Gators Garcia, Ball, Debose, Brown picked on day three of NFL Draft; Florida sees eight drafted

Four Florida Gators were selected on day three of the 2015 NFL Draft on Saturday as the team totaled eight players picked from Thursday through Saturday.

The eight players drafted out of Florida mark the third time in the last six events that the Gators have seen that many former players head to NFL teams.

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Evaluating Florida Gators ahead of 2015 NFL Draft

Despite being incredibly busy during the week of the 2015 NFL Draft, longtime analyst Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net sat down with OnlyGators.com on Sunday afternoon for a wide-ranging look at the Florida Gators who could be selected Thursday-Saturday at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago.

Pauline evaluated most of the 22 Florida players available in the draft and even provided projections for each prospect including many who may not be selected from April 30-May 2 but rather picked up as undrafted free agents.

“The talent Florida is showcasing in this draft is a bit top-heavy but there are plenty of players who could make NFL rosters and succeed in the league, which really points to how bad the coaching and quarterback play was in Gainesville,” Pauline said of the overall crop of prospects. “I think the Gators have a solid class, and the fans that wanted the coach fired, this just adds fuel to their argument.”

Defensive end Dante Fowler Jr.
Projection: Round 1, Picks 3-6
Analysis: “He’s a top-six player, likely to Washington, maybe to the Jets, possibly to Jacksonville. He’s a great pass rusher; he’s a terrific athlete. He’s an intense, very explosive and sudden player. I like the fact that even though he is undersized, he was never overwhelmed at the point of attack. He struggled against the run at times but when you’re a shorter, smaller defensive end, that’s going to happen. I think he’ll be fine as a 3-4 outside linebacker, maybe a one-gap end, although he’s going to have to learn to protect himself better and to defend the run at the next level. I love his intensity. He’s not just a guy who is a natural-ability guy. He got by on natural ability but also never stopped coming.”

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Chaz Green – Path to the 2015 NFL Draft: Lining up team visits, Florida Gators Pro Day recap

Through the 2015 NFL Draft from April 30 to May 2 in Chicago, Illinois, Florida Gators offensive lineman Chaz Green will keep you up-to-date on his Path to the Draft with exclusive comprehensive blog entries here at OnlyGators.com.

Green checks in for the third time after visiting with four more NFL teams and participating in Pro Day on Tuesday in Gainesville, Florida.

Since the last time I checked in, the only non-football thing I’ve done that is really notable is met with a stylist in Ocala. My agent set up that appointment, and I’m excited to see what we come up with ahead of my visits and the draft.

On March 20, I met with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They put me on the board in the meeting room for three hours to see how well I picked up installations – inside zone runs, outside zone runs. They showed me how they would block against 15 different fronts they see on a regular basis, and in order to evaluate whether I understood them, had me answer when they called out those specific fronts. When we got done, they gave me a test to see how much information I retained from the session. I think I did really well because I got some real good feedback from that workout.

I had a bit of a break after that meeting, so I just stayed up on my workouts in order to make sure I stayed best shape possible. We don’t have a whole lot of time left until the draft and everything runs together, so I’ve just been trying to work out and promote myself, too, keep my name out there as we go through the process.

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Former Florida Gators participate in 2015 Pro Day

Twenty-two former Florida Gators are scheduled to participate in 2015 Pro Day on Tuesday morning at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.

Leading the pack are a pair of potential first-round draft picks in defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. and offensive tackle D.J. Humphries.

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Chaz Green – Path to the 2015 NFL Draft: Taking steps to becoming a professional

Through the 2015 NFL Draft from April 30 to May 2 in Chicago, Illinois, Florida Gators offensive lineman Chaz Green will keep you up-to-date on his Path to the Draft with exclusive comprehensive blog entries here at OnlyGators.com.

Green checks in for the first time following the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine as he returns to Gainesville, Florida to continue the pre-draft process. In this entry, he takes you inside his journey from the conclusion of the 2014 season through the combine.

Coming out of the bowl game, my first priority was finding the right agent because I know that could make a difference for me. The process started right away, and my father really helped that along. I narrowed it down to a few guys and went with Sports Entertainment Group and Adisa Bakari. He had a body of work that I felt like spoke for itself.

After getting to know Adisa and understanding how committed he is to my life after football, the next step in the process was figuring out where to train ahead of the combine. I knew that if I signed with him I would probably head down to Bommarito Performance Systems down in Miami. Neiron Ball, who is with the same agency as me and was a former roommate of mine at Florida, Trenton Brown and Andre Debose are all training down here in Miami with me, so it was a comfortable situation from the beginning. It made the transition a lot easier, and we all developed a bond that allowed us to push each other just like we did with the Gators.

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Nine Florida Gators invited to 2015 NFL Combine

The official list of invitees was released by National Football Scouting on Friday, and nine former Florida Gators have officially been invited to participate in the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine (National Invitational Camp) at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

The event, which is held for six days from Feb. 17-23, consists of more than 300 players being put through a series of drills, tests and interviews while more than 600 NFL personnel in attendance (including coaching staffs, executives, player personnel and medical staffs) look on and evaluate each of them. It amounts to a major job interview for these athletes to participate in ahead of the start of the 2015 NFL Draft on April 30.

The nine former Gators student-athletes invited to the NFL Combine include:

Linebacker Neiron Ball – Group: 9 | Camp: LB03
Offensive guard Trenton Brown – Group: 1 | Camp: OL04
Punter Kyle Christy – Group: 1 | Camp: PK03
Defensive end Dante Fowler Jr.* – Group: 7 | Camp: DL20
Center Max Garcia – Group: 1 | Camp: OL20
Offensive tackle Chaz Green – Group: 2 | Camp: OL25
Offensive tackle D.J. Humphries* – Group: 2 | Camp: OL31
Running back Matt Jones^ – Group: 6 | Camp: RB25
Defensive tackle Leon Orr – Group: 8 | Camp: DL36

^ Redshirt junior | * Junior

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Gameday: 2015 Birmingham Bowl (Birmingham, AL) – Florida Gators vs. East Carolina Pirates

Location: Legion Field – Birmingham, Alabama [Capacity: 70,459]
Weather: 63°F, scattered thunderstorms (45% chance of rain), winds SSE at 13 mph
Time: 12:00 p.m. EST

TV: ESPN (Dave Neal, Andre Ware, Laura Rutledge)

Streaming Video: WatchESPN.com | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app

SiriusXM: 83 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]

Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

FLORIDA GATORS EAST CAROLINA PIRATES
(Interim) Head Coach: D.J. Durkin Head Coach: Ruffin McNeill
Record: 6-5 Record: 8-4
Conference: Southeastern Conference: American

Odds: Florida -7 | O/U 56

STATS / STREAKS / NOTES

» Florida, which is bowl eligible or the first time since 2012, is 20-20 all-time in bowl games. The Gators had won four-straight before falling to Louisville in the 2013 Sugar Bowl, the last of their 22-straight bowl game appearances. UF is also making its 20th appearance in a January bowl game in the last 22 seasons (since 1993), most in the nation.
» Durkin is serving as a head coach for the first time. He is Florida’s fourth interim coach all time, following Galen Hall (1984), Gary Darnell (1989) and Charlie Strong (2004).
» The Gators have not played at Legion Field since 1993. Florida is 4-2 all-time in the city of Birmingham, last playing a bowl game in town in 1988.
» UF is also 1-0 all-time against ECU with a 24-17 victory in Gainesville in 1983.
» The Gators and Pirates will play twice in a three-game span with UF hosting ECU on Sept. 12, the second week of the 2015 regular season.
» Florida is 23-7 against unranked opponents since Will Muschamp took over in 2011.
» Five of UF’s 11 games this season have been decided by six points or fewer (2-3).
» The Gators will not be ranked at any point in a full season for the first time since 1979.
» Despite its struggles, Florida’s offense has been an efficient scorer in the red zone, converting 38-of-42 opportunities (.905). That’s good for third in the SEC and 12th nationally. The Gators, however, have only converted 24 red zone touchdowns on those 42 trips (.571).
» Nearly 43 percent of opponent drives against Florida have ended in a three-and-out (66 of 155).
» Since Muschamp took over in 2011, the Gators are 23-5 when holding an opponent to 21 or fewer points, 20-3 when rushing for 150+ yards, 26-6 when outrushing an opponent, 17-7 when scoring first and 23-4 when leading at the half. Conversely, Florida is 1-8 when rushing for fewer than 100 yards, 2-15 when being out-rushed by an opponent and 5-17 when tied or trailing at the half.

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NOT Top 14 for 2014: Moments Gators can forget

At the conclusion of each year, OnlyGators.com takes a look back at the top on-field moments and off-field stories from the previous 12 months. For the second-straight year, which will go down as another difficult and controversial one for the Florida Gators, we sort through the Not Top 14 for 2014 – games, actions and stories that fans of the program will look to put in the rear view mirror as the clock strikes midnight. Don’t forget to check out the Top 14 for 2014 (COMING THURSDAY) to begin 2015 on a positive note!

14 » SEE YA NEVER

Over the final two months of 2014, the Gators football program saw three seniors decide – whether through purposeful actions or team rules violations – to end their careers early. Learning he would not be starting at Vanderbilt, redshirt senior defensive tackle Leon Orr argued with then head coach Will Muschamp and was sent home on a bus before the game; he later tried to explain his side of the story. On the final day of the year, redshirt senior wide receiver/kick returner Andre Debose (mutual decision) and senior DT Darious Cummings (violation of team rules) were ruled out for the bowl game. Debose had an up-and-down hear overall, suffering a defenestration in the spring and barely playing on offense during the season; he was excellent as Florida’s all-purpose returner, however, and ends his career tied for the SEC record in kick return touchdowns (four).

13 » CHARACTER CONCERNS

Maurkice and Mike Pouncey kept their noses clean when they were with the Gators and continue to be fan favorite from their time at Florida. However, since becoming professional football players, some character questions have been raised – stemming in large part from the brothers wearing “Free Hernandez” hats last year – and those continued in 2014. Pouncey was one of the main players named in bullying allegations levied by former Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Jonathan Martin, and both Pounceys were accused of serious assault during a night club incident in Miami. The brothers were not ultimately charged with assault from that evening’s incident but all of the allegations continued to paint UF in a bad light.

12 » UNEXPECTEDLY UNDRAFTED

It started in the 2014 NFL Draft when a pair of Gators junior cornerbacks that declared early – Loucheiz Purifoy and Marcus Robersonwere not selected. Purifoy had a drug incident in the offseason that contributed to him not being drafted – and both players dealt with character concerns – but it was nevertheless a surprise. (Purifoy and Roberson, respectively, signed undrafted free agent deals with the Indianapolis Colts and St. Louis Rams. Both saw limited action this season with Purifoy getting cut by the Colts, dropped by the Seattle Seahawks after a waiver claim [failed a physical] and ultimately suspended four games by the NFL for an undisclosed reason.)

There was even more of an expectation that center Patric Young would be picked in the 2014 NBA Draft with many believing he could go as high as the lower portion of the first round. Instead, Young fell out of the first and did not even get picked in the second as many NBA teams chose to select international players that they could stash and not sign to contracts. Young ultimately signed with the New Orleans Pelicans but was later cut by the franchise and is now playing in Turkey. Point guard Scottie Wilbekin and forward Casey Prather also went undrafted, and though Wilbekin performed well in NBA Summer League action, he did not get an opportunity in the league either.

11 » BAD OMENS

Though there was some positive momentum for the football program as the 2014 season approached, with the roster looking healthy and offensive coordinator Kurt Roper expected to turn things around for Florida, a number of bad omens cast doom over the Gators’ campaign. It started with the Orange & Blue Debut spring game, which ended in a tie. Though there was no reason to continue the game per se, fans in attendance hoped to see a little bit of extra Florida football action and left disappointed.

The ominous offseason continued with wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Joker Phillips resigning from his position in June after Miami staffers reported him for a recruiting violation. Muschamp named former Gators quarterback and team graduate assistant Chris Leak as the replacement receivers coach, giving UF four different coaches at that position in as many seasons. The last omen was even more obvious than the first two with lightning storms cancelling Florida’s season opener against Idaho. Though options were considered to play the game at a later date in the season, it was ultimately decided to take the contest off both teams’ schedules with the Gators and Vandals only playing 11 contests in 2014.

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