Ten Gators invited to 2010 NFL Scouting Combine

ONLY GATORS Get Out Alive has learned that 10 former Florida Gators players have been officially invited to participate in the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine (National Invitational Camp) in Indianapolis, IN, at Lucas Oil Stadium.

The event, which is held for six days from Feb. 24 to March 2, 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 staff look on and evaluate each of them. It amounts to the final job interview these athletes will participate in before the 2010 NFL Draft commences on April 22.

The 10 former Gators student-athletes participating in the combine include:

Seniors
Quarterback Tim Tebow – Group: 05; Camp: QB19
Wide receiver Riley Cooper – Group: 04; Camp: WO12
Wide receiver Brandon James – Group: 04; Camp: WO19
Linebacker Brandon Spikes = Group: 09; Camp: LB30
Defensive end Jermaine Cunningham – Group: 07; Camp: DL09

Juniors
Cornerback Joe Haden – Group: 10; Camp: DB20
Defensive end Carlos Dunlap – Group: 07; Camp: DL13
Safety Major Wright – Group 11; Camp DB58
Tight end Aaron Hernandez – Group: 03; Camp: TE13
Center Maurkice Pouncey – Group: 02; Camp: OL33

Read about each player’s day-to-day schedule in Indianapolis after the jump!
Continue Reading » Ten Gators invited to 2010 NFL Scouting Combine

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SIX BITS: Dunlap’s future, QB offered, DT Floyd, Big Board, Smith and Holliday, Lewis

1 » Though juniors cornerback Joe Haden and tight end Aaron Hernandez have declared for the 2010 NFL Draft, the decision is not an easy one for defensive end Carlos Dunlap. Once considered a top-five talent, Dunlap’s arrest and subsequent suspension for DUI prior to the 2009 SEC Championship had him fall down draft boards. “The feedback that he’s gotten is that he will go late in the first round or early in the second round,” Dunlap’s father told Rivals on Tuesday. “Staying to get a degree isn’t going to be an issue because he’s on track to graduate in December. He’s close enough to getting his degree that he can do it anytime. So does he want to come back to finish up his education and maybe be the top overall draft choice next year or does he want to come out right now and start working on his NFL career?” Dunlap’s father will also consult former Florida Gators defensive coordinator Charlie Strong for advice. “We value Charlie’s opinion. We value Charlie’s evaluation. We value Charlie’s leadership. So if Charlie tells us this is how he thinks it should be, I trust he is going to tell us what is best for Carlos based on the evaluations and feedback he has received.”

2 » JC Shurburtt of ESPN is reporting that Gators quarterbacks coach Scot Loeffler has extended an offer to five-star 2011 QB recruit Jeff Driskel (Oviedo, FL). “I was real excited about the offer,” Driskel said. “I have been talking to Coach Loeffler just about once a week, and he told me that he was ready to offer me. When I got it, obviously I was real excited.” He has also received offers from Auburn, Virginia Tech, Ole Miss and Florida International. Driskel also told Shurburtt that while he does currently live in Florida, location won’t factor much in his final decision. “When I was younger, we moved around a lot because my dad was in the Navy,” he said.

Four more BITS including recruiting and NFL Draft news after the jump!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Dunlap’s future, QB offered, DT Floyd, Big Board, Smith and Holliday, Lewis

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Grading the Florida vs. Cincinnati game

Each week following a Florida Gators game, ONLY GATORS Get Out Alive grades the team position-by-position based on each unit’s performance. This week, we look at how the Gators fared against the Cincinnati Bearcats in the final game of their season, the 2010 Sugar Bowl at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, LA.

QUARTERBACKS: A+
When the best player in school history plays the best game of his career in the final game of his career, it is tough not to give him an “A+” grade. And that is exactly what senior quarterback Tim Tebow has earned – not just for his outstanding performance Friday evening but for his career in the Orange and Blue. Pick your poison: was it the Lowe’s Senior CLASS award he was given before the game, the Sugar Bowl record 12 consecutive completions, the career-long 80-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Riley Cooper, the Sugar Bowl and BCS bowl game record 533 yards of total offense, the Sugar Bowl/BCS record 482 passing yards, the 31 completions which set a new Sugar Bowl record, the Sugar Bowl high four touchdowns or the 88.6 completion percentage that set a BCS record? The answer, of course, is “all of the above.”

RUNNING BACKS: A-
Tebow was once again the leading ball carrier for the Gators with 14 touches for 51 yards and a touchdown, but both redshirt junior Emmanuel Moody and redshirt sophomore Chris Rainey came up big throughout the game. Moody rushed eight times for only 14 yards but scored two touchdowns on the ground (he also had four receptions for 19 yards) while Rainey caught four passes for 71 yards and ran four times for 27 yards and a touchdown. Freshman Mike Gillislee cleaned up at the end of the fourth quarter and took a ball 52 yards for a final line of five carries for 78 yards. Sophomore Jeff Demps, the true starter, left the game after he dislocated his elbow on his third rush of the game. Though the attempts and yards were not there, three rushing touchdowns brought this unit up a half-grade.

Read the rest of Florida’s grades from the Sugar Bowl after the jump…
Continue Reading » Grading the Florida vs. Cincinnati game

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BCS: 2010 SUGAR BOWL – (New Orleans, LA) – No. 5 Florida Gators vs. No. 3 Cincinnati Bearcats

Location: Louisiana Superdome – New Orleans, LA [Capacity: 72,968]
Time: 8:30 p.m. (EST)
Weather Forecast: N/A

TV: FOX / FOXHD
Sirius: 120; XM: 140

No. 5 Florida Gators No. 3 Cincinnati Bearcats
Head Coach: Urban Meyer Interim Head Coach: Jeff Quinn
Record: 12-1 Record: 12-0
Division: SEC East Division: Big East
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -13, O/U 57
Head-to-Head Stats: Gainesville Sun

KEEP AN EYE ON…
– Florida’s 2009 senior class…the winningest group in Southeastern Conference history with a 47-7 overall record. The seniors will be playing in their third BCS game and fourth January bowl in four years.
– Seniors quarterback Tim Tebow and linebacker Brandon Spikes…two of the best players in school history who do not wish for their last memories in the Orange and Blue to be back-to-back losses.
– Junior defensive end Carlos Dunlap…who is returning from suspension for a DUI and, according to coaches, is raring to make up for his mistake to his teammates, coaches and Gator Nation. It is undecided if Dunlap will start.
– Junior cornerback Joe Haden and wide receiver Mardy Gilyard…who will face-off in what could potentially be the match-up of the game between one of the best CBs and one of the best WRs in the nation. Haden has already been a menace to Alabama Crimson Tide WR Julio Jones and Georgia Bulldogs WR A.J. Green this season.
– Head coach Urban Meyer…who is 3-0 in BCS bowls and a combined 5-1 in his career in bowl games. Meyer and his wife Shelley both attended the University of Cincinnati. As a player for the Bearcats, Meyer faced the Gators in the teams’ only previous meeting, a 48-17 Florida victory on Oct. 20, 1984.
– Experienced players…the Gators feature 19 starters and 44 players who saw action in the 2009 BCS National Championship.

STREAKS:
– The Gators are appearing in a bowl game for the 19th straight season, the second-longest active streak in the nation. Friday’s game is Florida’s sixth appearance in a BCS bowl game and eighth appearance in the Sugar Bowl.
– Though the Gators are 5-1 against teams from the state of Ohio (1-1 in bowl games), they are only 7-3-2 all-time against the Big East.
– Florida has allowed 15 touchdowns this season, tied for fewest in the nation; the 11.5 points per game it allows ranks No. 3 in the country.
– The Gators are the only team in the country that has posted over 2,800 rushing and passing yards and are only one of four teams in the nation to score at least 25 rushing and passing touchdowns.
– Florida’s defense has recorded interceptions in 11 of 13 games and 23 of 25 games.
– The Gators have not lost back-to-back games since Sept. 29 and Oct. 6, 2007.

Read OGGOA’s Florida Gators vs. Cincinnati Bearcats preview after the jump!
Continue Reading » BCS: 2010 SUGAR BOWL – (New Orleans, LA) – No. 5 Florida Gators vs. No. 3 Cincinnati Bearcats

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OGGOA Presents: Florida Gators All-Decade Team

The 2000s were quite a decade for University of Florida athletics. Florida Gators football and basketball were especially exceptional, combining for four National Championships (five appearances) and five Southeastern Conference Championships (six appearances) while earning five BCS bowl game and eight NCAA Tournament berths, respectively, over the last ten years. To end this decade of champions, OGGOA has compiled our own Gators All-Decade Team for each sport.

Continue Reading » OGGOA Presents: Florida Gators All-Decade Team

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FOUR BITS: Tickets, injuries, Gators honored

1 » The University of Florida is considered one of the best football traveling schools in the country. However, you would never know that if you looked at the ticket sales for the upcoming 2010 Sugar Bowl against the No. 4 Cincinnati Bearcats. Out of the No. 5 Florida Gators’ 17,500 allotted tickets, the team still has almost 5,000 remaining. In fact, the University Athletic Association usually only allows boosters and students to order tickets, but they opened it up to alumni and regular fans via Ticketmaster almost two weeks ago. Should fans wish to attend, they can choose to sit in the Gators section.

2 » Getting ready for a trip to Sunrise, FL, for the 2009 Orange Bowl Basketball Classic, the No. 13/13 Florida basketball team (8-1) is dealing with a rash of injuries. Junior forward Chandler Parsons (torn leg muscle), sophomore F/C Kenny Kadji (back spasms) and freshman F Erik Murphy (shoulder) are all missing practice while sophomore guard Ray Shipman (foot) just recently returned to action. “We’re about at a point where we’re playing 3-on-3 in practice,” head coach Billy Donovan said. “You’ve got 10 guys and you’re down to six right now, so that makes it challenging, especially with exams going on.”

3 » The Gators football team keeps racking up honors as six players were named to the Sporting News All-SEC Team on Thursday. On offense, senior quarterback Tim Tebow, junior tight end Aaron Hernandez and junior center Maurkice Pouncey all received the nominations; senior middle linebacker Brandon Spikes, junior cornerback Joe Haden and junior defensive end Carlos Dunlap represented the defense. Haden was also named the 2009 Defensive MVP by the publication.

4 » Speaking of honors, soccer’s Erika Tymrak was named to the 2009 Soccer America All-Freshman team as a second team selection. She has already been listed on the NSCAA All-South Region second team and SEC All-Freshman team.

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SIX BITS: Juniors in NFL, Henderson’s visit, Loeffler, Azzanni, Bell, Kiper’s Big Board

1 » According to Florida Gators strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti, the team’s liaison with the NFL, 8-10 juniors have submitted their paperwork for evaluation by the league’s Draft Advisory Board. One can assume those names include cornerback Joe Haden, defensive end Carlos Dunlap, tight end Aaron Hernandez, center Maurkice Pouncey and guard Mike Pouncey. Others who may have submitted their information include safeties Ahmad Black and Major Wright, defensive tackle Lawrence Marsh and offensive linemen Carl Johnson and Marcus Gilbert.

2 » Five-star offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson (St. Paul, MN), considered by many recruiting services to be the No. 1 overall recruit in the country, will be taking his official visit Gainesville, FL, this weekend. Henderson is also seriously considering the USC Trojans, Ohio State Buckeyes and Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

3 » Florida quarterbacks coach Scot Loeffler, who has only been on the job one year in Gainesville, is considered a top candidate for the Central Michigan Chippewas and Buffalo Bulls head coaching jobs vacated by Butch Jones and Turner Gill, respectively. Some believe a year with next season’s starting quarterback John Brantley could earn Loeffler a much better gig just 12 months from now.

4 » Another name being thrown around the CMU job is brand new Gators wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni, who joined the program one week ago after the departure of Billy Gonzales to the LSU Tigers. Suffice to say that Florida head coach Urban Meyer would be none to pleased to be forced to replace a second WR coach in a matter of days.

5 » Former Gators QB and current Jacksonville Dolphins head coach Kerwin Bell met with Louisville Cardinals head coach Charlie Strong on Wednesday about the Cardinals’ vacant offensive coordinator position. Though working with Strong could be considered a promotion of sorts, Bell may prefer being his own boss at Jacksonville. “Kerwin really likes running his own program and calling the shots,” his athletic director Alan Verlander told The Florida Times-Union. “Unless they throw a lot of money at him, I’m about 95 percent certain that he will be at JU next year.”

6 » ESPN analyst Mel Kiper’s latest NFL Draft Big Board has been published and little has changed for Florida’s players. Dunlap crept up one spot from his season-low of No. 17 to No. 16, with Kiper saying his “physical tools are off the charts” and that he “has unlimited upside.” Also on the list are Haden, a “polished cover corner with tackling ability to match,” who held strong at No. 7, and Hernandez, who also popped up a spot to No. 18.. Kiper says Hernandez has “great hands and excellent run-after-catch skills for a TE.” Noticeably absent from the board for a third-straight week is senior middle linebacker Brandon Spikes, who last appeared at No. 25 on Nov. 18.

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Gators named Sporting News, AP All-Americans

The Sporting News and Associated Press released their respective All-America teams on Tuesday, and each features a number of Florida Gators among the ranks.

Four Florida players were named Sporting News first-team All-Americans, the most student-athletes on the first team of any school in the country. Juniors tight end Aaron Hernandez and center Maurkice Pouncey represented the offense while the defense had senior middle linebacker Brandon Spikes and junior cornerback Joe Haden on the list. Senior quarterback Tim Tebow was the sole Florida player on the second team; none were placed on the third team.

The AP named six total Gators to its three teams, with Hernandez and Haden the sole UF players representing on the first team. Tebow, Spikes, Maurkice and junior guard Mike Pouncey were all selected for the second team.

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