10 Gator Bites for Friday, April 18

From time to time, OnlyGators.com will come across a plethora of news and notes that we wish to share – too much to fit into one of our truncated BITS segments. When stories like these fall through the cracks, we catch and wrap them all up with Gator Bites.

» No. 1 Florida Gators gymnastics (20-2) opens up competition in the semifinals of the 2014 NCAA Championships on Friday as it looks to defend the program’s first-ever NCAA National Championship by advancing to the Super Six for the eighth time in the last nine years. UF will compete against Alabama, Nebraska, Penn State, UCLA and Utah on Friday at 8 p.m. in Birmingham, AL with the top three finishers moving on to compete Saturday at 7 p.m. A live video stream of Friday’s event is available by clicking here. ESPN3.com will air Saturday’s Super Six and Sunday’s individual event competitions.

» Gators defensive tackle Dominique Easley drew some positive reviews out of his Pro Day workout on Thursday even despite the fact that he was only competing at about 80-85 percent as he continues to recover from a torn ACL. According to Sports Illustrated contributor Tony Pauline, Easley is “drawing heavy interest” from Chicago, New England, San Francisco and Seattle with the aforementioned teams believing he will go in the second round of May’s 2014 NFL Draft.

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TWO BITS: Horford transfer, Easley Pro Day

1 » According to ESPN.com‘s Jeff Goodman, redshirt junior forward Jon Horford, a Michigan Wolverines transfer and the brother of former Florida Gators F Al Horford, is heavily considering choosing to play the final year of his collegiate career in Gainesville, FL. Jon Horford (6-foot-10, 250 pounds) will be a redshirt senior in 2014-15 and cleared to play without having to sit out a season. He registered 3.8 points and 4.2 rebounds in 13.8 minutes per game for Michigan last season and decided to transfer in order to get more playing time. That is one reason why a move to Florida was not believed to be on the table previously. Though the Gators are in need of frontcourt players, they do have freshman Chris Walker and redshirt junior Damontre Harris at center next season. Florida will also play redshirt juniors Alex Murphy (currently not scheduled to be eligible until the spring), redshirt junior Dorian Finney-Smith and incoming freshman Devin Robinson, though the latter two players will likely play small forward. Horford’s addition would fill UF’s remaining 2014-15 scholarship but not affect the allotment for 2015-16.

2 » Gators defensive tackle Dominique Easley has spent the last seven months rehabilitating his torn ACL but is finally getting the chance to show NFL teams what he can do on Thursday as he is participating in a private Pro Day at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville. Joining Easley for the workout are outside linebackers Ronald Powell and Darrin Kitchens, who also participated in Florida’s first Pro Day one month earlier on March 17. Easley recently completed a visit with the Dallas Cowboys, his first private trip, and is expected to go on many more after his Pro Day workout is complete. Projections for Easley range from the second to fifth round, but he is likely to be taken on the second day of the 2014 NFL Draft as long as he can prove he’s healthy.

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Florida Gators at 2014 NFL Combine: Tuesday

For the fifth-straight year, OnlyGators.com continues our coverage of the eight former Florida Gators participating in the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine (National Invitational Camp) at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN.

The event, which is held for six days from Feb. 19-25, 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 2014 NFL Draft on May 8.

Defensive backs Loucheiz Purifoy* (Group: 11 | Camp: DB44), Marcus Roberson* (Group: 11 | Camp: DB48) and Jaylen Watkins (Group: 11 | Camp: DB58) concluded their combine experience on Tuesday with the full workout, though Watkins only participated in one event.

* Junior

Check out Tuesday’s results from the 2014 NFL Combine…after the break!
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Florida Gators at 2014 NFL Combine: Monday

For the fifth-straight year, OnlyGators.com continues our coverage of the eight former Florida Gators participating in the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine (National Invitational Camp) at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN.

The event, which is held for six days from Feb. 19-25, 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 2014 NFL Draft on May 8.

Defensive tackle Dominique Easley (Group: 7 | Camp: DL09) and linebacker Ronald Powell* (Group: 9 | Camp: LB23) concluded their combine experience on Monday with the full workout, though Powell is the only one who participated as Easley is still rehabilitating from his ACL injury.

Defensive backs Loucheiz Purifoy* (Group: 11 | Camp: DB44), Marcus Roberson* (Group: 11 | Camp: DB48) and Jaylen Watkins (Group: 11 | Camp: DB58) competed in the bench press on Monday while also undergoing psychological testing, attending an NFLPA meeting and doing team interviews. They will complete the combine with the full workout on Tuesday; all three players are expected to participate.

* Junior

Check out Monday’s results from the 2014 NFL Combine…after the break!
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Florida Gators at 2014 NFL Combine: Sunday

For the fifth-straight year, OnlyGators.com continues our coverage of the eight former Florida Gators participating in the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine (National Invitational Camp) at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN.

The event, which is held for six days from Feb. 19-25, 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 2014 NFL Draft on May 8.

Defensive tackle Dominique Easley* (Group: 7 | Camp: DL09) and linebacker Ronald Powell** (Group: 9 | Camp: LB23) competed in the bench press on Sunday while also undergoing psychological testing, attending an NFLPA meeting and doing team interviews.

Defensive backs Loucheiz Purifoy* (Group: 11 | Camp: DB44), Marcus Roberson* (Group: 11 | Camp: DB48) and Jaylen Watkins (Group: 11 | Camp: DB58) arrived at the combine on Saturday. They were officially measured, completed medical exams, met with the media and continued the interview process they began the previous day.

Check out Sunday’s results from the 2014 NFL Combine…after the break!
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Jaylen Watkins – Path to NFL Draft: Improving

Through the 2014 NFL Draft, which will be held in New York, NY from May 8-10, Florida Gators defensive back Jaylen Watkins will be keeping you up-to-date on his Path to the Draft with exclusive blog entries here at OnlyGators.com.

Florida’s third-leading tackler with 52 takedowns last season, Watkins played safety for the Gators after being primarily used as a cornerback – the position he will play as a professional – during his first three years. Watkins started 28 of the 48 games in which he participated but saw the field for starter’s minutes in many of those other contests.

His fifth entry was submitted on Friday, one day before he flew out to Indianapolis, IN to compete in the 2014 NFL Combine. Watkins has been rehabilitating a sprained Achilles he suffered during practice for the 2014 Senior Bowl and hopes to be able to compete in the full combine workout on Tuesday.

Over the last week I’ve continued to spend a lot of time rehabbing from my Achilles sprain at the Senior Bowl. I’d say I’m probably about 90-95 percent right now. I’m completely over the pain, but the Achilles is still tight sometimes, so I’m working on stretching and getting the flexibility back in the ankle. The doctors have been working on it, getting it back to normal, so I’m confident that I’ll be OK.

I’ve seen a little more of [Dominique] Easley recently as he spends most of his days rehabbing and is still unable to do many of the workouts. He is progressively getting better and doing some work in the gym, making his upper body stronger while doing whatever the trainers will allow him to do. He’s taking everything pretty well, knows it’s a long process and that he’ll eventually be able to show off on the field.

We’re in final preparations for the combine now. I know that I will be running the 40-yard dash for sure, but I have not yet decided about all the other events.

I’m going to mostly be rehabbing the next couple days and while I’m there, so I’ll be able to figure out what else I’m going to do. My trainer [Tony Villani] and his staff are already there, so it will be nice that the people helping me out will be giving me the same treatment I’ve had the last few weeks. Like I said, running the 40 is a definite but everything else I probably won’t decide until Tuesday when I’m out on the field.

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Florida Gators at 2014 NFL Combine: Saturday

For the fifth-straight year, OnlyGators.com continues our coverage of the eight former Florida Gators participating in the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine (National Invitational Camp) at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN.

The event, which is held for six days from Feb. 19-25, 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 2014 NFL Draft on May 8.

Offensive lineman Jon Halapio (Group: 1 | Camp: OL12), OL Jonotthan Harrison (Group: 1 | Camp: OL13) and tight end Trey Burton (Group: 3 | Camp: TE03) concluded their four days at the combine on Saturday by competing in the full workout (results below).

Defensive tackle Dominique Easley* (Group: 7 | Camp: DL09) and linebacker Ronald Powell** (Group: 9 | Camp: LB23), who both arrived at the combine on Friday, were officially measured, completed medical exams, met with the media and continued the interview process they began the previous day.

Check out Saturday’s results from the 2014 NFL Combine…after the break!
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Eight Florida Gators invited to 2014 NFL Combine

Updated on Friday at 9:00 p.m.

The official list of invitees was released by National Football Scouting on Friday, and eight former Florida Gators have officially been invited to participate in the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine (National Invitational Camp) at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN.

The event, which is held for six days from Feb. 19-25, 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 2014 NFL Draft on May 8.

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

Tight end Lawrence (Trey) Burton – Group: 3 | Camp: TE03
Offensive lineman Jonathan (Jon) Halapio – Group: 1 | Camp: OL12
Offensive lineman Jonotthan Harrison – Group: 1 | Camp: OL13
Defensive tackle Dominique Easley** – Group: 7 | Camp: DL09
Linebacker Ronald Powell* – Group: 9 | Camp: LB23
Defensive back Loucheiz Purifoy* – Group: 11 | Camp: DB44
Defensive back Marcus Roberson* – Group: 11 | Camp: DB48
Defensive back Jaylen Watkins – Group: 11 | Camp: DB58

* Junior
** Easley (torn ACL) will not participate in the NFL Combine.

Notable names apparently left off the invite list include: wide receiver Solomon Patton, DT Damien Jacobs, LB Darrin Kitchens and OL Kyle Koehne.

Read about each player’s day-to-day schedule in Indianapolis after the jump!
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