Former Florida Gators cornerback Joe Haden‘s two brothers – Jordan and Josh – have decided to play football next year for the Toledo Rockets rather than in Gainesville, FL as initially planned.
Safety Jordan Haden was a member of Florida’s heralded 2010 recruiting class but decided to transfer in August after finding that the Gators were not a good fit for him.
Running back Josh Haden, who transferred out of Boston College last year, was expected to become the next member of his family to wear the orange and blue with a plan to join the team in January.
Toledo head coach Tim Beckman was the defensive coordinator and assistant head coach at Bowing Green under former Gators head coach Urban Meyer from 2001-02. The school is also just over 100 miles away from where Cleveland Browns CB Joe Haden plays professionally.
1 » Florida Gators five/four-star 2011 quarterback commitment Jeff Driskel (Oviedo, FL) was named 2010-11 Gatorade Florida Football Player of the Year on Thursday by Gatorade and ESPN RISE. According to Gatorade, “The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Driskel as Florida’s best high school football player.” He is now a finalist for the National Football Player of the Year award, which will be announced in late December. At 6’4” and 230 lbs., Driskel went 138-for-235 for 1,783 yards and 16 touchdowns (with three interceptions) as a senior. He also rushed for 1,296 yards and 20 touchdowns on 151 carries and scored two more touchdowns on pass receptions. Florida freshman safety Matt Elam took home the same award in 2009-10.
2 » Also bringing home an award Thursday is Cleveland Browns rookie cornerback Joe Haden, who was named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month for November. Haden has grabbed an interception in three-straight games for Cleveland and is set to start the second game of his career Sunday against the Miami Dolphins. He also recorded 16 total tackles and seven pass breakups last month.
3 » Sports Illustrated published a feature story on New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez over a week ago – something we apparently skipped over. The story covers Hernandez’s love and distaste for the Patriots as a youngster, how he felt about Randy Moss being traded and how happy he is to play so close to where he grew up. “I felt like it was time to take that step and move on,” Hernandez told SI.com about his decision to leave after his junior year. “So far it’s work out pretty well.”
4 » Another good read is a feature Yahoo! Sports’ Les Carpenter on Pittsburgh Steelers rookie center Maurkice Pouncey. Sure to be up for NFL Rookie of the Year honors this season, Pouncey has been “forced to forge [his] own identity” away from his brother this year and has impressed everyone he comes in contact with both on the field and in the locker room. Carpenter explores the Pounceys’ decision to split, how each have handled the separation this year and why their story is such a unique one.
1 » Former Florida Gators wide receiver Percy Harvin was added to the Minnesota Vikings injury report on Thursday with what is being called a hamstring injury. Minnesota did not decide to release how severe the injury is but the Vikings certainly need Harvin on the field Sunday night for their divisional rivalry game against the Green Bay Packers. Harvin has been a big scoring threat for Minnesota recently, returning a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown last week and hauling in two receiving touchdowns the previous week.
2 » Grabbing his first career interception last week against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns rookie cornerback Joe Haden wants more playing time, and he just might get it, according to the Akron Beacon Journal. “I thought he had his best week of practice since he’s been with us,” head coach Eric Mangini said of how Haden prepared last week. “I think that he’s starting to understand what it means to be a pro. He’s starting to understand what it takes to prepare each week, and there’s no doubt in my mind that that week of preparation, the way that he was last week, led to his best performance since he’s been here. If he keeps developing, he’ll keep pushing for playing time. That’s what you want. That’s what I want. That’s what he wants, and I don’t mean I’m looking to replace anybody. I’m looking for him to get better to push those guys to replace them because that competition makes everybody better.”
3 » Miami Heat forward Mike Miller, who is currently participating in his first preseason with the team after being signed over the summer, injured and possibly broke the thumb on his shooting hand Wednesday and is expected to be sidelined for up to six weeks. Teammate and fellow former Florida player power forward Udonis Haslem told the Associated Press that doctors believe the injury is “not season ending.”
4 » Former Gators punter Eric Wilbur has been shining this season with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the CFL, and his ability to kick “high and deep angled” punts has provided his team with “a stunning field-position advantage,” according to the Hamilton Spectator. “We’re asking him to place the ball in a certain spot, so there were a couple which could have been better but overall it was excellent,” said special teams coach Dave Easley. “He gets tremendous height on the ball because he’s got a very, very strong leg.” Wilbur may be asked to kickoff as well next year for Hamilton though his eyes are still set on a bigger stage. “My ultimate goal is to be in the NFL,” Wilbur told the paper. “But I love it up here. I love the atmosphere, I love the games. If I have to stay up here, I’ll be happy.”
5 » Upsetting South Carolina last week at home, Kentucky’s fans were rightfully excited. After the final whistle blew, plenty of blue-and-white faithful stormed the field to celebrate – something that is seen all over the country after a home team upsets a top-ranked opponent. Unfortunately, when it comes to the Southeastern Conference, such celebrations are not allowed under league rules. That is why, on Thursday, Kentucky was fined $25,000 for a sportsmanship policy violation by the SEC. The policy that was violated states that “access to competition areas shall be limited to participating student-athletes, coaches, officials, support personnel and properly-credentialed individuals at all times. For the safety of participants and spectators alike, at no time before, during or after a contest shall spectators be permitted to enter the competition area.”
6 » Join former Florida quarterback Danny Wuerffel and Desire Street Ministries for a 90’s Gators Reunion Celebration from Nov. 12-13 in Gainesville, FL. Wuerffel and other Gator greats like WR Chris Doering, QB Doug Johnson, QB Shane Matthews, WR Travis McGriff, offensive tackle Jason Odom, safety Lawrence Wright and others will be in attendance to celebrate a great decade of Florida football while raising money for DSM. For more information on the event and how you can participate, please click here to read the invitation.
Though OGGOA will still be posting our Florida Gators in the NFL week six recap on Monday, we wanted to take a moment to showcase the performances of three players in particular who made big plays for their respective teams on Sunday.
» Denver Broncos rookie quarterback Tim Tebow scoring his first career touchdown:
» Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin with his third career return TD:
» Cleveland Browns rookie cornerback Joe Haden with his first career interception:
With the 2010-11 NFL season now underway, a number of Florida Gators participated in Week 1 action, some of whom had an impact on their team’s performance.OGGOA has checked and re-checked the box scores to bring you a summary of what these Gators accomplished during the first week of the season.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK LB MIKE PETERSON, Atlanta Falcons: Six tackles (four solo), interception RB FRED TAYLOR, New England Patriots 14 rushes for 71 yards (avg: 5.1, long: 24), two receptions for six yards (targets: 2, long: 7)
LB ANDRA DAVIS, Buffalo Bills: Eight tackles (two solo) WR DAVID NELSON, Buffalo Bills: Three receptions for 22 yards (targets: 6, long: 9) S REGGIE NELSON, Cincinnati Bengals: Two solo tackles CB JOE HADEN, Cleveland Browns: Two solo tackles, pass defended WR JABAR GAFFNEY, Denver Broncos: Three receptions for 36 yards and a touchdown (targets: 7, long: 15) QB TIM TEBOW, Denver Broncos: Two rushes for two yards DT MARCUS THOMAS, Denver Broncos: Two solo tackles DE DERRICK HARVEY, Jacksonville Jaguars: Two solo tackles, pass def., QB hit DT JEREMY MINCEY, Jacksonville Jaguars: Pass defended WR PERCY HARVIN, Minnesota Vikings: One reception for 12 yards, one rush for two yards, two kickoff returns for 41 yards (avg.: 20.5, long: 22) CB LITO SHEPPARD, Minnesota Vikings Three solo tackles, three passes defended TE AARON HERNANDEZ, New England Patriots: One reception for 45 yards LB BRANDON SPIKES, New England Patriots: Three tackles (one solo), pass defended, QB hit DE ALEX BROWN, New Orleans Saints: Tackle WR LOUIS MURPHY, Oakland Raiders: Four rec. for 28 yards (targets: 7, long: 16) FB EARNEST GRAHAM, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Six carries for 10 yards (avg.: 1.7, long: 6), one reception for eight yards
OFFENSIVE LINEMEN — NO STATISTICS / DID NOT PLAY
C Maurkice Pouncey (Pittsburgh Steelers), LT Max Starks (Steelers), G Cooper Carlisle (Raiders) — DE Jarvis Moss (Broncos), S Major Wright (Chicago Bears), DT Joe Cohen (Detroit Lions), LB Jermaine Cunningham (Patriots), DT Gerard Warren (Patriots), RB DeShawn Wynn (Saints), WR Riley Cooper (Philadelphia Eagles), DE Ray McDonald (San Francisco 49ers), QB Rex Grossman (Washington Redskins), LB Brandon Siler (San Diego Chargers)
WR Andre Caldwell (Bengals), DE Carlos Dunlap (Bengals), LB Channing Crowder (Miami Dolphins)
- D. Nelson, Haden, Tebow, Hernandez and Spikes all recorded their first NFL statistics.
- Starks suffered a high ankle sprain during the Steelers game and will miss a month.
Four weeks of preseason action have now come to a conclusion, and the majority of the Florida Gators‘ 10 rookies have been regularly participating for their respective teams. OGGOA takes a look at how they have been performing thus far with only one more week to go before the 2010-11 NFL regular season begins.
QB TIM TEBOW, Denver Broncos
Game 3 Passing: 5-of-10 for 72 yards, one TD, one INT (14.4 avg., 67.5 QB rating)
Game 2: Did not play – ribs
Game 1 Passing: 8-of-13 for 105 yards (8.1 avg., 87.0 QB rating)
Game 1 Rushing: Two carries for 10 yards, one touchdown
CB JOE HADEN, Cleveland Browns
Game 3 Defense: Five tackles (two solo), one pass defended
Game 3 Kick returning: one attempt for 12 yards
Game 2 Defense: Two tackles (one solo), two passes defended
Game 2 Kick returning: Two attempts for 43 yards (long 28)
Game 1 Defense: Three solo tackles, one pass defended
Game 1 Kick returning: One attempt for 34 yards
C MAURKICE POUNCEY, Pittsburgh Steelers
Game 3: Worked as first-team center
Game 2: Worked as first-team center
Game 1: Worked as first-team guard, second-team center
LB JERMAINE CUNNINGHAM, New England Patriots
Game 3: Did not play – undisclosed
Game 2: Did not play – undisclosed
Game 1: Did not play – concussion
DE CARLOS DUNLAP, Cincinnati Bengals
Game 4 Defense: One tackle (one solo), two QB hits
Game 3 Defense: Four tackles (three solo), one sack, one Gator Chomp
Game 2 Defense: One tackle
Game 1 Defense: Did not play – concussion
LB BRANDON SPIKES, New England Patriots
Game 3 Defense: Seven tackles (five solo), one QB hit
Game 2 Defense: Three solo tackles
Game 1 Defense: Eight tackles (three solo) [team-high]
S MAJOR WRIGHT, Chicago Bears
Game 3: Did not play – finger
Game 2: Did not play – finger
Game 1 Defense: Seven tackles (six solo)
TE AARON HERNANDEZ, New England Patriots
Game 3: Did not play – undisclosed
Game 2 Receiving: Four receptions for 46 yards [team-highs], one touchdown
Game 1 Receiving: Three receptions for 26 yards (long 21)
Game 1 Rushing: One carry for six yards
WR RILEY COOPER, Philadelphia Eagles
Game 3 Receiving: Three receptions for 39 yards [T-team highs], one touchdown
Game 2 Receiving: Two receptions for 22 yards
Game 2 Special Teams: Two tackles
Game 1 Receiving: Three receptions for 61 yards (long 46) [team-high]
WR DAVID NELSON, Buffalo Bills
Game 3: Two receptions for 34 yards, one touchdown
Game 2: Did not play – ankle
Game 1 Receiving: Five receptions for 47 yards [team-highs], one touchdown
KR BRANDON JAMES, Indianapolis Colts
Game 3 Kick returning: Six attempts for 144 yards (avg. 24, long 34)
Game 3 Punt returning: Two attempts for six yards, one fumble
Game 2 Punt returning: Two attempts for 22 yards (long 19)
Game 1 Kick returning: Four attempts for 99 yards (avg. 24.8, long 28)
Game 1 Punt returning: One attempt for five yards
Game 1 Receiving: One reception for two yards
1 » It is no secret that Florida Gators junior cornerback Janoris Jenkins is already a top prospect for the 2011 NFL Draft – and he has not even played a down in the 2010 season yet. ESPN currently ranks him as the No. 10 overall draft prospect for next year, and Jenkins is aware that he could very well follow in Cleveland Browns rookie CB Joe Haden’s footsteps not only at Florida but also in the pros as well. Pahokee High School head coach Blaze Thompson told the Palm Beach Post Tuesday that Jenkins is “one of those guys that doesn’t accept the back seat and isn’t intimidated by many people. The NFL is his dream. If by the end of the year he’s slated as a first-round pick, I would say Florida’s losing a corner. It’s hard to pass that money up.” The Post’s Jason Lieser also points out something else interesting – that new Gators defensive coordinator Teryl Austin was dejected to learn that Jenkins was only a sophomore when he was evaluating defensive backs prior to the 2010 NFL Draft; he was looking at Haden, but Jenkins stood out to him on film.
2 » Though Florida’s coaching staff has changed drastically since last season, assistant head coach and defensive line coach Dan McCarney believes the current lineup is as good as ever. “I think they all come from phenomenal programs, good people, they are winners,” he said, according to Florida Today. “Most, if not all, have a great background with Urban Meyer, which makes it pretty unique. […] I’ve been on some great staffs. I think this one may be as good as any I’ve ever been around.”
Extra BIT » Remember when OGGOA told you that former Gators softball player and ESPN sideline reporter Jenn Brown had signed an endorsement deal with Icehouse? Yeah, that’s not going to happen. According to MillerCoors, which distributes Icehouse, ESPN decided to nix the deal even after they initially approved it when Brown’s agent broached the subject. Brown can now continue to enjoy her Coronas without having to worry about angering her sponsor.
1 » Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway continued to support Denver Broncos rookie signal caller Tim Tebow, calling for analysts and media to be fair when evaluating the former Florida Gators star on a game-to-game basis. “There’s just so many positives about this guy, and yet all the focus seems to be one negative,” Elway said on Denver radio Monday. “He didn’t get drafted in the first round because of his release. He was drafted in the first round because he has so many intangibles that you can’t coach.”
2 » Stepping into a starting role while veteran Eric Wright was on the mend, Cleveland Browns rookie cornerback Joe Haden worked with the first-team during practice all last week. But when it was game time, Wright resumed his role and Haden was shifted over to nickel back, a position he is still learning. “It just shows I’m starting to gain coach’s trust,” Haden said about working with the starters all week. “They keep putting me out there with the ones, so I’ve just got to keep getting better every day. I feel like I’m just getting better.” Head coach Eric Mangini agrees. “The key for Joe is to figure out a place of how he can help us and then to keep making his case to play more,” he said. “But those other guys, they’re making their case for him to play less and I think that’s a good thing because that’s competitive and you want that to be the situation. Nothing is given to anybody, it has to be earned. He’s working at it, but those other guys are working at it too and however it pans out, those guys will play.”
3 » Pittsburgh Steelers beat writer Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette believes rookie center Maurkice Pounceyhas already won the starting job outright after two preseason games. “He’s no longer competing for the starting job at center. Give it to him now,” he wrote Sunday. “Pouncey is so dominant at the position that it’s not even close. He looks like a Pro Bowler after two preseason games. Not only does he block his man, he often blocks TWO men, getting one and then running downfield to obliterate someone else. The man consumes defenders.” Pouncey entered Saturday’s game during the second series, came back in for the third series and never left – playing through almost three full quarters.
4 » New England Patriots veteran linebacker Gary Guyton injured his knee on the fourth day of camp, allowing rookie Brandon Spikes to step in and get the majority of work as a starter next to Jerod Mayo. Now that Guyton has returned, his starting job may be gone for good, as ESPNBoston.com’s Mike Reiss notes that Spikes “is getting starter-type respect” from coaches. Guyton is hopeful he can win his job back throughout the remaining few weeks, but Spikes is impressing everyone from head coach Bill Belichick to veteran nose tackle Vince Wilfork. “He’s every bit the person I thought he was,” Wilfork said about Spikes. “Looking at the guy playing in college, he’s playing with that same mentality on this defense. He’s a hard-nosed, tough player who loves football. That’s exactly what he’s brought. That’s exactly what we need on this football team – somebody that loves this game and is not afraid to hit, tough, smart.”