Gators 2014 early enrollees pick uniform numbers

Athletes care about their uniform numbers and now that Florida Gators football team is beginning spring practice, it was time for the nine 2014 early enrollees to choose theirs. Below is the list according to the school’s spring roster:

TRANSFERS
» No. 72 – Drew Sarvary (Tallahassee, FL), junior offensive lineman

FRESHMEN
» No. 5 – Jalen Tabor (Washington, DC), freshman cornerback
» No. 7 – Duke Dawson (Cross City, FL), freshman defensive back
» No. 7 – Will Grier (Davidson, NC), freshman quarterback
» No. 20 – Brandon Powell (Deerfield Beach, FL), freshman running back
» No. 30 – DeAndre Goolsby (Derby, KS), freshman tight end
» No. 53 – Kavaris Harkless (Jacksonville, FL), freshman offensive lineman
» No. 71 – Nolan Kelleher (Mount Pleasant, SC), freshman offensive lineman
» No. 93 – Taven Bryan (Casper, WY), freshman defensive lineman

NUMBER CHANGES
» No. 2 – senior safety Jabari Gorman switched from No. 21.
» No. 8 – redshirt senior nose tackle Leon Orr switched from No. 44.

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Gators 2014 Spring Football Preview: Offense

Spring practice for the Florida Gators football program begins on Wednesday, March 19 and lasts for 15 practices concluding with the 2014 Orange & Blue Debut spring game on Saturday, April 12. Below is the first of OnlyGators.com‘s two-part series that takes a look at the team on a position-by-position basis.

Due to extensive team injuries, more players started for Florida at times in 2013 than normal. In this case, the term “starter” is being used as applicable per position.

OFFENSIVE TACKLES
Returning starters (2/2): Junior D.J. Humphries, redshirt senior Chaz Green
Fresh faces: Redshirt freshman Roderick Johnson

By the time the 2013 campaign came to an end, the Gators lost three starting tackles for the season. The first of those absentees was Green, who had locked up the starting right tackle job over the summer but tore his labrum in practice and missed the entire season. Then came Humphries, who started the first six games at left tackle but missed the final five after an injured MCL kept him hobbled for the remainder of the year. Florida’s offense struggled mightily, in large part due to a weak offensive line, but Green and Humphries will almost assuredly start for UF as long as they can remain healthy. Johnson did not play in 2013 after suffering a physical setback early in camp but impressed the coaching staff with his athleticism when he was able to practice as a part of the scout team. He is a candidate to see a good number of snaps this year.

OFFENSIVE GUARDS
Returning starters (0/2): None
Fresh faces: Junior transfer Drew Sarvary, freshman Kavaris Harkless

With Jon Halapio and Kyle Koehne graduating – and Florida’s starting left guard changing positions (more on that below) – new offensive line coach Mike Summers will have the opportunity to hand-pick some players to help solidify the unit. Sarvary – a First Team All-Southwest Junior College Football Conference selection last season – and redshirt junior Trip Thurman will compete for the jobs, as will senior Trenton Brown and redshirt junior Tyler Moore, both of whom started games at tackle for the Gators in 2013. Florida’s guards are a work in progress, no two ways about it. Harkless could get in the mix as well though it is tough to know what UF can get from a freshman offensive lineman in the spring.

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Will Muschamp, coaches discuss Florida Gators 2014 signees, recruiting process

National Signing Day LIVE COVERAGE page
2014 Florida signee bios | Gators flip four-star QB Treon Harris from Seminoles, add WR C.J. Worton | Three-star OT Andrew Mike flips to Florida

Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp held a press conference after his coaching staff finished inking its 24-member 2014 recruiting class on National Signing Day. Below are the most notable quotes from that session as well as player evaluations made by other members of the coaching staff.

OPENING STATEMENT

”It’s a great day here at the University of Florida, a lot of hard work put in by our staff. I don’t think people realize the contribution it takes from everybody. It’s a total team effort on campus, professors, our administration, our academic people do a fantastic job. When a young man comes on campus for an official visit, all of the people that have to contribute to make that a special experience, and our people do it the best. Our travel people do an amazing job. All of our pilots, [the media seems] to track pretty well, but they do a phenomenal job. It takes all these moving parts to make things work the right way. So we got a great staff. Our staff did an outstanding job.

“We had a miserable fall, and to have the staff come together – three new coaches in Kurt Roper, Mike Summers and Coleman Hutzler come together and change a little bit, not philosophically, but schematically offensively, adjust some things that we need to do in midstream as far as some of the guys we were recruiting and to put together this class – I’m really proud of that. I don’t know where we ended up as far as any rankings and all. You all know me, I don’t get overly concerned with that.”

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Florida Gators 2014 National Signing Day bios

National Signing Day LIVE COVERAGE page
Will Muschamp breaks down Gators recruiting class | Florida flips four-star QB Treon Harris from FSU, adds WR C.J. Worton | Three-star OT Andrew Mike flips to Gators

Courtesy of the University of Florida‘s University Athletic Association:

EARLY ENROLLEES (9)

Taven Bryan • Defensive lineman
6’5″ • 257 • Casper, WY
PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Unanimously selected as the 2013 Conference Defensive Player of the Year…Named to the All-State First Team on both the defensive line and the offensive line and to the All-Conference First Team on the offensive line as a high school senior…Honored with the 2013 Natrona County Iron Man award…Helped lead Natrona County to a 41-6 record in his final three seasons, including back-to-back state titles in 2012 and 2013…Chose Florida over Colorado, Colorado State, Nebraska, Oregon, Tennessee, Washington, Washington State and Wyoming…Coached by Steve Harshman.

Duke Dawson • Cornerback
5’10″ • 191 • Cross City, FL
PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Named to the Florida Class 1A First-Team All-State defense…Helped Dixie County to a 10-1 record during his senior season…Nominated to play in the 2014 Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl…Finished his high school career with 122 total tackles, 99 solo, and seven interceptions…Made 43 tackles, two interceptions and two forced fumbles as a junior…Chose Florida over Alabama, Florida State, Iowa and Wisconsin.

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Four-star DT Holley drops Penn State for Florida

For the fourth time in the last 11 days, the Florida Gators have flipped a highly-regarded prospect committed to another program with four-star defensive tackle Thomas Holley (Brooklyn, NY) snubbing the Penn State Nittany Lions to instead continue his career playing college football in Gainesville, FL.

Ranked No. 63 overall in the Rivals100, Holley began wavering after head coach Bill O’Brien left Penn State for the Houston Texans. Florida was already in his ear about changing his commitment but gained even greater momentum after O’Brien made his decision and PSU defensive line coach Larry Johnson left for a gig with Ohio State.

Holley (6-foot-4, 299 pounds) is also listed as a four-star prospect and ranked 51st nationally by ESPN. He had an impressive offer list with Alabama, Florida State, OSU and numerous other programs hoping to add his services.

Also a basketball player, Holley is seen as an athletic interior defensive lineman who has great burst, effort and pass rush abilities but needs to improve his pad level and hands when defending the run.

He will draw some comparisons to former Gators DT Dominique Easley, who just so happens to be Florida’s last commitment from the state of New York.

Florida now has 21 players committed for the 2014 recruiting cycle after a whirlwind last few weeks. The Gators have added five-star cornerback Jalen Tabor (Washington, DC), four-star running back Brandon Powell (Deerfield Beach, FL), three-star offensive lineman Kavaris Harkless (Jacksonville, FL) and four-star defensive end Gerald Willis III (New Orleans, LA) all since Jan. 2.

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Gators announce nine 2014 early enrollees

The Florida Gators on Monday officially acknowledged the nine early enrollees that are on campus for the spring semester and will participate in practice in March.

Head coach Will Muschamp and offensive coordinator Kurt Roper also shared some thoughts about some of the newest players on campus.

“Having nine guys in mid-year, number one, says a lot about these kids academically, being ready to go. But it also says a lot about our administration, our academic people being able to turn these over, guys over quickly and get them in school. So, hats off to them,” said Muschamp.

OnlyGators.com will update this post with the players’ official school bios when Florida adds them to the Gators 2014 roster.

Jalen Tabor • Cornerback
6’1” • 188 lbs. • Washington, DC
Muschamp: “A corner that’s got a lot of length and athleticism on the top, and he can finish some plays.”

Will Grier • Quarterback
6’2″ • 186 lbs. • Davidson, NC
Muschamp: “The ability to learn, athleticism. Obviously you look at accuracy as a thrower, being able to throw the ball into tight spots. He’s shown the ability to do that. We had him in camp multiple times. He showed tremendous leadership ability here while he was on campus, positively affecting guys around him. The athleticism and accuracy, we feel like, is there. That’s why a quarterback is a very difficult position to evaluate. You don’t really know sometimes the level of competition and there are other factors that figure in to how successful they’ll be on the college level or moving from the college level to the National Football League.”

Roper: “You knew Will was real talented and was going to be heavily recruited. I think he has a great mindset. I think he has a great quarterback demeanor, and then I tell you what, he was accurate. He can throw it. He has a fast arm. I look for a guy that when he turns it loose, his arm speed is really consistently fast. He’s got a fast arm, so obviously he’s a talented young man.”

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Five-star CB Jalen Tabor flips to Florida

Less than a week after committing to the Arizona Wildcats during the 2014 Under Armour All-American Game, five-star cornerback Jalen Tabor (Washington, D.C.) changed his mind and has instead decided to join the Florida Gators.

The early enrollee will step foot on campus Monday, according to multiple reports.

“If You Not A Gator You Gator Bait !” he tweeted shortly after making the flip. “Following In Big Cuz Footsteps @joehaden23 ! Wearing #5″

Tabor (6-foot-1, 186 pounds), ranked the No. 24 overall player in the nation by Rivals.com, chose Arizona primarily over Alabama on Jan. 2, but his final four also included Florida and Maryland.

“Marcus Roberson [declaring for] the draft had a big part to do with Tabor’s flip, that and distance according to him,” explained Blake Alderman InsidetheGators.com.

The fourth-highest rated cornerback in the country immediately becomes the Gators’ top-ranked prospect and only five-star commitment to date this cycle.

Tabor is coming off an impressive performances both in the Under Armour game and during the week of practices leading up to the contest. Rivals.com’s recruiting analyst Mike Farrell said Taylor “provided the best coverage on defense during the week.”

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Florida flips Louisville OL commit Harkless

A Louisville Cardinals commitment since April 16, 2013, three-star offensive tackle Kavaris Harkless (Jacksonville, FL) has decided to flip allegiances and will instead join the Florida Gators as an early enrollee.

According to InsidetheGators.com recruiting analyst Blake Alderman, who cited one of the prospect’s coaches at Trinity Christian High School, Harkless will enroll in classes on Monday and join Florida for spring practice.

The Gators first offered Harkless, rated a four-star prospect by ESPN, in December and immediately became the highest-profile team to do so. Though Harkless was 100 percent committed to the Cardinals, he began considering his options at that time and has now made the switch just one day after Louisville head coach Charlie Strong decided to leave the program for Texas.

Recruited by head coach Will Muschamp and defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson, Harkless (6-foot-5, 269 pounds) is an important commitment for Florida, which needs to add quality depth along the offensive line.

He is the Gators’ 20th commitment this recruiting cycle and second in the last four days.

Harkless will join Florida along with six other early enrollees including four-star quarterback Will Grier (Davidson, NC), four-star cornerback Duke Dawson (Cross City, FL), four-star tight end DeAndre Goolsby (Derby, KS), four-star OL Nolan Kelleher (Mount Pleasant, SC), three-star DE Taven Bryan (Casper, WY) and three-star JUCO OL Drew Sarvary (Tallahassee, FL).

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