TWO BITS: Tebow praised, Beal struggles

1 » As agent Jimmy Sexton attempts to get his client under contract before training camp officially begins on Aug. 1, former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow of the Denver Broncos is working to accomplish at least one feat: winning over his new teammates. Outsider linebacker Darrell Reid has already noticed Tebow’s work ethic and came away impressed with what the Heisman Trophy winner has to offer.

“I’ve actually sat down with Tebow. I call him Lucky Lefty,” Reid said. “I told him, ‘I know they say you’re not as talented, your arm’s not as tremendous as his, but your work ethic reminds me so much of when I was with Peyton [Manning] in Indianapolis.’ I told him, ‘I think you’re going to do big things for us, and I can’t wait to see you get on the field.’ [...] I think the thing people don’t know about him is he’s a very, very, very, very hard worker. He’s almost like a perfectionist. That’s what carries him further. Most people who end up being great, it’s because they want to be great and wind up working harder than everybody else. Whether it’s working on his throwing motion or in the weight room or running, he’s almost always the last guy out of the building. He’s a very humble kid, and he’s a proven winner who will do whatever it takes. That’s why we love him.”

2 » Competing in the championship of the AAU U-17 Super Showcase on Tuesday, Gators five-star shooting guard commitment Brad Beal (St. Louis, MO) and former Florida five-star guard commit Austin Rivers (Winter Park, FL) squared off. Unfortunately for Beal, who called it his “worst game ever” on Facebook, he finished with only 12 points on 5-of-15 shooting (1-for-5 from downtown). Rivers, on the other hand, shined with 24 points including a highlight package alley-oop dunk in the first half.

After the game, Rivers spoke with reporters and said that he does not have a favorite in his recruitment with UF, Duke and North Carolina occupying the top three spots in no particular order. “Right now I’m not leaning toward anybody and I like all schools the same,” Rivers said. “I haven’t taken any official visits yet so I don’t have any favorites over the others. But I’m really looking forward to making the visits.”

Photo Credit: Ed Andrieski/Associated Press

Tim Tebow signs endorsement deal with Jockey

Former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow, now of the Denver Broncos, has signed a multi-year endorsement deal with Jockey, the company announced Tuesday.

Tebow has agreed to serve as a Jockey spokesperson and the face of the brand beginning in July 2010. It is the third major endorsement deal his agent, Jimmy Sexton, has helped his client sign, following agreements with EA Sports and Nike.

Below are a few quotes from the company’s official press release:

“Tim is a highly gifted athlete with a positive attitude and an admirable character,” remarked Jockey Chairman and CEO Debra S. Waller. “We at Jockey see a very bright future with Tim, and believe that he is an excellent representative for the brand. Tim is genuine, smart and driven and those qualities align well with Jockey. We look forward to building a long and collaborative relationship with him in the coming years.”

“I’m excited to represent the Jockey brand and to work with such an innovative company,” said Tebow. “I’ve long been a fan and consumer of Jockey, and think they make a quality product with a great fit. I’m looking forward to a great relationship with such a respectable company.”

The No. 25 overall pick in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft, Tebow is set to be featured in catalog, television, print and online advertisements with Jockey. He will be a prominent part of Jockey’s new “Staycool” collection, scheduled to launch in Spring 2011.

As for his answer to the ultimate question of boxers vs. briefs?

“I go with briefs because they are more comfortable and better fitting,” Tebow said according to Darren Rovell of CNBC.

Gator Bites for Tuesday, July 27th

From time to time, OGGOA will come across a plethora of news and notes that we wish to share with our readers. In those instances, we present a special post: Gator Bites. Enjoy.

» Former Florida Gators dazzler and ESPN reporter Erin Andrews, who spoke exclusively with OGGOA for an interview on Friday, is headed to Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., Tuesday to join Congressional sponsors in support of an anti-stalking bill. Andrews, a victim of stalking herself, will appear along with Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) to introduce the Simplifying The Ambiguous Law, Keeping Everyone Reliably Safe Act (STALKERS).

» With training camps set to begin in just a few days for the Denver Broncos, rookie quarterback Tim Tebow may end up being a hold out – something that is likely beyond his control and is in the hands of his agent. Nevertheless, The Denver Post’s Mark Kiszla has put the onus on Tebow, calling a potential holdout a “dire dilemma” and one that is “destined to make folks mad,” whether it be fans or fellow players. Fact is, Kiszla is simply trying to paint Tebow as imperfect in this piece…which is true for everyone. Should he not be at camp on day one, he will be shortly after, as Tebow’s goal is to get on the field. But he does have to listen to his agent in this regard.

» The Gainesville Sun caught up with Gators four-star athlete De’Ante “Pop” Saunders on Monday. Saunders, the team’s very first commitment for the 2011 signing class, reaffirmed his desire to play in Gainesville, FL, after he was recently seen wearing Florida State gear. “They were giving me [a hard time] about wearing a Florida State helmet because I didn’t bring my helmet,’ he said. “That’s all it was. I forgot to bring mine and that’s all they had. I’m still here. I’m still Florida.” Saunders plans to enroll early.

» OGGOA has learned that four-star defensive end recruit Aaron Lynch (Cape Coral, FL) is leaning toward Notre Dame and Florida State with Florida now in a distant third place. According to our source, Lynch is concerned about playing time with the Gators and has formed a solid relationship with the staff in South Bend, IN.

Seven more Gator Bites on Corey Brewer, Brad Beal, Houston Nutt, Dallas Baker, Marreese Speights and Udonis Haslem…after the break!
Continue Reading » Gator Bites for Tuesday, July 27th

Stamper set for workout with Lions on Tuesday

Two bulging discs causing excruciating pain in his back prevented former Florida Gators linebacker Ryan Stamper from showing teams what he was made of prior to the 2010 NFL Draft in April. Regardless, there remained plenty of interest from a variety of teams throughout the league, one of which acted on instinct just after the seventh round was completed.

Fortunately, the Gators’ leading tackler in 2009 was one of the very first players contacted by the Detroit Lions after the draft; he was immediately signed to an undrafted free agent contract.

“It was frustrating to sit back while everybody else was working out,” Stamper told the Orlando Sentinel back in April. “All teams had on me was game film and they kept saying they wanted to see me live. It was impossible to work out because every time I tried, it felt like I couldn’t walk the next day.”

Unfortunately for Stamper, his injury had not fully healed when he met with trainers, causing him to fail a team physical and forcing the Lions to cut him right away.

Even so, the team has decided to give him another chance by inviting him back to Detroit to workout Tuesday, according to The Detroit News. Stamper has been staying in shape and completing full workouts in Gainesville, FL, recently; he is expected to be ready to earn a roster spot with the Lions before training camp beings on July 31.

A non-updated version of the above article was first published by OGGOA on July 4.

Photo Credit: Richard C. Lewis/Icon SMI

New England locks up LB Spikes for four years

Former Florida Gators linebacker Brandon Spikes and the New England Patriots came to terms on a four-year, $2.715 million contract on Monday. As reported by OGGOA on Twitter, Spikes and the Patriots had been working to finalize a deal for a few days.

Spikes, the No. 62 overall pick and a second-round selection in the 2010 NFL Draft by New England, received a $960,000 signing bonus and can earn $450,000 more through incentives. All three former Gators selected by the Patriots are under contract with defensive end/linebacker Jermaine Cunningham signing on Saturday and tight end Aaron Hernandez inking his deal on June 8.

”He’s extremely pleased,” Spikes’ agent Terry Watson told the Boston Herald. ”He’s ready to go play football and be a good Patriot.”

Florida’s three first-round picks – cornerback Joe Haden (No. 7 to Cleveland), center/guard Maurkice Pouncey (No. 18 to Pittsburgh) and quarterback Tim Tebow (No. 25 to Denver) remain unsigned as of press time.

Photo Credit: David Silverman/New England Patriots

Tim Tebow’s Nike Trainer 1.2 release information

Nike has announced that the EA Sports NCAA Football 11 version of its Nike Trainer 1.2 sneaker, specially made with former Florida Gators now Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow in mind, will be released on Friday, Aug. 6. It can be purchased on NikeStore.com and can be ordered with a “Tebow Knows” T-shirt (sold separately).

The sneaker features reminders of Tebow’s “Promise” speech from Sept. 27, 2008, along with a company logo and mention of the video game. Special thanks to SoleCollector.com for initially bringing this shoe to our attention last week.

Limited quantities available.

SIX BITS: Cassell, Elway, Tebow, Crowder, Haden

1 » On June 24, three-star linebacker recruit Rahim Cassell (Lakewood, CA) committed to the Florida Gators; unfortunately for him, the team did not recognize his verbal promise and did not count him as a member of its 2011 recruiting class. Friday, Cassell reiterated again to the Orlando Sentinel that he is committed to the Gators, stating that coaches simply wanted to see him perform in person before bringing him on board. However, there remain conflicting reports that Cassell is still not a part of the recruiting class – yet. So while his intentions are known, Florida’s are not. In all likelihood, the coaching staff is waiting to make sure they have a spot for him after higher ranked players decide where they will be attending school next year.

UPDATE: Cassell, for the third time now, claims that the coaches have accepted his commitment. He told the Sentinel that a phone call set for Sunday night may help clarify why there have been so many mixed messages.

2 » Legendary Denver Broncos Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway has been supportive of former Florida QB Tim Tebow ever since his team selected him with the No. 25 overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. At a golf tournament on Thursday, Elway opened up more about Tebow. “The thing about Tebow is they’re focusing too much on his release,” Elway said. “As long as he can get it in a timely manner, I think he has plenty of arm there. […] He’s not going to change his release. He may get better. Obviously, by throwing you get more accurate and more accurate and you may shorten it up as time goes on but if it’s long and quick, that’s OK.”

Four more BITS on Tim Tebow, Channing Crowder, Joe Haden, Jabar Gaffney…and an extra BIT on recruit Curt Maggitt…after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Cassell, Elway, Tebow, Crowder, Haden

Cunningham inks four-year deal with Patriots

Former Florida Gators defensive end Jermaine Cunningham signed a four-year contract with the New England Patriots on Saturday. Terms of the deal are currently undisclosed.

Cunningham, the No. 53 overall pick and a second-round selection in the 2010 NFL Draft by the Patriots, is one of three former Florida players selected by New England.

He joins linebacker Brandon Spikes [unsigned] and tight end Aaron Hernandez as rookies on the team this season.

UPDATE: $1.32 million signing bonus

Photo Credit: David Silverman/New England Patriots

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