive line for three or four years. I feel ike they’re all my brothers, so they’ll be there for me.”

2 » Though acquiring a tougher schedule was somewhat of a mandate by the Southeastern Conference, the Gators’ willingness to do so may very well be what separates their 2009-10 campaign from that of the last two seasons. “I don’t know if there’s any exact science, but certainly we’re really, really loaded up on our schedule competitively,” head coach Billy Donovan told The Sun. “What kind of dividends that pays for us remains to be seen.” While the opponents may have been tougher, Donovan believes his team is better than it has been since the Oh-Fours departed. ‘Probably a couple of years ago, we weren’t even in position to beat a Michigan State or a Florida State or go on the road and win some of the games that we’ve won,” he said. “This team has certainly played a much, much more difficult schedule and probably as difficult a schedule as we’ve played in quite some time.”

Two more BITS on recruit Brandon Knight and the Horfords…after the break!
Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Pouncey, schedule, Knight, Horford

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FOUR BITS: Townsend, Munroe, Iditarod, honors

1 » 2011 linebacker recruit Lateek Townsend recently told his hometown newspaper, The State, that he is strongly considering leaving home and playing for the Florida Gators after his senior season of high school. “I’m thinking Florida highly,” he said. “That’s a winning program, so things must be done right. I’m going down there soon for an unofficial visit. I’ve not seen the campus yet. I put them up there with Clemson [his leader] and South Carolina.”

2 » Mark Wheeler of Rivals is reporting that Gators redshirt senior safety Dorian Munroe was denied a sixth year of eligibility and a medical redshirt by the NCAA last week. Munroe, who has suffered with injuries throughout his college career, was hoping to get a redshirt exception after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament for the second time. Munroe has appeared in 28 games in his Florida career, collecting 43 total tackles while playing a role on defense and special teams. He had a career-high six tackles in the SEC Championship against the Arkansas Razorbacks in 2006. He will appeal the ruling.

3 » University of Florida alumnus Tom Thurston is competing in the Iditarod this year, and The Gainesville Sun put together a nice profile piece on the former student. Thurston hopes for a top-30 finish in the annual event.

4 » Gators senior outfielder Francesca Enea was the recipient of SEC Player of the Week honors Monday. Smacking four home runs (three grand slams) this week, Enea is now second all-time in the SEC record book with 51 homers. Also honored this week is Florida freshman lacrosse player Ashley Bruns, who brought home the American Lacrosse Conference‘s Rookie of the Week for scoring five goals in one half of competition. It is the second-straight week a Gators lacrosse player has won the honor. Last but not least, the 2009 SEC Champion UF women’s cross country team was named the USTFCAAA All-Academic Team of the year with a combined 3.56 GPA.

Bubble Watch » The unranked Saint Mary’s Gaels (26-5, 11-3 WCC) defeated the No. 14 Gonzaga Bulldogs (26-6, 12-2 WCC) 81-62 Monday to earn the WCC Championship and a spot in the NCAA Tournament. Two teams are now guaranteed to represent the WCC instead of one (Gonzaga), taking away an at-large bid.

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TWO BITS: Rivers, Young dominate HS title games

1 » Led by Florida Gators 2011 five-star shooting guard commitment Austin Rivers (Winter Park, FL), Winter Park High School won the Class 6A state championship over Dr. Phillips High School 76-57 at the Lakeland Center this weekend. Rivers, who scored 23 points in the win, captured his first high school title and, as a junior, has a chance to go back-to-back with a second title next season.

2 » Also playing well in his state final this weekend was Florida’s 2010 four-star forward commit Patric Young (Jacksonville, FL). Leading Jacksonville Providence High School to a 63-46 victory over Tampa Prepatory High School in the Class 2A state championship, Young scored 13 points and amassed a dominating seven blocked shots.

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