RB Matt Jones is Florida’s third 2012 commit

Less than 10 days after 2011 National Signing Day concluded, Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp has made his first splash for the 2012 cycle, earning a verbal commitment from four-star running back Matt Jones (Seffner, FL) over the weekend.

Jones, a member of the Rivals250 who is considered by many to be the best rusher in the state of Florida, was thrilled to hear about the Gators’ pro-style offense when he sat down with Muschamp and offensive coordinator Charlie Weis during Florida’s Junior Day. Though he gave them his verbal pledge over the weekend, he wanted to make his decision public in order to avoid dealing with the stresses that come with recruiting.

He plans to make a “solid commitment” (the words of his high school head coach) to UF on Wednesday at 7 p.m., according to The Tampa Tribune.

The Orlando Sentinel reports that Muschamp and Weis told Jones he was their No. 1 target at his position and that he is unlike any other back currently on the roster. At approximately 6’2″ and 210 lbs., Jones rushed for 1,447 yards and accounted for 29 total touchdowns as a junior at Armwood High School.

“When I was at Florida [on] Saturday, I knew that is what I wanted. I love the staff and coach Muschamp is great. I knew I was going to do it but I did not tell them until later in the day,” Jones told Scout.com. “I felt great up there and the Gator Nation better be ready. When I told coach Muschamp, he was real jacked up and I made his day. He told me they needed a guy like me and great players want to play with other great players. I just want to go up there and compete. I plan on rocking the entire Gator Nation.”

Jones joins four-stars defensive tackle Omari Phillips (Venice, FL) and wide receiver LaTroy Pittman (Citra, FL) as the Gators’ third 2012 commitment.

Photo Credit: Chris Zuppa/St. Petersburg Times

OGGOA Caption Contest Result: Spikes on field

We received over 300 submissions for the fifth ONLY GATORS Get Out Alive caption contest and a winner has been chosen to receive a FREE copy of Into The Swamp courtesy of photographer Jason Parkhurst (click the ad below).

Reader Caleb H. sent in a few strong entries and came away with the No. 1 spot.

Team watches as Brandon Spikes completes an interview with Florida alum Erin Andrews

Because we had so many good entries, honorable mention for this contest goes out to the following readers for their submissions.

Chad C.: Of all the traditions Urban Meyer started at UF, halftime Jaeger shots proved to be the least effective.

Christina B.: Ah… Gator Heaven

John S.: In a symbolic gesture following their final home game, the 2009 senior class decided to leave their Spikes on the field.

Ryan S.: Brandon Spikes doing his best Uga impression.

OGGOA has given away multiple Florida Gators DVDs, a Florida Field rug, a Game Day purse, pieces of Gators art, T Bow Towels, Gillette Pro Fusion razors, a Turlington Scarf and a variety of other goodies throughout our 17 months of existence. There are a number of other giveaways coming up in the near future, so stay tuned!

Thank you to everyone who participated!


TWO BITS: Jenkins’s plea, Parsons’s injury

1 » Gainesville, FL attorney Huntley Johnson entered a “not guilty” plea on behalf of Florida Gators junior cornerback Janoris Jenkins, who was cited for misdemeanor marijuana possession on Jan. 23. According to The Gainesville Sun, Johnson requested a jury trial and may do so again at the pre-trial conference on Feb. 28 at 9 a.m. Jenkins signed a notice to appear in court upon his arrest and was scheduled to do so on Feb. 17 prior to Johnson entering the plea.

2 » During his appearance on the Southeastern Conference’s weekly teleconference, Florida head basketball coach Billy Donovan updated the injury status of senior forward Chandler Parsons, who suffered a deep thigh bruise early in the first half of Saturday’s game against Tennessee. As he alluded to in his post-game press conference, Donovan does not expect Parsons to practice this week (Thursday at the earliest) and is hopeful but not certain he will have him for Sunday’s game at LSU. Apparently his bruise has begun to bleed and Parsons is currently walking on crutches in order to take pressure off the injury. He will be reevaluated throughout the week, and a decision on his playing status may not be made until the weekend.

Florida continues upward climb in Top 25 polls

Following back-to-back home victories against a pair of Top 25 opponents last week, the Florida Gators (20-5, 9-2 SEC) capitalized with a dominant road win against the South Carolina Gamecocks (13-10, 4-6 SEC) on Wednesday and a nail-biter finish against the Tennessee Volunteers (15-10, 5-5 SEC) on Saturday. Florida now owns a 2.5-game lead in the Southeastern Conference East standings and is in first-place overall by a half game, part of the reason they continue to climb in the top 25 polls.

WeekGator BaitRecordAP Top 25USA TodayNCAA RPI
Preseason--No. 7 (1,153)No. 7 (568)-
2W 68-45 vs. William & Mary1-0No. 8 (1,127)No. 7 (560)-
3L 69-67 vs. Miami
W(OT) 61-56 vs. ULM
2-1No. 18 (467)No. 16 (303)-
4L(OT) 65-66 vs. Georgetown
W 56-47 vs. UAB
L 64-75 vs. North Carolina
3-3NR (40)No. 24 (60)-

Last Week 1-25: Ohio State (31), Kansas, Texas, Pittsburgh, Duke, San Diego State, Notre Dame, Brigham Young, Connecticut, Villanova, Georgetown, Purdue, Syracuse, Wisconsin, Louisville, Arizona, Utah State, Kentucky, Florida, Missouri, North Carolina, Texas A&M, Saint Mary’s, Vanderbilt, Minnesota
+ Florida received 243 voting points

This Week 1-25: Kansas (14), Texas (13), Ohio State (3), Pittsburgh (1), Duke, San Diego State, Notre Dame, Brigham Young, Georgetown, Wisconsin, Purdue, Connecticut, Arizona, Villanova, Florida, Louisville, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, North Carolina, Syracuse, Missouri, Kentucky, Saint Mary’s, Utah State, Temple
+ Florida received 341 voting points

Last Week 1-25: Ohio State (65), Kansas, Texas, Pittsburgh, Duke, San Diego State, Brigham Young, Notre Dame, Villanova, Connecticut, Georgetown, Syracuse, Wisconsin, Purdue, Arizona, Louisville, Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Utah State, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, Temple, West Virginia
+ Florida received 534 voting points

This Week 1-25: Kansas (22), Ohio State (14), Texas (23), Pittsburgh (6), Duke, San Diego State, Brigham Young, Notre Dame, Georgetown, Wisconsin, Purdue, Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Villanova, Louisville, Syracuse, Vanderbilt, North Carolina, Missouri, Texas A&M, Kentucky, Temple, Xavier, Utah State
+ Florida received 775 voting points

Numbers in parenthesis represent first-place votes.

Perfect game, SEC records top Gators’ weekend

The season may have just begun for No. 5/5 Florida Gators softball, but the ladies did not waste time getting off to a fast 5-0 start at the USF Wilson DeMarini Tournament in over the weekend. Florida defeated Marshall, Florida Gulf Coast, Long Island, North Carolina State and USF by a combined 53-3 score; the Gators shut out three of their five opponents and scored 17 runs in the first four innings of their season-opener.

The highlight of the weekend for softball came Saturday when senior pitcher Stephanie Brombacher tossed the second perfect game of her career to send Florida to a 9-0 shutout victory over N.C. State. Brombacher needed only 67 pitches to do the deed; she struck out six in her five innings of work. Ending up 3-0 at the tournament’s conclusion, Brombacher struck out 19 in 14 innings of work, did not give up a single earned run and only allowed four hits in her final game of the weekend against USF.

Softball may have won five games in three days, but a veteran diver did her best to earn all of the weekend’s accolades for herself.

Not to be overshadowed was the Gators women’s diving team, led by senior Monica Dodson, who broke two Southeastern Conference records and won two gold medals in the diving portion of the 2011 SEC Swimming and Diving Championships at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL.

Dodson, a three-time All-American, won the three-meter event (six dives) with a score of 373.85 on Friday; she followed that up with a victory in the platform event (five dives) with a score of 325.20 at the final day of competition on Sunday. For her efforts and achievements this season, Dodson was named the 2011 SEC Women’s Diver of the Year. Florida diving coach Donnie Craine was honored after the event with his second-straight SEC Women’s Diving Coach of the Year award, an honor that puts him second all-time in conference history.

Check out the other UF sports that had a successful weekend…after the break!
Continue Reading » Perfect game, SEC records top Gators’ weekend

2/12: Donovan impressed by team’s make-up

No. 17/19 Florida Gators (20-5, 9-2 SEC) head basketball coach Billy Donovan had plenty to say after his team squeaked out a 61-60 win against the Tennessee Volunteers (15-10, 5-5 SEC) to sweep the season series against their rival for the first time since 2002. That is why we have compiled some of the most important news, notes and quotes following his press availability after Saturday’s game.


Junior point guard Erving Walker often ends up with the ball in his hands with the game on the line. It is not necessarily because it is his job to facilitate (he does not lead the team in assists, senior forward Chandler Parsons does) or because he has the best shooting percentage (that honor belongs to redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin) but more so due to the fact that there is no one on the team who wants and needs to make a clutch shot more than Walker.

“He’s a competitor. He’s a tough kid. I’ve coached guys that love to take the last shot because they don’t want to shy away from it. Erving is a guy that wants it, and he wants it and also there’s a devastation when he doesn’t [make it],” Donovan said. “Losing to Erving Walker is very, very painful as a player. He’s got that drive that winning is very important to him.

“A lot of it has to do with the fact that…being his size his whole entire life… He can’t win the dunk contest, and he can’t do all these other things. The only way he’s able to earn respect is through winning. He’s learned at a young age, being a small point guard, the only way I get any level of recognition or any credit is if my team wins. […] For Erving Walker, he’s a winner. He’s a guy that is willing to step up and do that.”


It is easy to tell, from listening to Donovan, that he has a special kind of passion or the team as it is currently assembled. After Florida’s hard-fought win, he mentioned on multiple occasions how impressed he was with the team’s guts and ability to stick together and pull things out in the end.

“There’s some unbelievable qualities that this team has; this team’s a fighting team, it’s a resilient team, it’s a team that works really hard,” he said.

“I love coaching these guys. I really do because there’s a fighting mentality in them. They have a fighting spirit. Even when things aren’t going well, they never quit on me. They never, ever quit on each other. They battle; they fight. They’re resilient. They don’t always do it pretty; they don’t always play perfect. That, to me, is an incredible quality. Maybe as a coach, with these guys, I want it all. And maybe I’m not going to get it all. I don’t want the one thing that they got to get better at as a team to ever end their season a little bit earlier than it needs to be ended.

“We have good chemistry. They’re unselfish. They’re good kids. They work hard. When they get down, they battle. I really respect that in them. Me as a coach, you get one opportunity to be with these guys, I want them to be as good as they can be.

“The last couple years it’s just been holding on, maybe we can get to the tournament. Last year we got in. This team is dealing with stuff that they never, ever had to deal with before in terms of understanding what it takes to be a real winner and compete at a very high level. Really, in a lot of ways, we’re scratching a different surface. Now we’re in first place. This is a different place these guys have never been. They have to understand what comes with it, and they don’t right now. As much as I’ve tried to explain it, they don’t quite get it yet. I’m hopeful that this experience will help them get better.”


While discussing Parsons’s performance Saturday, Donovan noted that he suffered a deep thigh bruise early in the first half and (obviously) “just wasn’t himself” from that point forward. With UF not playing a game until next Sunday (at LSU, 1 p.m., ESPN), he is hopeful that Parsons will be able to play even though he probably will not be practicing until Thursday at the absolute earliest.

Asked why he left Parsons in the game and played him for so many minutes even though he was limited, Donovan noted that it was all about spreading out the defense.

“Just attention,” he said. “He’s an attention-getting guy, because when the ball’s in his hands he can score, he can shoot it, and he can make plays off the dribble. There’s a level of focus that you have to give to him. He was really hurt, and I felt terrible. The last two or three weeks he has played at a very, very high level.”

QUOTES (After the break…)
Continue Reading » 2/12: Donovan impressed by team’s make-up

Walker’s layup propels No. 17 Gators over Vols

Down six at halftime, the No. 17/19 Florida Gators (20-5, 9-2 SEC) rallied late in the second half and utilized a go-ahead layup from junior point guard Erving Walker with 14 seconds remaining to defeat the Tennessee Volunteers (15-10, 5-5 SEC) 61-60 at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL on Saturday. With the victory, Florida swept Tennessee in the season series for the first time since 2002 and achieved their 12th victory in their last 14 games.

Walker led the Gators with a team-high 16 points, most of it coming from the charity stripe; he made nine of 10 free throws, the same number attempted by the entire Volunteers team over the course of the game.

Injuring his hip early in the first half, Florida senior forward Chandler Parsons had trouble finding his groove the entire evening. UF appeared to lack athleticism with him being limited, a factor that allowed UT to use a 15-4 run to propel themselves to a 28-21 lead with 5:54 remaining in the first half. The Gators fought back to end the half down six after Vols guard Scotty Hopson made a three-pointer with 14 seconds remaining.

Down 45-38, Florida used a 10-2 run to retake the lead 49-47 with 7:40 remaining in the game. Walker hit a three-pointer, and Parsons added his first field goal (also a trey) with 9:43 left in the second half. Redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin followed with a hook shot; he stole the ball on the next possession and dunked it to score four-straight points before Walker added a free throw to cap the run.

The Gators didn’t hold the advantage for long, allowing the Volunteers to complete a 6-0 run to retake the lead 53-49 with 6:10 to go. Florida responded in kind, using a 10-3 run to go up 59-56 with 2:16 remaining.

From there, a jumper by C Brian Williams and a layup by G Cameron Tatum once again gave Tennessee the lead, 60-59, with 47 seconds left. Senior F Alex Tyus was sent to the line for two shots but failed to connect on either attempt.

After Tatum missed the front end of a one-and-one with 26 seconds left on the clock, Walker took matters into his own hands. He drove the lane and hit the Gators’ go-ahead layup with 14 seconds remaining.

UT G Melvin Goins missed a three-pointer with two seconds on the clock, which allowed UF to escape with a one-point victory and the season sweep.

Though Walker’s heroics stole the show, he was supported by Macklin and sophomore G Kenny Boynton, each of whom scored 12 points. Tyus added a double-double (his second of the season) with 10 points and 11 boards.

Hopson led Tennessee with a game-high 22 points on 9-of-14 shooting; he was perfect from downtown (3-for-3) and added five rebounds and four assists. However, Hopson also turned the ball over a game-high six times and was shaky from the free throw line.

With the victory, Florida has won 15 of their last 18 games with 11 wins agianst RPI top 100 teams. The Gators improved to 12-3 at home this season (5-1 in SEC play) and are now 17-1 when holding opponents under 70 points.

UF has eight days to recover before travelling to LSU on Sunday, Feb. 20. The game will air live on ESPN at 1 p.m.

Photo Credit: Phil Sandlin/Associated Press

No. 17 Florida vs. Tennessee Gameday Preview

Location: Stephen C. O’Connell Center – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 12,000]
Time: 6:00 p.m. (ET)

Online Video: ESPN3.com
Online Audio: Yahoo!
First Half Live Updates: @OnlyGators
Second Half Periodic Updates: @OnlyGators

Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Bruce Pearl
Record: 19-5 (8-2) Record: 15-9 (5-4)
Division: SEC East Division: SEC East
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -5.5; O/U 133


» Tennessee leads the all-time series against Florida 69-50 and has won 10 out of the last 14 in the series; however, the Gators have defeated the Volunteers in the teams’ last two meetings including an 81-75 overtime victory on Jan. 12.
» Donovan is now 14-16 all-time against UT and 9-5 when facing them in the O’Dome. Conversely, Pearl is 8-3 all-time against UF and 3-2 in the House of Horrors.
» Florida has won 14 of their last 17 games with 10 victories against RPI top 100 teams. The Gators are 11-3 at home this season, which includes a 4-1 record in SEC play.
» UF is 5-1 against the SEC East this season after finishing 3-7 in the division last year.
» The Gators earned back-to-back victories against ranked opponents for the first time since 2007 after defeating then-No. 24 Vanderbilt and then-No. 11 Kentucky last week.
» Florida improved to 16-1 when holding opponents under 70 points this season after limiting South Carolina to 60 points on Wednesday.
» UF is 11-0 when forcing more turnovers than their opponents.
» The Gators are 8-1 this year when senior forward Chandler Parsons takes 10 or more shots from the field. Parsons has registered three consecutive double-doubles.
» Donovan won his 350th game in the orange and blue on Wednesday.
» Florida enters Saturday’s game with 19 wins, just one shy of reaching 20 wins for the 13th consecutive season. The Gators hold the longest active streak in the SEC.
» Florida and Tennessee best each other in a pair of the four major statistical categories. The Gators hold advantages in assists per game 14.1-13.8 (101st-125th) and field goal percentage .457-.434 (88th-188th), while the Volunteers score more points per game 72.0-71.4 (103rd-114th) and grab more rebounds 39.2-38.5 (22nd-33rd). UF ranks 13th in RPI (.6375) and sixth in strength of schedule nationally compared to their opponent being 23rd (.6120) and 1st, respectively.


Florida and Tennessee will square off for the second time this season; the Gators defeated the Volunteers in a 81-75 overtime thriller in Knoxville, TN on Jan. 12. In the contest, Florida saw all five starters score in double figures and the team held off numerous rallies by Tennessee to eventually prevail.


» Parsons…who is back to averaging double-digit points (11.1) while leading the Gators with 7.9 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game. Parsons ranks No. 1 among active SEC players in rebounds (765), No. 3 in points (1,311) and No. 4 in assists (292) and steals (118). He has notched three-straight double-doubles and now has six this season alone.
» Junior point guard Erving Walker…who is leading his team in scoring with 14.7 points per game and leading the backcourt in both field goal percentage (.427) and three-point percentage (.389). Walker also leads Florida in turnovers (60) and became the 47th player in school history to score 1,000 points earlier this season.
» Redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin…who is shooting a team-best 58.4 percent from the floor this season with most of his buckets coming inside the paint. He averages 11.3 points and 6.1 rebounds a game while being a major presence for UF.
» Sophomore guard Kenny Boynton…who is arguably the Gators’ most talented player but is struggling with consistency shooting the ball. Boynton is only hitting 35.8 percent from the field and 29.6 percent from beyond the arc; however, he is second in scoring with 13.0 points per game and makes a team-high 83.3 percent of his free throws.
» Senior F Alex Tyus…who is averaging career-lows in points, rebounds and field goal percentage as a starter. Tyus became just the fifth player under Donovan to reach 500 career field goals, accomplishing the feat last Tuesday against Vanderbilt.
» Freshmen PG Scottie Wilbekin and C Patric Young…who are Florida’s primary reserves each averaging approximately 17 minutes per game. Wilbekin, in relief of Walker, leads UF in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.5:1), while Young averages 3.4 points and 3.3 boards off the bench.
» Tennessee G Scotty Hopson…who leads his team in scoring with 16.2 points per game and shoots a team-best 38.1 percent from downtown. Hopson has had four 20-point games this season with, with one coming in his last game against Florida.
» Volunteers F Tobias Harris…who averages 14.6 points while grabbing 7.5 boards each game. Harris, along with Hopson, averages a team-high 28.6 minutes per contest.

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