FOUR BITS: Okine, McElwain, Noah, Arnold

1 » Former Florida Gators defensive lineman Earl Okine signed with the Indianapolis Colts this week after spending time in both the Arena Football League and Fall Experimental Football League last season. Okine, who was picked up as an undrafted free agent by the Houston Texans last May, did not make the team’s regular-season roster. He picked up 28 tackles and 5.5 sacks for the AFL’s Orlando Predators.

2 » Florida head coach Jim McElwain made a statement with his 2015 recruiting class, proving that the Gators were not only able to close strong but also add some out-of-state commitments to the fold. Overall, UF locked up five players from the state of Georgia – including rising athlete Chris Williamson – last cycle after not grabbing a single Peach State prospect in 2014. McElwain this week told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution‘s Michael Carvell why he has made Georgia such a priority. “I think [it was due to a] couple things,” McElwain said of why UF had success recruiting the area. “There were pre-existing relationships with some guys on our staff who recruited the area in the past. That obviously helps. But for us, our thought is [to lock down] a five-hour radius around Gainesville. And with that being said, that goes up into Georgia, and that will be something that we’ll try to continue to make Gator Country.”

Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Okine, McElwain, Noah, Arnold

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Former Florida Gators in the NFL: Conference Championship – one advances to Super Bowl

The 2014-15 NFL Playoffs continued this week with the Conference Championship round and three former Florida Gators spread out over two of the four teams remaining in the postseason.

Two Gators were eliminated from the NFL Playoffs this week with Super Bowl XLIX set with the New England Patriots taking on the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, Feb. 1.

A former Florida player will be on the roster of a Super Bowl team for the 13th consecutive season. Should New England defeat Seattle, a former Gators player would be a Super Bowl champion for the sixth time in the last seven seasons. Overall, UF has 24 Super Bowl rings won by 17 different players over 18 Super Bowls.

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
C Jonotthan Harrison*: Inactive
OT Xavier Nixon: Inactive

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
DT Dominique Easley: Injured reserve – season

NOTES
» Harrison and Nixon were inactive for the second-straight week. Harrison’s play declined throughout the season, earning him a spot on the bench and then pushing him off the Colts’ game day roster. Nixon played as a reserve most of the year but was inactive last week and missed the Indianapolis team flight; he did not join the team.
» Former Florida defensive coordinator Dan Quinn works for the Seahawks in the same position. In his second year as Seattle’s defensive coordinator, Quinn is helping lead the team to its second-straight Super Bowl appearance as he looks for his second ring.
» Former Gators defensive back Marquand Manuel is in his third year as a coach with the Seahawks. He served as an assistant special teams coach in 2012 and moved into a defensive assistant role in 2013. Like Quinn, he is hoping to win his second Super Bowl in as many seasons.

* Rookie

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Former Florida Gators in the NFL: Divisional

The 2014-15 NFL Playoffs continued this week with the Divisional round and eight former Florida Gators spread out over five of the eight teams remaining in the postseason.

Five Gators were eliminated from the postseason this week with the Conference Championship round set to include three Florida players (one injured) on two of the remaining four teams (both in the AFC).

Below are full game statistics for all five players (three starters) that saw action during the Divisional round.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK
DE JEREMY MINCEY, Dallas Cowboys: Started | five tackles (three solo, one for loss), forced fumble, fumble recovery

Check out how the rest of the Gators in the NFL performed…after the break!

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Former Florida Gators in the NFL: 2014 Wild Card

The 2014 NFL Playoffs began this week with the Wild Card round and 13 former Florida Gators spread out over seven of the 12 competing in the postseason.

Four Gators were eliminated from the postseason. The Divisional Round will include eight former Florida players on five teams including all four in the AFC.

Below are full game statistics for all eight players (five starters) that saw action during the Wild Card round.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK
DE JEREMY MINCEY, Dallas Cowboys: Started | four tackles (three solo, one for loss), sack, QB hit, pass defense

Check out how the rest of the Gators in the NFL performed…after the break!

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NOT Top 14 for 2014: Moments Gators can forget

At the conclusion of each year, OnlyGators.com takes a look back at the top on-field moments and off-field stories from the previous 12 months. For the second-straight year, which will go down as another difficult and controversial one for the Florida Gators, we sort through the Not Top 14 for 2014 – games, actions and stories that fans of the program will look to put in the rear view mirror as the clock strikes midnight. Don’t forget to check out the Top 14 for 2014 (COMING THURSDAY) to begin 2015 on a positive note!

14 » SEE YA NEVER

Over the final two months of 2014, the Gators football program saw three seniors decide – whether through purposeful actions or team rules violations – to end their careers early. Learning he would not be starting at Vanderbilt, redshirt senior defensive tackle Leon Orr argued with then head coach Will Muschamp and was sent home on a bus before the game; he later tried to explain his side of the story. On the final day of the year, redshirt senior wide receiver/kick returner Andre Debose (mutual decision) and senior DT Darious Cummings (violation of team rules) were ruled out for the bowl game. Debose had an up-and-down hear overall, suffering a defenestration in the spring and barely playing on offense during the season; he was excellent as Florida’s all-purpose returner, however, and ends his career tied for the SEC record in kick return touchdowns (four).

13 » CHARACTER CONCERNS

Maurkice and Mike Pouncey kept their noses clean when they were with the Gators and continue to be fan favorite from their time at Florida. However, since becoming professional football players, some character questions have been raised – stemming in large part from the brothers wearing “Free Hernandez” hats last year – and those continued in 2014. Pouncey was one of the main players named in bullying allegations levied by former Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Jonathan Martin, and both Pounceys were accused of serious assault during a night club incident in Miami. The brothers were not ultimately charged with assault from that evening’s incident but all of the allegations continued to paint UF in a bad light.

12 » UNEXPECTEDLY UNDRAFTED

It started in the 2014 NFL Draft when a pair of Gators junior cornerbacks that declared early – Loucheiz Purifoy and Marcus Robersonwere not selected. Purifoy had a drug incident in the offseason that contributed to him not being drafted – and both players dealt with character concerns – but it was nevertheless a surprise. (Purifoy and Roberson, respectively, signed undrafted free agent deals with the Indianapolis Colts and St. Louis Rams. Both saw limited action this season with Purifoy getting cut by the Colts, dropped by the Seattle Seahawks after a waiver claim [failed a physical] and ultimately suspended four games by the NFL for an undisclosed reason.)

There was even more of an expectation that center Patric Young would be picked in the 2014 NBA Draft with many believing he could go as high as the lower portion of the first round. Instead, Young fell out of the first and did not even get picked in the second as many NBA teams chose to select international players that they could stash and not sign to contracts. Young ultimately signed with the New Orleans Pelicans but was later cut by the franchise and is now playing in Turkey. Point guard Scottie Wilbekin and forward Casey Prather also went undrafted, and though Wilbekin performed well in NBA Summer League action, he did not get an opportunity in the league either.

11 » BAD OMENS

Though there was some positive momentum for the football program as the 2014 season approached, with the roster looking healthy and offensive coordinator Kurt Roper expected to turn things around for Florida, a number of bad omens cast doom over the Gators’ campaign. It started with the Orange & Blue Debut spring game, which ended in a tie. Though there was no reason to continue the game per se, fans in attendance hoped to see a little bit of extra Florida football action and left disappointed.

The ominous offseason continued with wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Joker Phillips resigning from his position in June after Miami staffers reported him for a recruiting violation. Muschamp named former Gators quarterback and team graduate assistant Chris Leak as the replacement receivers coach, giving UF four different coaches at that position in as many seasons. The last omen was even more obvious than the first two with lightning storms cancelling Florida’s season opener against Idaho. Though options were considered to play the game at a later date in the season, it was ultimately decided to take the contest off both teams’ schedules with the Gators and Vandals only playing 11 contests in 2014.

Continue Reading » NOT Top 14 for 2014: Moments Gators can forget

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Former Gators in the NFL: 2014 Week 16 & 17

The 2014 NFL regular season concluded this week with 36 former Florida Gators spread out over 20 of the 32 teams in the league.

Twelve teams had multiple Florida players on their rosters including Miami (four); Philadelphia and Tampa Bay (three each); and Baltimore, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Denver, Indianapolis, Kansas City, N.Y. Jets, Pittsburgh and St. Louis (two each).

Below are full game statistics for all 26 players (16 starters^) that saw action along with select status and injury updates on some Gators during the 16th week of the regular season as well as the same information for all 29 players (15 starters^) that were active in Week 17.

Eight former Gators advanced to the postseason. Florida is represented on seven of the 12 teams that moved on to the 2014 NFL Playoffs.

^ Kickers and returners not counted as starters.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK (16)
WR RILEY COOPER, Philadelphia Eagles: Started | five receptions for 53 yards (target: 7, long: 16), two touchdowns

PLAYS OF THE WEEK (16)

PLAYER OF THE WEEK (17)
S REGGIE NELSON, Cincinnati Bengals: Started | three solo tackles, pass defense, interception (-4 yard return)

PLAYS OF THE WEEK (17)

Check out how the rest of the Gators in the NFL performed…after the break!

Continue Reading » Former Gators in the NFL: 2014 Week 16 & 17

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Former Florida Gators in the NFL: 2014 Week 15

The 2014 NFL regular season continued this week with 35 former Florida Gators spread out over 21 of the 32 teams in the league.

Twelve teams had multiple Florida players on their rosters including Miami (four); Philadelphia and Tampa Bay (three); and Baltimore, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Denver, Indianapolis, Kansas City, N.Y. Jets, Pittsburgh and St. Louis (two each).

Below are full game statistics for all 25 players (15 starters^) that saw action along with select status and injury updates on some Gators during the 15th week of the regular season.

^ Kickers and returners not counted as starters.

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
DE CARLOS DUNLAP, Cincinnati Bengals: Started | six tackles (five solo, two for loss), sack, three QB hits [all team-highs]
DE JEREMY MINCEY, Dallas Cowboys: Started | three tackles (two solo for loss), two sacks, two QB hits

PLAY OF THE WEEK

Check out how the rest of the Gators in the NFL performed…after the break!

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Former Florida Gators in the NFL: 2014 Week 14

The 2014 NFL regular season continued this week with 34 former Florida Gators spread out over 21 of the 32 teams in the league.

Eleven teams had multiple Florida players on their rosters including Miami (four); Philadelphia and Tampa Bay (three); and Baltimore, Cincinnati, Denver, Indianapolis, Kansas City, N.Y. Jets, Pittsburgh and St. Louis (two each).

Below are full game statistics for all 29 players (20 starters^) that saw action along with select status and injury updates on some Gators during the 14th week of the regular season.

^ Kickers and returners not counted as starters.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK
WR PERCY HARVIN, New York Jets: Started | six receptions for 124 yards (targets: 9, long: 45) [all team-highs]; two carries for three yards (long: 4), fumble (not lost); four kick returns for 109 yards (long: 47)
» The receiving touchdown was Harvin’s first since Oct. 25, 2012 and just his second offensive touchdown in that same span. The 124 yards were his second-most this season (129, Nov. 2).
» Harvin was feared to be lost for the season with an ankle injury suffered in the game, but the Jets diagnosed it as a low ankle sprain and he is questionable for Sunday.

Check out how the rest of the Gators in the NFL performed…after the break!

Continue Reading » Former Florida Gators in the NFL: 2014 Week 14

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