FOUR BITS: Elam, Cooper, Wilbekin, Andrews

1 » Baltimore Ravens safety Matt Elam, who just completed his rookie season, returned to Gainesville, FL recently in order to take classes in hopes of completing his degree program. While in town, the former Florida Gators star has also decided to take a job at FinishLine. According to his team’s website, Elam wanted to experience working in retail because he would like to open a sports merchandise store of his own someday. Elam has been working 20 hours per week at Oaks Mall since January. “I didn’t realize there was so much organization, so much planning. I didn’t realize there was so much to it,” he told BaltimoreRavens.com. “I just thought you’d say you want a shoe, so then you’d go back and grab a shoe. There’s way more to it. You have number coding. You have color coding, all of that. I just realized that there’s more to it than I thought.” Elam also said he has been recognized quite often but has no problem with the attention.

2 » Contrary to a weekend report that stated the Philadelphia Eagles had prioritized signing wide receiver Jeremy Maclin over Riley Cooper, ProFootballTalk.com reports that Cooper is by far the preferred potential signee. “We’d previously heard that the market for Cooper is expected to be active,” wrote Mike Florio. “Which means that, if the Eagles plan to keep him, they need to match or beat whatever Cooper could get as a free agent.” Cooper only earned $2.11 million during his four-year rookie contract and will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason. He had his best season – by far – in 2013, hauling in 47 receptions for 835 yards and eight touchdowns. In his previous three seasons, Cooper had just 46 receptions for 680 yards and four scores.

Late Wednesday, The Philadelphia News reported that the Eagles and Cooper are nearing agreement on a multi-year deal that could be announced by the end of the week.

Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Elam, Cooper, Wilbekin, Andrews

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Thompson arrested for possession in Gainesville

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Deonte Thompson was arrested Friday night for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia after a car he was a passenger in was pulled over for driving without headlights.

Though Thompson claimed ownership of a duffle bag that was in the car, he denied that the contents of it – 29 grams of marijuana found inside a number of small pouches – were his. The driver, Alvon Summerall, and other passenger, Erskine McKinley, both claimed ownership of the marijuana inside the bag.

All three were arrested for possession of more than 20 grams of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. Thompson was held in Alachua County Jail on $7,000 bond but has since been released.

Continue Reading » Thompson arrested for possession in Gainesville

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SIX BITS: Patton, Moss, NFL, Bonner, Noah

1 » Florida Gators wide receiver Solomon Patton on Wednesday confirmed to OnlyGators.com that he has been invited to the 2014 Senior Bowl. Patton plans to leave for the game, which is played in his hometown of Mobile, AL, on Saturday along with cornerback Jaylen Watkins and guard Jon Halapio, both of whom will be participating in the game. Patton got on the Senior Bowl’s radar after hauling in a MVP award in the inaugural 2014 Medal of Honor Bowl over the weekend. In other news Wednesday, Halapio was announced as a signee of Paradigm Sports Management. Patton and Watkins are both being represented by agent Tom Santanello of Elevate Football.

2 » One of five former Gators back in Gainesville, FL this spring taking classes in pursuit of their college degree, defensive end Jarvis Moss saw his semester start off on the wrong foot. Moss late Monday night was arrested and charged with a felony for tampering with evidence as well as a misdemeanor for possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis after he was stopped near 900 NW 7th Ave in Gainesville. He was initially pulled over for running a stop sign, but the arresting officer smelled “a strong odor of ‘fresh’ cannabis coming from the vehicle” and “observed the defendant chewing intently.” Upon asking Moss to open his mouth, he identified “large pieces of cannabis … that he was trying to swallow.” Additionally, according to the police report, Moss “denied eating cannabis” after being read his Miranda rights but “did admit to smoking cannabis earlier.”

Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Patton, Moss, NFL, Bonner, Noah

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SIX BITS: agents, Senior Bowl, Easley, NFL moves

1 » OnlyGators.com learned Wednesday night that Florida Gators seniors cornerback Jaylen Watkins and wide receiver Solomon Patton have both signed with agent Tom Santanello of Boca Raton, FL. Santanello, who inked defensive tackle Dominique Easley in November, also represents two other former Florida players – safety Josh Evans and tight end Jordan Reed. Watkins and Patton will join Easley as he trains in Boca Raton over the next few months as all three players look to get in the best possible shape before their workouts.

2 » A late-second to early-third day pick, Watkins is hoping to raise his stock immensely before the 2014 NFL Draft and has accepted an invitation to the 2014 Senior Bowl in an effort to do just that. Many NFL personnel people already believe that Watkins has a superior skill set to junior CB Loucheiz Puriofy albeit a lower ceiling due to Purifoy’s ridiculous athleticism and penchant for highlight-making plays. Joining Watkins at the Senior Bowl (so far) is redshirt senior right guard Jon Halapio. Easley was also invited but will be unable to do so as he continues to recover from his torn ACL.

A source close to Easley tells OnlyGators.com that there are currently no plans for the player to participate in the 2014 NFL Combine or Pro Day at Florida. However, as he continues to heal and regain strength in his knee, anything is certainly possible. Easley does plan to at least hold a private workout prior to the draft.

Check out four more BITS on Gators in the NFL…after the break!

Continue Reading » SIX BITS: agents, Senior Bowl, Easley, NFL moves

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FOUR BITS: Driskel, Easley, Burton, Elam

1 » The Florida Gators announced Thursday that junior quarterback Jeff Driskel (broken fibula) had his cast removed Tuesday and started rehabilitation on Wednesday. His six-month recovery timetable started the day he got out of surgery, putting him on track to return to the field as a redshirt junior at the start of spring practice in March. Driskel will attend a Florida game on Saturday, the first time he has stepped foot on the field since being injured. His recovery will be long and arduous, but he will have all the time he needs to get back for the 2014 season.

2 » Three days after Driskel went down with his season-ending injury, senior defensive tackle Dominique Easley was lost for the remainder of the season with tears to his meniscus and anterior cruciate ligament. It was learned Wednesday that Easley has withdrawn from UF and signed with agent Tom Santanello of Elevate Football in order to prepare for the 2014 NFL Combine. Santanello told the Palm Beach Post’s Phillip Heilman that Easley has already started rehabilitation and is squarely in the sights of a number of NFL teams that are enthralled with his explosive first step.

3 » NFL.com analyst Gil Brandt took a look Thursday at a number of current college football players that will likely have to consider changing positions in order to play on the next level. One of the nine he focused on was senior wide receiver Trey Burton, who Brandt listed as a tight end. “He’s someone I would want to try at another position,” he said. “With his 4.65 speed, he looks as though he has the quickness needed to be a running back in the NFL. I would also want to give him a look at safety.” As it turns out, Burton once flirted with the idea of moving to defense for the Gators, but it was determined that he was needed much more on the offensive side of the ball.

4 » Here’s Baltimore Ravens safety Matt Elam making a cameo as linebacker Jameel McClain spends a day working for Southwest Airlines [Video].

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SIX BITS: Reed, Crowder, Parsons, Taylor

1 » Washington Redskins tight end Jordan Reed revealed in a feature written by The Washington Post’s Kent Babb that he nearly quit football – and the Florida Gators – during spring practice ahead of the 2012 season. Having seen little opportunity to be successful on the field and dealing with lingering shoulder and knee injuries, Reed had enough. “I thought my body was going to stay hurting like that,” he explained, “and it wasn’t going to get better and I had no future. And I felt like I was putting all this hard work in and nothing was coming from it.” Reed had decided to find a full-time job and support his family but eventually changed his mind, returned to school and wound up playing well enough to get selected in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft.

2 » Former Gators and Miami Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder appeared on CNN‘s Piers Morgan Live on Monday to discuss the situation in Miami surrounding left guard Richie Incognito supposedly bullying right tackle Jonathan Martin. It is only a portion of Crowder’s segment, which will hopefully be posted in full later in the day.

3 » The Houston Rockets dropped their first game of the 2013-14 season on Monday, but starting forward Chandler Parsons played well in the contest by picking up 14 points on 6-of-13 shooting to go along with four assists, two rebounds, two steals and a block. Two of his 14 points came on this massive dunk.

Check out three more BITS of Florida Gators news…after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Reed, Crowder, Parsons, Taylor

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FOUR BITS: Spurrier and Wuerffel, Elam, Francis

1 » Former Florida Gators head coach Steve Spurrier spoke with Yahoo! Sports’ The Postgame recently about former quarterback Danny Wuerffel, who he called “special” and a “perfect team player.” Spurrier discusses his recruitment of Wuerffel, the player’s success at Florida and the 1996 season. Check out the entire feature by clicking here.

2 » A pair of former Gators now playing in the NFL will be playing against their favorite team growing up this weekend when Baltimore Ravens safety Matt Elam and wide receiver Deonte Thompson head south to take on the Miami Dolphins on Sunday at 1 p.m. “Playing in front of my family will be exciting,” Elam told The Baltimore Sun’s Aaron Wilson. “I can’t wait. It should be a lot of fun.” Elam and Thompson will also get the opportunity to visit with a number of Florida teammates as the Dolphins have four Gators on their roster including center Mike Pouncey, kicker Caleb Sturgis, linebacker Jelani Jenkins and running back Mike Gillislee.

3 » Florida has basketball commitments all the way out until 2016 at this time, but the best of the bunch thus far is four-star 2014 guard Brandone Francis (Jacksonville, FL), a native of the Dominican Republic and one of the top 25 players in the nation, according to Rivals. Below is a recent video of Francis at the 2014 Adidas Invitational.

4 » UF freshman gymnast Silvia Colussi-Pelaez competed as part of the Spanish National Team as an all-arounder at the 2013 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Antwerp, Belgium this week. She did not come away with a medal but perhaps something that was even more of an honor. “I did a sideways aerial on the beam and I did the skill well so technically it is named after me, so that is exciting,” she said, according to the school’s website. “I was pretty focused on hitting that skill well.” Gators gymnastics does not begin competing as a team until Jan. 11, when it will look to defend its first NCAA national title in school history.

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Gators in 2013 NFL training camps: 7/28 – 8/4

The 2013 NFL regular season is exactly one month away from kicking off on Thursday, Sept. 5.

More than three dozen former Florida Gators are currently working out with their respective teams and trying to either keep or earn roster spots for the upcoming year.

Below are select updates on some of these Gators for the second full week of training camp from July 28 to Aug. 4.

The Miami Dolphins and Dallas Cowboys squared off during the 2013 Hall of Fame Game, the first preseason game, in Canton, OH, on Sunday night.

RB MIKE GILLISLEE*, Miami Dolphins: Seven carries for 21 yards (long: 9)
LB JELANI JENKINS*, Miami Dolphins: Two tackles
C MIKE POUNCEY, Miami Dolphins: Started Hall of Fame Game
K CALEB STURGIS*, Miami Dolphins: Did not play – groin

QB TIM TEBOW, New England Patriots: Though cameras caught Tebow hauling in passes and protecting the ball in a drill last week, he will be nothing but a quarterback for the Patriots, according to offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. “He’s just practicing his open-field running,” McDaniels said. “We know Tim has a skill set that some of these other guys don’t possess in terms of ability to run with it, scramble with it when he has it in his hands. … He’s put in a lot of time and effort to improve his individual skill set to play the position of quarterback in our offense, and I think every day is a learning tool for him.” Tebow has also received a nod from starter Tom Brady. “We have good conversations,” Brady said, according to the Associated Press. “He loves playing football and that’s usually the type of guys who do well here.”

Read updates on seven other former Gators…after the break!

Continue Reading » Gators in 2013 NFL training camps: 7/28 – 8/4

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