Top 10 for 2010: Off the Field Stories of the Year

For as much as the Florida Gators accomplished on the field in 2010 (check out our post tomorrow), the Gator Nation was making plenty of news off of it as well. From former players signing huge contracts to current team members being a part of some of the biggest news stories in sports this year, Florida was spread all over the sports landscape in 2010. Below are OGGOA‘s Top 10 Off the Field Stories of the Year.

10 » FIVE BECOME A PART OF THE GATOR NATION IN THE SKY
It would be difficult to recount everything that Gator Nation has gone through in 2010 without remembering those close to the University of Florida who left us for a better place in the past year. Young and old, these Gators departed too soon and suddenly in all but one case. Lamar Abel (21), a walk-on defensive lineman, suffered cardiac arrest while volunteering at a roadside cleanup event with his fraternity in Gainesville, FL. Former safety John Curtis (24) committed suicide in Bellvue, WA. Hall of fame safety Jarvis Williams (45) passed away after an acute asthma attack. Former Gators basketball player and friend to the program Augie Greiner (76) died in his home. And long-time donor and Bull Gator George Steinbrenner (80), most famously known as the owner of the New York Yankees, passed away in a Tampa, FL, hospital. OGGOA once again sends our deepest condolences to the families and friends of these men.

9 » ERIN ANDREWS GETS JUSTICE, STARS ON TV, RE-SIGNS WITH ESPN

Former Florida dazzler and ESPN reporter Erin Andrews had a much better go of it in 2010. Though her stalker plead guilty to his charges in court in December 2009, she spent a good portion of 2010 making sure he was brought to justice (27-month prison term) while also spreading word across the country that violence against women from sexual predators cannot and should not be tolerated. Simultaneously, Andrews participated in ABC’s Dancing with the Stars and even dropped a few Gator Chomps along the way. She ended up finishing third in the competition but parlayed her talent on the sidelines into an enhanced gig with the Worldwide Leader in Sports. Andrews signed a new two-year deal with ESPN, which included a role hosting the first hour of College GameDay live on ESPNU, appearances on ABC’s Good Morning America and more of a presence on the family of networks. She also spoke with OGGOA on two occasions, first in a wide-ranging interview that received significant publicity and later to share her thoughts on the resignation of head coach Urban Meyer.

Continue Reading » Top 10 for 2010: Off the Field Stories of the Year

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LB Brendan Beal confirms transfer out of Florida

OGGOA EXCLUSIVE: Florida LB Brendan Beal also likely to transfer

On Wednesday, OGGOA exclusively reported that redshirt sophomore linebacker Brendan Beal would be transferring out of the Florida Gators program after two injury plagued seasons. Beal himself confirmed this story during a conversation with Scout.com late Sunday evening.

“I was told tonight by [offensive coordinator] Steve Addazio that I will be given my official release from the University of Florida sometime tomorrow,” Beal told the website. “I spent two years at Florida under several different coaches in which I had the opportunity to learn a lot about football and had some good experiences there. I appreciate the time the coaches gave me during my tenure with the Gators and wish them the best of luck with their program.”

A source close to the team told OGGOA last week that Beal, a Parade All-American and former four-star recruit who sat out the last two seasons with a torn ACL, was “not 100 percent but more like 99 percent” out the door.

His decision ultimately came after he lost out on the opportunity to earn a starting job during spring practice and realized he would likely be the fifth linebacker on the Gators’ depth chart behind senior Brandon Hicks, redshirt senior A.J. Jones, sophomore Jon Bostic and redshirt freshman Jelani Jenkins.

Beal becomes the third former top-rated recruit to leave Florida this offseason, following redshirt sophomore cornerback Adrian Bushell (transfer) and defensive tackle Gary Brown (dismissal). The Gators have decided not to restrict any of the schools that Beal can transfer to and are already allowing universities to contact him.

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Florida LB Brendan Beal also likely to transfer

OGGOA has learned that redshirt sophomore linebacker Brendan Beal is likely to be transferring along with classmate cornerback Adrian Bushell, according to a source close to the team.

Beal, a Parade All-American and former four-star recruit who sat out the last two seasons with a torn ACL, is “not 100 percent but more like 99 percent” out the door, the source said.

He was hoping to win a starting job in the spring but probably would have been the team’s fifth linebacker behind a dynamic and impressive foursome of senior Brandon Hicks, redshirt senior A.J. Jones, sophomore Jon Bostic and redshirt freshman Jelani Jenkins.

Beal and Bushell (a four-star recruit) would join former five-star defensive tackle Gary Brown (dismissed) as top-rated commitments who have left the Gators this offseason.

Beal and Florida are expected to come to a final decision within a week to 10 days.

OGGOA – 05/17: LB Brendan Beal confirms transfer out of Florida

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TWO BITS: Update on arrests of Brown, Babik

1 » Arrested Feb. 15 on two counts of misdemeanor battery, former Florida Gators defensive tackle Gary Brown was indefinitely suspended from all team activities and cut from the team four days later. Monday, Brown and his lawyers reached an agreement to defer prosecution with the State Attorney’s Office that negates the need for the him to stand trial. He will receive six months of probation, a $150 fine (or 12 hours of community service) and must face treatment for alcohol abuse as part of the plea.

2 » Former University of Florida network coordinator Steve Babik – who was charged in federal court in January with the receipt, distribution and possession of child pornography – has had his trial postponed while he and his attorneys work on a plea deal, according to The Gainesville Sun. Babik, 50, pleaded not guilty in court in January and will now stand trial on May 3 unless it is further postponed.

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Florida football’s five positions of need for 2010

With the Florida Gators’ first Junior Day of the 2011 session in the books and recruiting for the next term already underway, OGGOA recruiting contributor Zach Abolverdi takes a look at what will be the top five needs for the team next offseason.

Check out the Gators’ top five positions of need for 2011 after the jump!
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Gators dismiss DT Gary Brown after arrest

Florida Gators redshirt freshman defensive tackle Gary Brown was arrested early Sunday morning on two counts of misdemeanor battery. By Monday, the University of Florida had indefinitely suspended him from all team activities. Just days later, Brown is no longer a part of the Gators football team.

“Gary Brown has had a history during his time here of not meeting a set of expectations we have for the student athletes in our football program and therefore he is no longer part of our program,” Florida associate athletic director Steve McClain said.

Slated to be a solid contributor for the Gators in 2010, Brown is alleged to have slapped one woman in the face and scratched another’s arms after a disagreement began when he and a friend refused to leave a Gainesville, FL, party late Saturday night. A former five-star recruit, Brown, 19, was booked into Alachua County jail at 7:49 a.m. Sunday morning after the two victims pressed charges. He was released Monday morning on his own recognizance and is currently awaiting trial.

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Gary Brown arrested on battery charges

Florida Gators redshirt freshman defensive lineman Gary Brown was arrested early Sunday morning on two counts of misdemeanor battery, according to The Gainesville Sun.

Slated to be a solid contributor for the Gators in 2010, Brown is alleged to have slapped one woman in the face and scratched another’s arms after a disagreement began when he refused to leave a Gainesville, FL, party late Saturday night. Each charge is officially described by the police report as “battery: touch or strike.” Neither victim needed medical attention.

A former five-star recruit, Brown, 19, was booked into Alachua County jail at 7:49 a.m. Sunday morning after the two victims pressed charges. He remains unsentenced but has officially been suspended from all team activities.

The Palm Beach Post reports that the police first responded when Theodore Davis, a friend of Brown’s, pulled a fire alarm, shattered glass to remove a fire extinguisher and sprayed said extinguisher on those at the party.

UPDATE: Brown was released from jail Monday morning on his own recognizance.

OGGOA will update this story as more information is made available. Should he be found guilty, we do not expect Brown to remain a member of the team.

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