Breaking down ESPN’s deeper dive into Florida Gators football under Urban Meyer

ESPN on Thursday released a deeper dive on the Florida Gators football program under former head coach Urban Meyer. Jeremy Fowler, a senior NFL writer at ESPN who covered the Gators as a beat writer for the Orlando Sentinel (you probably remember him for this), spoke with a number of players and coaches from that Florida team in hopes of revealing some privately-held information from Meyer’s tenure at Florida.

While most of the piece is recounting events and information that is familiar to many who follow the Gators closely, Fowler through his interviews did uncover some nuggets that are worth separating from the pile that is the longer piece. On that note, you should read Fowler’s entire story.

Continue Reading » Breaking down ESPN’s deeper dive into Florida Gators football under Urban Meyer

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Florida Gators react on Twitter to the murder conviction of former tight end Aaron Hernandez

Aaron Hernandez, a former tight end with the Florida Gators, was convicted of first-degree murder on Wednesday by a jury of his peers in Fall River, Massachusetts.

Reaction was immediate from Hernandez’s former teammates with the Gators, who expressed their shock and concern for Hernandez on social media.

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Aaron Hernandez found guilty of first degree murder, sentenced to life in prison

Five men and seven women serving as a jury in Fall River, Massachusetts, on Wednesday found Aaron Hernandez, a former tight end with the New England Patriots and Florida Gators, guilty of murder in the first degree.

Hernandez, 25, stood accused of killing Odin Lloyd in an industrial park less than a mile from his North Attleboro, Massachusetts, home. An autopsy revealed that Lloyd was shot six times.

Continue Reading » Aaron Hernandez found guilty of first degree murder, sentenced to life in prison

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4 BITS: Wilbekin, McDonald, Murphy, Hernandez

1 » Florida Gators point guard Scottie Wilbekin has led the Cairns Taipans to the Grand Finals in Australia’s National Basketball League. WIibekin, who registered team-highs of 19 points, 11 rebounds and six assists in the team’s semifinal-clinching victory on Sunday, is a serious contender for league Most Valuable Player honors. (He was recently named the Taipans’ MVP and Defensive Player of the Year.) Cairns will take on the New Zealand Breakers in the best-of-three Grand Finals, beginning on Friday. As first reported by OnlyGators.com last week, Wilbekin will immediately leave Australia and the United States to participate in the NBA D-League, regardless of the outcome.

2 » Facing a variety of domestic-related allegations, former Florida defensive tackle Ray McDonald will avoid all charges, agent Tom Condon told teams, according to NFL.com‘s Ian Rapoport. McDonald, a long-time starter for the San Francisco 49ers, was cut by the team after a second domestic incident in a matter of months put him under a negative spotlight. McDonald was accused of domestic violence early in the 2014 season but was never charged with a crime with the accusation eventually thrown out. Then, in mid-December, he was investigated on suspicion of sexual assault, another allegation that will not result in charges.

Continue Reading » 4 BITS: Wilbekin, McDonald, Murphy, Hernandez

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4 BITS: Desir-Jones, Hernandez, Rowe, Culpepper

1 » Three-star offensive lineman Richerd Desir-Jones is one of two players the Florida Gators acquired out of St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, last week. But while Desir-Jones may be the more unheralded of those prospects – compared to four-star running back Jordan Scarlett – that does not make his story any less special. Check out this feature on Desir-Jones and his family from NBC6 and do your best not to shed a tear. (h/t Thomas Goldkamp)

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2 BITS: SEC/Big 12 Challenge, Miller, Hernandez

1 » The Southeastern Conference and Big 12 announced Thursday that the annual SEC/Big 12 Challenge, which began last season, will undergo a significant format change. Instead of being 10 games played over three days in the fall, it will now be 10 games played in one day early in the spring. That date has been set for next season with all 10 games tipping off on Saturday, January 30, 2016, though match-ups have not yet been determined at this time. “Moving the Big 12/SEC Challenge later in the season will raise the profile of this event and give our coaches, student-athletes and fans the attention that it deserves,” said Mike Slive, the SEC’s commissioner. The 10 games will all be played on ESPN networks with the four SEC teams not given match-ups going head-to-head against each other on the SEC Network that day.

The Florida Gators wound up playing a home-and-home series against Kansas in the first two iterations of the event, hosting the Jayhawks last season and travelling to Lawrence, Kansas, this fall. Florida is expected to host an SEC/Big 12 Challenge game in 2015-16, though renovations to the Stephen C. O’Connell Center would have proved that difficult if the game was played during its previously-scheduled window. Whether the event was moved to help accommodate UF remains to be seen, but the scheduling adjustment was not just made for next season but for the duration of the event’s existence.

Continue Reading » 2 BITS: SEC/Big 12 Challenge, Miller, Hernandez

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2 BITS: Tebow wins at golf, Hernandez trial begins

1 » Former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow was a hit on Wednesday during a pro-am event at the 2015 Phoenix Open as he earned $40,000 for his charity by winning a closest-to-the-pin contest on the famed par-3 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale. Tebow’s shot fell approximately 11 feet away from the hole and drew solid applause from the crowd in attendance. Participating in the event alongside former Florida coach Urban Meyer and professional golfer Patrick Reed, Tebow was a favorite of many in attendance, including former Gators running back Emmitt Smith. Smith’s group (fourth) finished one spot ahead of Tebow’s team (tied for fifth) in the pro-am.



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SIX BITS: Young, Noah, Miles, Tyus, Hernandez

1 » Former Florida Gators center Patric Young is playing his first NBA preseason with the New Orleans Pelicans and is already dropping some highlights. On Monday, New Orleans fell 93-87 to Atlanta, but not before Young could deliver this put-back dunk (skip to 1:35). Young finished the contest with four points and four boards in 11:20. Against Miami in his team’s preseason opener, Young made his only field goal, scoringtwo points to go along with eight rebounds, a block and two turnovers in 21 minutes.

2 » Also on Monday, Chicago Bulls C Joakim Noah got into a heated exchange with Washington’s Paul Pierce during their teams’ preseason game. Noah was relatively calm about the situation until Pierce stuck his pointer finger into Noah’s forehead. Coming back from knee surgery, Noah looked even less fluid than normal during the game and is expected to skip Tuesday’s contest as a precaution.

Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Young, Noah, Miles, Tyus, Hernandez

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