Sophomore CB Hargreaves focused on leadership

Hauling in a pair of interceptions in the first two games of his career, cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III raised his already-high expectations basically the very moment he stepped on the field as a freshman for the Florida Gators.

A five-star recruit, he may have started that first game had Florida not had three NFL-caliber corners returning, but he basically outplayed each of them as the season went on and wound up as a first-stringer for the final 10 games of the campaign.

His 11 pass breakups tied Janoris Jenkins for most by a freshman in school history, and his lockdown defense made him a national name in no time at all.

As a result, Hargreaves was named a third-team Associated Press All-American, first-team Freshman All-American by a number of organizations and got chosen unanimously to the first-team All-SEC and SEC All-Freshman teams.

To him though, it was all a blur.

“My first year was kind of fast. It went fast. I had to learn quick cause they told me I was going to play early. But I enjoyed it, it was fun. Had a lot of great guys behind me showing me the ropes. I enjoyed it,” he said.

“All that [award] stuff, it was good. I guess I was proud of myself for it, but I’d much rather win games than have all of that stuff for myself.”

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Billy Donovan (Coach), Scottie Wilbekin (Player) claim AP SEC awards for Florida Gators

No. 1 Florida Gators head coach Billy Donovan and senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin were named the 2014 Southeastern Conference Coach and Player of the Year, respectively, by the Associated Press on Monday, sweeping the awards after receiving the same honors from league coaches last Tuesday.

Donovan secured his third unanimous (coaches and AP voters) SEC Coach of the Year award, while Wilbekin cemented his place as just the second Florida player in the history of the award to win SEC Player of the Year.

It took Donovan 14 seasons to receive his first conference coaching honor despite winning two national championships (2006-07), coaching in three title games (2000, 2006-07) and leading his team to three-straight SEC Tournament victories (2005-07). Since winning his first SEC Coach of the Year award in 2011, he has dominated the voting with three in the last four seasons.

Donovan, who is one win away from matching Dale Brown (LSU) for all-time wins at an SEC school, had help leading the Gators to their 32-2 record while setting a number of school marks along the way.

Continue Reading » Billy Donovan (Coach), Scottie Wilbekin (Player) claim AP SEC awards for Florida Gators

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Led by Donovan (Coach) and Wilbekin (Player), Florida Gators clean up at 2014 SEC awards

Updated on Wednesday at 1:15 a.m.

The No. 1 Florida Gators cleaned up on Tuesday when the Southeastern Conference released its 2013-14 year-end awards as voted on by league coaches, earning five of the six honors and placing three players on various All-SEC teams.

SEC Coach of the Year: Billy Donovan
SEC Player of the Year: Scottie Wilbekin
SEC Defensive Player of the Year: Patric Young
SEC Sixth Man of the Year: Dorian Finney-Smith
SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Patric Young

Leading the pack were head coach Billy Donovan, who captured his third SEC Coach of the Year award (all in the last four seasons), and senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin, who became just the second Florida player in the history of the award to win SEC Player of the Year.

Senior center Patric Young was named SEC Defensive Player of the Year and picked up his third-straight SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year honor, while redshirt sophomore forward Dorian Finney-Smith was awarded SEC Sixth Man of the Year for his contributions off the bench.

It took Donovan 14 seasons to receive his first conference coaching honor despite winning two national championships (2006-07), coaching in three title games (2000, 2006-07) and leading his team to three-straight SEC Tournament victories (2005-07). Since winning his first SEC Coach of the Year award in 2011, he has dominated the voting with three in the last four seasons.

Continue Reading » Led by Donovan (Coach) and Wilbekin (Player), Florida Gators clean up at 2014 SEC awards

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Three Gators named to SEC All-Freshman Team

Three first-year Florida Gators football players were named Thursday to the 2013 SEC All-Freshman team as voted on by the league’s 14 coaches.

Running back Kelvin Taylor, cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III and punter Johnny Townsend were each honored as members of the team, giving Florida the second-most selections to Arkansas, Ole Miss and South Carolina (four each).

Taylor played sparingly early in the season but started the final five games of the 2013 campaign, finishing with 508 yards and four touchdowns on 111 carries. He broke out with 21 touches for a career-high 96 yards and two touchdowns on Nov. 16 when the Gators played the Gamecocks on the road.

Hargreaves, who was also named to the 2013 All-SEC First Team, saw action from the get go and registered a team-high three interceptions on the season. He also broke up a team-high 11 passes and compiled 38 tackles through 12 games.

Townsend took over the punting duties due to some early-season struggles from Florida’s incumbent and booted the ball a total of 29 times. He averaged 42.0 yards per punt, kicking five more than 50 yards and dropping six inside the 20-yard line.

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Four Florida Gators named to 2013 All-SEC teams

Four Florida Gators football players were voted onto 2013 All-SEC teams on Monday and Tuesday, as chosen by the Associated Press and league’s own coaches.

Freshman cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III received All-SEC First Team honors from the AP and coaches for his stellar play this season. He was the only Florida player to achieve that status.

The Gators also had junior CB Loucheiz Purifoy and sophomore BUCK linebacker Dante Fowler, Jr. chosen for the All-SEC Second Team by AP voters and senior wide receiver Solomon Patton picked for the Second Team by the coaches for his work as a return specialist.

Individual honors will be announced by the SEC on Wednesday with the All-Freshman team being revealed on Thursday. Hargreaves will be the only Florida player with a chance to bring home an individual honor as a potential SEC Freshman of the Year.

Florida tied Arkansas and Tennessee for the third-fewest AP All-SEC selections with three each. Kentucky (two) and Mississippi State (one) rounded out the bottom of the pack. UF only had two players selected as All-SEC by the coaches. Only Kentucky and Ole Miss (one each) had fewer players chosen.

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Advancing in SEC Tournament, Gators soccer looks to add to its impressive 2013 haul

No. 5 Florida Gators soccer (16-3-1, 9-2 SEC) put together a heck of a regular season but has not received the attention it’s deserved due to the tumultuous and something-new-happens-every-day nature of its football counterpart.

Nevertheless, Florida is currently on a month-long, eight-match winning streak while being led by freshman forward Savannah Jordan, who is putting together one of the greatest goal-scoring seasons in program history.

Jordan on Monday was named the 2013 SEC Offensive Player of the Year, becoming the first freshman in league history to receive the honor. It should be no surprise that she was chosen as the 2013 SEC Freshman of the Year while also being named an All-SEC (first team) and SEC All-Freshman player.

Junior midfielder Havana Solaun and sophomore defender Christen Westphal joined Jordan on the All-SEC team, while freshman MF Pamela Begič also picked up an SEC All-Freshman honor.

Jordan has already surpassed Abby Wambach’s freshman goal scoring record and is on pace to find a spot among the greatest single-season goal scorers in school history. She has already found the back of the net 21 times, putting her two goals out of the top-five and the Gators freshman record held by Andi Sellers.

Her latest goal came in the first round of the 2013 SEC Tournament as one-seed UF picked up a 1-0 victory over the eight-seed Arkansas Razorbacks (13-8-0) on Wednesday in Orange Beach, AL.

Florida will square off against Ole Miss in the semifinals on Friday at 5 p.m. The Gators have already won the regular season 2013 SEC Championship, splitting the title with Texas A&M. It was UF’s eight-straight SEC regular season crown. Florida is now looking to win its third tournament title in the last four seasons.

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Media predicts Florida basketball to finish second in SEC; two Gators named Second Team All-SEC

Two Florida Gators were selected by the media this week to represent the school on the Southeastern Conference’s preseason All-SEC teams.

In men’s basketball, seniors point guard Scottie Wilbekin and center Patric Young were both named to the Second Team All-SEC; the Gators did not have a representative voted onto the first team.

Florida (five first-place votes) was also picked to finish second in the entire league to Kentucky (21). Tennessee (1) was the only other team to receive a first-place vote.

The Wildcats had freshman forward Julius Randle picked as the SEC Player of the Year and a First Team All-SEC member. Kentucky also boasted four players on the second team including F Willie Cauley-Stein, guard Andrew Harrison and C Dakari Johnson.

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FOUR BITS: Tebow, Wuerffel, Winslow, Culpepper

1 » Offers are coming in fast and furious for quarterback Tim Tebow – just not from NFL teams. Last week an AFL team, the L.A. KISS, offered Tebow a three-year contract that could be “worth millions” Yes, the KISS are owned by the band of the same name. No, Tebow will not be playing there. Also an unlikely destination for Tebow is Russia, though he did receive an offer of $1 million to play two games with the Moscow Black Storm. “We have offered him $1 million for two games,” team owner Mikhail Zaitsman told Russia Beyond the Headlines. “I talked with him personally and he wanted to go.” Well, yes and no. “[Tebow’s agents are] thinking of using him as a motivational speaker. They don’t want him to play football,” Zaitsman admitted.

What Tebow has actually been doing as of late is working out in Southern California. He first spotted outside a USC gym on Sept. 10 and was then captured on film throwing on a baseball field just days later. Videos at the bottom of this post. A friend of OnlyGators.com spotted Tebow at a Los Angeles, CA, restaurant Wednesday evening. Tebow has not spoken with the media since being released.

2 » The Florida Gators officially announced Thursday that former quarterback Danny Wuerffel will serve as the honorary Mr. Two Bits ahead of Saturday’s game against the Tennessee Volunteers. Wuerffel, who OnlyGators.com first reported will be honored at the game for his induction into the College Football Hall of Fame, is the second former player to serve in this role after running back Errict Rhett did fantastic job prior to the season opener against Toledo. Check out OnlyGators.com’s interview with Wuerffel from Aug. 29 and conversation with Rhett following his performance.

UF writer Scott Carter spoke with the real and original Mr. Two Bits, George Edmonson, who said he approves of the new tradition. “That’s great,” he said. “I was pleased to hear about it. They wanted to check with me before they did it and I told them I think that’s a great idea. I feel honored that some of these celebrities would portray me out there on the field before the game.”

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