TWO BITS: Young, Gardner, eye black, Henderson

1 » Florida Gators four-star power forward commitment Patric Young (Jacksonville, FL) is drawing rave reviews from coaches and fellow players as he works with the USA Basketball Men’s U-18 National Team in preparation for the 2010 FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Men from June 26-30. “He’s playing really, really well,” team assistant and Georgia Tech head coach Paul Hewitt told ESPN‘s Andy Katz earlier this week. “He’s making plays, rebounding and running the floor well. Offensively, he’s looking good. He gives tremendous effort every time – great effort –and he’ll help Florida even if he doesn’t score a ton of buckets. He’s going to help them. He’ll defend, set screens and do all those things without scoring points.”

2 » After a career including 13 NCAA Tournament berths coming as a player, graduate assistant and coach, Gators women’s basketball assistant Susie Gardner is expected to be named the head coach of the Mercer Bears at a 3 p.m. press conference Thursday. Gardner, who has spent the last three seasons with Florida, has been in the Southeastern Conference for 13 years of her 24-year coaching career including stints as head coach at Arkansas and as an assistant and player at Georgia.

3 » With the statues of former Gators quarterback and Heisman Trophy winners Tim Tebow, Danny Wuerffel and Steve Spurrier going up outside of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium next year, fans have been asking one relatively interesting question: Will Tebow’s statue feature a signature eye black message? The Gainesville Sun attempted to get this question definitively answered but found a non-committal response instead. The statue’s artist, W. Stanley “Sandy” Proctor, has already completed Tebow’s statue – which includes blank eye black. However, his business manager said that he would be happy to add a message if the University of Florida requested it. Associate athletics director Chip Howard was a bit more clear, saying he was “not sure if [a message] will show up well so you can read [it], but we continue to work on the statue […] to make [it] as real as possible.”

4 » Five-star offensive lineman Seantrel Henderson (Minneapolis, MN), the top recruit in the country in 2010 who committed to the USC Trojans on National Signing Day, is apparently mulling his future with the team, according to reports. Henderson, who chose USC over Miami, Ohio State, Florida and Minnesota, was allegedly promised by Kiffin that the Trojans would not suffer any major sanctions from the NCAA. USC coaches (including Kiffin) flew out in a private jet to visit Henderson last week with hopes to keep his commitment, but he recently told the St. Paul Pioneer Press that he didn’t “want to talk about that,” when asked whether or not he was remaining with the program.

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TWO BITS: McFarland is eligible, Demps is fast

1 » After National Signing Day, the Florida Gators‘ top-ranked 2010 recruiting class was faced with a handful of academic eligibility concerns. While most of the players have been able to qualify without issue, four-star athlete Travon Van had to be let out of his scholarship (he has since signed on with the Marshall Thundering Herd), and three-star tight end Michael McFarland was faced with not making the team due to grade concerns. A source close to the university informed OGGOA of McFarland’s issues last week as Van was being dismissed, but they have since told us that McFarland “got what he needed grade-wise” and his eligibility is now simply a formality.

2 » ESPN’s Bruce Feldman found out over the weekend what Gator Nation has known for quite some time – junior running back (and sophomore sprinter) Jeff Demps is a fast, fast man. Feldman interviewed Demps for ESPN Insider (subscription required) and touched on his football and track careers. “Four. No, wait. Five. I got one in football. I got one for the indoor 60 meters and for the team indoor title, and now I have ones for the 100 and the outdoor [relay],” Demps said when asked how many national title rings he possesses.

Photo Credit: Caitlin Healy

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FOUR BITS: UM recruit blasts UF; Demar Dorsey

1 » Speaking about the Florida Gators coaching staff to The Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson, Miami Hurricanes three-star freshman linebacker Kevin Nelson (Gainesville, FL) decided to rip his hometown team. “Grimy, two-faced and disrespectful,” Nelson called the coaches. He also accused them of what some might call dirty recruiting by saying the coaches told him that “Miami hasn’t won any ACC championship[s] since going to the ACC, and that [head coach] Randy Shannon is going to leave after this year, and that I might not get any playing time.” Nelson claims he rejected an offer from Florida (many believe it was pulled), but also says he has always been a Miami fan.

2 » Canes three-star freshman cornerback Devont’a Davis (Gainesville, FL) added that the Gators disrespected him because they did not extend an offer to him – a hometown player and fan of the team. “It offended me that they didn’t make an offer because I’m the best cornerback in Florida and live down the street,” he said. This follows-up what he told Rivals on Sept. 21. “I’m real disappointed in Florida,” Nelson said of not having an offer at the time. “They didn’t even invite me to the Tennessee game, so that was very disappointing to me. So even if they do offer me, I’m out.”

3 » A former Florida commitment, five-star safety Demar Dorsey left the program just before National Signing Day, though the specifics of that split are still hazy. Dorsey claimed he decommitted, but it is widely believed that the Gators stopped recruiting him due to a variety of concerns (juvenile arrests) not including academics. He was expected to sign with either the Florida State Seminoles or Michigan Wolverines and eventually chose the latter. New reports out of Ann Arbour, MI, state Dorsey is out as a member of the incoming class even though he qualified academically with the NCAA. ESPN called him “in limbo.” Dorsey would have the choice to go to another program with an open scholarship (the Seminoles are rumored) or sign with a junior college.

4 » Former Florida guard Orien Greene has been suspended for two years by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency for tamping with urine samples he submitted for a drug test while playing professional basketball in Amsterdam. Greene allegedly used another person’s urine when providing his sample. However, he only has a year of suspension remaining because he was initially suspended on March 12, 2009. Greene started his college career with the Gators before transferring to Louisiana-Lafayette. He played for Sacramento, Indiana and Boston in the NBA before playing in Europe.

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Meyer returns feeling good, ready to coach again

Lost among the hysteria of the Florida Gators‘ Pro Day and an appearance by the basketball team as a No. 10-seed in the 2010 NCAA Tournament against the Brigham Young Cougars was the beginning of spring practice for the football team – something that (perhaps most importantly) also saw the official return of head coach Urban Meyer from his leave of absence.

Meyer, who told reporters that he actually returned in an official capacity a few weeks ago after taking some personal time to get healthy and rested, spoke confidently about his health. “I’m not going to get into all that, but I feel fine. I feel good,” he said after the three-hour practice. He also declined denied to speak about a number of tests he underwent in February.

Read the rest of OGGOA’s story on Meyer’s return to the Gators after the break!
Continue Reading » Meyer returns feeling good, ready to coach again

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TWO BITS: Schintzius recovers, Henderson out

1 » Former Florida Gators All-American center and NBA first-round draft pick Dwayne Schintzius‘ long battle with leukemia has hopefully come to an end. Schintzius, 41, is the Gators’ fifth all-time leading scorer (1,624 points); the team’s career blocks leader; the only player in SEC history with more than 1,000 points, 800 rebounds, 250 assists and 250 blocks; and a nine-year NBA veteran who was drafted No. 24 overall by the San Antonio Spurs in 1990. He received a bone marrow transplant on Jan. 12 from his brother Travis, and his family, friends and Gators fans prayed each day that his condition would improve. The Tampa Tribune, which spoke with Schintzius’ father, reports that he is in the process of making a full recovery and has even been released from the hospital. “The doctors are very optimistic,” Ken Schintzius said. “He has been declared leukemia-free. There’s a ways to go before he’s back where he was, but it’s moving in the right direction.”

2 » Though Florida was on his short long list heading into National Signing Day, it is unlikely that five-star 2010 offensive tackle recruit Seantrel Henderson would switch over to the Gators should he be displeased with the NCAA’s investigation into the USC Trojans. Jeremy Fowler of the Orlando Sentinel confirms a previous OGGOA report that the Miami Hurricanes would be one of the frontrunners for his services.

Extra BIT » Former Florida forward/center Joakim Noah his being held out of action for three more weeks by the Chicago Bulls due to his nagging plantar fasciitis.

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Florida does not grant K Marvin Kloss admission

Though he was offered a scholarship and grayshirt by the South Florida Bulls, three-star kicker Marvin Kloss (Naples, FL) had decided to accept a walk-on offer from the Florida Gators pending his admission. Unfortunately for Kloss and the Gators, the University of Florida decided not to grant him admission due to his grades and test scores; he will now be a preferred walk-on with the Bulls.

“If [Florida] can get me in, I’m going up there,” Kloss said earlier in the week. “I want to play right away, and they’re a lot better [than USF] scholarship-wise with just one kicker and one punter on scholarship.” His tune obviously had to change on Thursday. “It wasn’t that hard a decision,” Kloss told the St. Petersburg Times. “I thought about it, sat down with my coach and my parents, and overall, I just had a better feel about USF.”

His grade point average and test scores already earned him a Florida Bright Futures scholarship, though they were obviously not high enough to get him into UF. Kloss had previously told the Times that Gators interim head coach and offensive coordinator Steve Addazio would be taking his paperwork to the admissions office on Wednesday.

Kloss had scholarship offers from the Purdue Boilermakers and Marshall Thundering Heard before National Signing Day, both of which he declined in order to attempt a walk-on. He is not guaranteed a scholarship from USF, especially since he will be competing with the six kickers already on the team’s roster this spring.

Photo Credit: David Albers/Naples Daily News

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Gator Bites for Wednesday, February 17

From time to time, OGGOA will come across a plethora of news and notes that we wish to share with our readers. In those instances, we present a special post: Gator Bites. Enjoy.

» Florida Gators associate athletics director Steve McClain spoke with The Florida Times-Union about head coach Urban Meyer’s leave of absence. He had this to say: “If you compare [what Meyer is doing now] to what he was usually doing, it was very different. He [has] made a lot of changes.”

» In a meeting with the media today, running backs coach Stan Drayton told reporters that redshirt sophomore Chris Rainey will be both a rusher and slot receiver next season. While this may seem like big news to some, it is important to realize that former kick returner Brandon James technically held this job last season and amassed a grand total of 24 catches for 215 yards. Obviously Rainey is more talented offensively, but the “change” in position is less important than an increase in production would be.

  • Expect redshirt junior RB Emmanuel Moody to see a big increase in carries.
  • Freshman RB Mike Gillislee could see more game action, too.

Plenty of additional news and notes are available after the break! Keep reading…
Continue Reading » Gator Bites for Wednesday, February 17

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SIX BITS: 2010 class, Tebow, Smith, awards

1 » Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer spoke candidly with The Gainesville Sun’s Pat Dooley after National Signing Day on Wednesday. He was surprised there was not a worse reaction to his temporary resignation but actually had fun dispelling numerous rumors about his next job. “[Five-star defensive end Ronald Powell called me at 3 a.m. and] wanted to know if I was going to ESPN to replace Lee Corso,” Meyer said. That’s what he had been hearing. I just laughed.” Four-star offensive lineman Chaz Green, Florida’s last commitment, had the same question. In the end, for a man dealing with stress, his 2010 recruiting class gave him the best gift of all: relaxation. “I left my phone on (Tuesday) night but I went to sleep,” he said. “I got up, no messages. What is that? That’s the first time since I have been married I wasn’t on the phone at midnight the day before Signing Day. And we were done with the faxes by noon.”

Five more BITS including Tim Tebow’s new organization, Emmitt Smith’s upcoming honor, the women’s basketball team’s loss and much more after the jump!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: 2010 class, Tebow, Smith, awards

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