1 » Despite signing a National Letter of Intent in February and expecting to be a member of the Class of 2013, three-star defensive tackle Jarran Reed (Scooba, MS) will not be joining the Florida Gators this season. Reed was hoping to obtain his associate degree from East Mississippi Community College in one year but is “roughly 25 credit hours short of obtaining” the degree “which is a requirement to enroll at an SEC school,” according to InsidetheGators.com’s Blake Alderman ($). Most junior college players that transfer to four-year universities need two full years to amass the necessary credits to get their degree. Reed will spend the summer and fall at EMCC where he will complete his coursework and play junior college football for one more season. He should be able to join the Florida football program in the spring as an early enrollee with two years of eligibility left as a member of the Class of 2014.
2 » Is Gators head basketball coach Billy Donovan primed to land his third big-name recruit out of St. Louis, MO? Hoping he follows in the footsteps of David Lee and Bradley Beal, Donovan has focused in on 6’6”, 180-pound Jayson Tatum as his next target out of St. Louis. Currently attending Chamindale College Preparatory School, where Lee and Beal both graduated, Tatum will be a sophomore next season and not able to join a college program until 2016. Nevertheless, Florida has already offered Tatum as has Kansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Marquette, Memphis, Missouri and Saint Louis, among others. He recently told ZagsBlog.com that UK’s offer was “really cool” because “Coach Cal is like a celebrity” though that may not be any indication of where he is leaning so early in the process. Tatum currently plays the one, two and three but is mostly a point guard at this time.
3 » Former Gators defensive end Jeremy Mincey
signed a four-year, $20 million contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars
in 2012 but enters the second year of his deal having underperformed in his first. After proving to be a difference maker for the Jaguars in 2011 (eight sacks, four forced fumbles, 57 tackles), Mincey played more snaps in 2012 but finished with just three sacks, two force fumbles and 41 tackles. He explained to The Florida Times-Union
that playing 70+ snaps per game wore him down, but he did his best every time he stepped on the field. This season, Mincey is in for some increased competition at defensive end now that Jacksonville has been able to add Jason Babin off waivers from Philadelphia. With Babin likely to start at one end, Mincey will be competing for a starting job, playing time and his contract as he is due $4.475 million (a jump of nearly $3 million from his 2013 salary) in 2014. “I can do a lot more this year. I’ve got a lot of good players around me. I’ve just got to embrace my role,” he said. “Trust me, I’ll findme a spot somehow someway. I fit right in. I can do it all.”
4 » Former Florida tackle Max Starks saw his nine-year career with the Pittsburgh Steelers come to an end this offseason when he inked a one-year deal with the San Diego Chargers and became tasked with protecting the blindside of a quarterback not named Ben Roethlisberger. As it turns out, Roethlisberger may not have to worry too much about the left side of his offensive line as another former Gators tackle, Marcus Gilbert, is in a competition with Mike Adams to win the job. Like Starks, Gilbert started his career at right tackle for Pittsburgh but is now looking to make the move to left, a position that is not only more valuable on the field but usually results in fatter contracts because of its importance. “Obviously, the left side is more important, the quarterback has to have trust in you,” Gilbert told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Right now, I feel really confident with what I have to bring on the left side in protecting Ben’s blind side. I know he’s highly confident in me, too.”