FOUR BITS: baseball, Tebow, Watkins, Mincey

1 » No. 18 Florida Gators baseball (24-13) smacked the ball around Tuesday on its way to a 7-1 victory and regular-season series win over the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles (24-14) at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, FL. The Gators were embarrassed in a Gainesville, FL round robin from Feb. 27-March 2, splitting a pair of games with the Eagles, but came up big Tuesday. Junior catcher Taylor Gushue (3/4, 2 RBI, R) was one of six Florida players to drive in a run, and sophomore shortstop Richie Martin (3/5, RBI, 2 R) did his job in the batter’s box as well. UF used four pitchers to seal the deal against FGCU with junior right-hander Ryan Harris (2.0 IP, H) earning the start and victory. Freshman lefty Kirby Snead (4.0 IP, H, K) ate up the most innings, and freshman RHP Shaun Anderson (1.0 IP) closed the door. The Gators have now won three-straight and four of their last five games.

2 » Former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow last week spoke at the Mississippi Coliseum as part of a fundraiser to help support Afghanistan war veteran CJ Stewart. Not only did Tebow himself pledge $10,000 and get four more audience members to do the same – meeting Stewart’s $100,000 goal – he also fielded questions about his life and football. Tebow said he hopes people won’t “talk about football when they talk about me in 50 years,” preferring his legacy to be “how I cared about people, and that I did something to make their lives better.” Seeing as he was in Mississippi, he also discussed UF’s loss to Ole Miss in 2008. “I consider that one of our biggest blessings,” he said, according to The Clarion Ledger. “We were a very talented team, but we needed more motivation. We went to practice in full pads that Sunday, and it was the most intense practice I’ve ever been in. So, thank you very much, Ole Miss.”

Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: baseball, Tebow, Watkins, Mincey

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Jaylen Watkins: Path to the NFL Draft: Pro Day

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 eighth entry was submitted shortly after his participation in Pro Day in Gainesville, FL. Watkins also began private meetings and workouts.

Heading into Pro Day, I was hoping to be 100 percent recovered from my Achillles injury. I felt good that day, good enough to do the broad jump, vertical jump, shuttle drills and on-field work, which I did not anticipate doing all of those heading into the day. I ended up aggravating it doing those activities, and it definitely started bothering me, but I got some good notes back on how I performed.

The weather played a factor, too. It was nasty last year but dried up before the guys got out on the field. We didn’t know what to expect. The earlier part of the day, looking outside, it was pouring and we didn’t expect to go outside at all. I know it was rough for Marcus [Roberson] and Loucheiz [Purifoy] and the rest of the guys having to run on the indoor track and having things off-schedule. “Out of all the days, it had to rain this day.” You know? It was warm the day before, right after it cleared up as well. But just for it to happen like that was a stroke of bad luck for all of us.

Before Pro Day even began, the night before, I had my first meeting since the combine and linked up with the Indianapolis Colts at the Florida football facility. It was very similar to all of my other meetings. We went over film, got to know each other and they picked my brain on some things over about 20-30 minutes.

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Former Florida Gators participate in 2014 Pro Day

Thirteen former Florida Gators football players participated in Pro Day in Gainesville, FL on Monday though the event was not able to be held in front of the public at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium as originally scheduled.

Due to heavy rain, Florida was forced to cancel the on-field workout and move things indoors. Players ran 40-yard dashes and participated in other drills on a rubber track inside the Stephen C. O’Connell Center – many took their shoes off and ran barefoot – before returning to the practice field for some positional drills.

“That was a first,” said UF head coach Will Muschamp of seeing the players run barefoot. “Proud of those guys working hard, a great day for them. The culmination of a lot of work. Have a great opportunity to play in the National Football League. …

“You play football in the rain. Our guys, it’s amazing how many scouts [came out]. Last year, we had a cold day. This, year we had some rain. The scouts walk up and the coaches walk up, Mike Zimmer walks up and says, ‘Hey, I appreciate you guys working.’ That means a lot. Believe me, these guys are professionals; they understand the conditions and the things the guys go through. None of our guys bellyache; they go work, and I’m proud of them for their effort.”

Representatives from all 32 NFL teams were in attendance with 59 scouts reportedly in Gainesville on Monday. Unlike last season, when general managers and coaches did not attend because the Gators held Pro Day on the same day as the start of 2013 NFL free agency, a number found their way to The Swamp with Minnesota head coach Mike Zimmer and New Orleans defensive coordinator Rob Ryan standing out as notable faces.

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Jaylen Watkins: Path to the 2014 NFL Draft – Showing out at the NFL Combine (Part II)

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 sixth entry was submitted on Wednesday, one day after he returned to South Florida from Indianapolis, IN, where he participated in the 2014 NFL Combine. Watkins continued to impress and came away with some of the most noteworthy scores in the events in which he was physically able to participate.

Part I: Arrival, testing, interviews, bench press

On Tuesday, the day of the workout, we woke up at 7:30 a.m. to take some still pictures. You had the option to go see trainers to get taped up or start warming up, or you could just head out onto the field.

My group (11) was the second group of defensive backs, so we were able to watch the other group (10) do the 40-yard dash and position drills while we were waiting to do the broad jump and vertical jump. There was a lot of downtime because the jumps go pretty fast, but you have to wait until the first group is done with their 40-yard dash and positional work before you can even get on the field and compete.

A lot of guys were getting up to run and then sitting down and stretching some more. Being the second group to go was kind of a drag.

I felt pretty good going into the 40-yard dash because I knew I was going to be one of the last guys to go in my group considering my last name begins with a “W.” Instead of warming up and cooling down over and over, I did a lot of sitting around and relaxing in the beginning but began getting ready when my group began to run.

Continue Reading » Jaylen Watkins: Path to the 2014 NFL Draft – Showing out at the NFL Combine (Part II)

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Jaylen Watkins: Path to the 2014 NFL Draft – Showing out at the NFL Combine (Part I)

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 sixth entry was submitted on Wednesday, one day after he returned to South Florida from Indianapolis, IN, where he participated in the 2014 NFL Combine. Watkins continued to impress and came away with some of the most noteworthy scores in the events in which he was physically able to participate.

Part II: 40-yard dash, free swag, departure

We flew out of here on Saturday morning and had a two-hour layover in Atlanta before we could make it to Indianapolis. A bunch of us met up in Atlanta – Marcus Roberson and I were both working out in South Florida but flew out at different times for some reason. Also on the flight with us was Dontae Johnson (North Carolina State), Tre Boston (North Carolina) and Jabari Price (North Carolina), who wound up being my roommate for the entire four-days at the combine.

Once we got there, the second you get there, you have a bunch of forms to sign and then you go to your room, put things down and go straight for medical testing. You get your blood checked, have a urine drug test and take a bunch of X-rays and MRIs if you have or had injuries. Because there are so many players and MRIs especially take a long time, there can be a lot of waiting around.

By the time we got out of there, we went to dinner and were able to relax for a little while. Afterward there are informal interviews with teams from 8-11 p.m., which was very similar to how they did it at the start of the Senior Bowl.

The next morning was an early wake-up because of the second drug test, which they start taking people at 4:15 a.m. But I got up at 3:30 a.m. so I could be the first in line and they let me take it at 4:05 a.m., so I was able to go back to my room afterward and get some sleep.

Continue Reading » Jaylen Watkins: Path to the 2014 NFL Draft – Showing out at the NFL Combine (Part I)

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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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