2014 SEC Media Days – Will Muschamp pleased Florida’s roster, progress made in spring

Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp, redshirt junior quarterback Jeff Driskel, junior defensive end Dante Fowler, Jr. and sophomore cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III represented the team on Monday by participating in the 2014 Southeastern Conference Media Days at the Winfrey Hotel in Hoover, Alabama.

Below are highlights primarily from Muschamp’s sessions with the media.

BETTER THAN EXPECTED

If anyone is to believe in the possibility of Florida turning things around in 2014, rebounding from its worst season since 1979, it is going to start on the offensive side of the ball. Muschamp knew this and brought in offensive coordinator Kurt Roper to employ a spread offense and make the Gators a more dynamic playmaking team.

Not only will Roper’s offense put redshirt junior quarterback Jeff Driskel back in the shotgun, where he is more comfortable and capable, it should give Florida more space to make plays. Muschamp is already extremely impressed with how much UF has been able to get accomplished in such a short period of time.

“I went back and looked at our numbers from 2012 when we were in the shotgun as opposed to being under center. When Jeff was in the shotgun, our yards were better, our explosive plays were better in both the run and pass game. He was recruited to Florida to be a gun quarterback,” he explained.

“In making that change, I felt like Kurt Roper was a great hire for us from a standpoint of a guy that philosophically is on the same page with me as what we want to be, that’s a balanced offense. …

“In our 15 days of springs, we got a lot more done than I thought we would. He’s an outstanding fundamental football coach, very positive. It was good to see our offensive kids having fun again on the field. Really excited about that. Probably what excites me the most is this is probably the most talent we’ve had on offense in my four years at Florida.”

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New Gators football players pick numbers

With the entire football team now enrolled for the Summer B semester, the Florida Gators on Monday released the uniform numbers for all the new players set to suit up for the first time next season.

TRANSFERS –
» 72 – Drew Sarvary (Tallahassee, FL), junior offensive lineman
» 83 – Jake McGee (Richmond, VA), redshirt senior tight end

FRESHMEN – SUMMER ENROLLEES
» 2 – Ryan Sousa (Orlando, FL), three-star wide receiver
» 3 – Treon Harris (Miami, FL), four-star quarterback
» 12 – Quincy Wilson (Fort Lauderdale, FL), four-star defensive back
» 14 – C.J. Worton (Homestead, FL), three-star wide receiver
» 23 – J.C. Jackson (Immokalee, FL), four-star cornerback
» 27 – Deiondre Porter (Tampa, FL), three-star cornerback
» 52 – Travaris Dorsey (Jacksonville, FL), three-star offensive lineman
» 54 – Khairi Clark (Hollywood, FL), four-star defensive tackle
» 56 – Thomas Holley (Brooklyn, NY), four-star defensive tackle
» 77 – Andrew Mike (Tucson, AZ), three-star offensive lineman
» 78 – David Sharpe (Jacksonville, FL), four-star offensive lineman
» 80 – C’yontai Lewis (Alabaster, AL), three-star tight end
» 82 – Moral Stephens (Perry, FL), four-star tight end
» 92 – Gerald Willis III (New Orleans, LA), four-star defensive lineman
» 96 – Justus Reed (Clearwater, FL), three-star defensive end

FRESHMEN – SPRING ENROLLEES
» 5 – Jalen Tabor (Washington, D.C.), five-star cornerback
» 7 – Will Grier (Davidson, NC), four-star quarterback
» 7 – Duke Dawson (Cross City, FL), four-star cornerback
» 20 – Brandon Powell (Deerfield Beach, FL), four-star running back
» 30 – DeAndre Goolsby (Derby, KS), three-star tight end
» 53 – Kavaris Harkless (Jacksonville, FL), three-star offensive lineman
» 71 – Nolan Kelleher (Mount Pleasant, SC), four-star offensive lineman
» 93 – Taven Bryan (Casper, WY), three-star defensive lineman

* Preferred walk-on kickers Brooks Abbott (Jacksonville, FL), a transfer from Virginia Tech, and freshman Jorge Powell (Coral Gables, FL) do not have numbers yet.

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Gators add second preferred walk-on K Powell

For the second time in less than full two months, the Florida Gators have added a well-regarded kicker by offering him a preferred walk-on spot, according to multiple reports, with Jorge Powell (Miami, FL) committing to play in Gainesville, FL.

Originally committed to Penn State, Powell had a change of heart and has decided to stay in-state. His about-face was first reported by BlueWhiteOnline.com‘s Tim Owen.

The Gators’ kicking game was awful in 2013 with Florida finishing the season tied for 116th nationally with its kickers connecting on just 12-of-22 attempts (.545).

Redshirt sophomore kicker Austin Hardin won the starting job out of fall camp but was so inconsistent that coaches could not trust him to keep the position. Brad Phillips and redshirt senior walk-on Frankie Velez both kicked at points in 2013.

Hardin and Velez will now be tested both by Powell and junior Brooks Abbott, a two-year Virginia Tech player who decided on Dec. 18, 2013 to transfer to Florida.

Powell went 12-for-15 on field goals and 25-for-27 on extra points during his senior season of high school, according to the Miami Herald’s Safid Deen. Abbot served as a kickoff specialist at VT in 2012 and did not play in 2013 but connected on 11-of-15 field goals during his final year of high school.

According to KornblueKicking.com, Powell is the second-ranked incoming freshman kicker and is talented enough to start as a freshman for a FBS program.

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Florida Gators sign JUCO OL Drew Sarvary, add K Brooks Abbott as walk-on

The Florida Gators have added two players to the program for the upcoming season, starting with Wednesday’s announcement of JUCO offensive lineman Drew Sarvary (Tallahassee, FL) signing a National Letter of Intent to join the team for the 2014 season.

A three-star prospect out of Tyler Junior College, Sarvary checks in at 6-foot-6 and 310 pounds and played in 11 games as a true freshman tackle at Florida A&M. He transferred to Tyler and was named a First Team All-Southwest Junior College Football Conference selection last year, committing to transfer to Texas Tech in October.

He will enter school as a true junior without having used a redshirt season. Florida, which will return three upperclassmen at offensive tackle and two at guard, may not wind up needing Savarary to play next season. He would be eligible to take a redshirt if the player and team decided to move in that direction.

Sarvary becomes the Gators’ 19th commitment of the 2014 cycle. An early enrollee, he is set to join the team in January and participate in spring practice.

“Thankful for all my opportunities but I have decided to sign to with the University of Florida!” he announced on Twitter.

Florida also received good news on Tuesday from Virginia Tech sophomore kicker Brooks Abbott, who decided to transfer into UF next season.

Abbott, a Jacksonville, FL-native who served as a kickoff specialist in 2012 and did not play in 2013, went 11-for-15 on field goals as a high school senior.

He will join the Gators as a preferred walk-on next year and compete with redshirt sophomore Austin Hardin and redshirt senior Frankie Velez for the starting job.

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