TWO BITS: Scottie Wilbekin, Percy Harvin, Franco

1 » Former Florida Gators point guard Scottie Wilbekin, a rookie in Australia’s National Basketball League, continues to lead the Cairns Taipans towards the organization’s first title. With the best record in team history, the Taipans (21-7) defeated the Perth Wildcats 71-64 on Friday in the NBL Semifinals. Wilbekin, Cairns’ Most Valuable Player and Defensive Player of the Year, registered game-highs of 23 points and 10 rebounds while going 7-for-11 from the field, 3-for-4 from beyond the arc and 6-for-6 at the charity stripe. He also posted four assists and two turnovers in 36:38. Taipans coach Aaron Fearne believes Wilbekin should be under strong consideration for league MVP honors, especially if he leads Cairns all the way to a title. “He’s extremely valuable to us and has been a big focus for opposition teams. For a 21-year-old to come out and have the impact he’s had, he should be a frontrunner (for MVP honors) in my opinion,” Fearne told The Cairns Post on Thursday.

A source close to Wilbekin told OnlyGators.com that the former Gators star will enter the NBA D-League immediately upon returning to the United States. He will join the league’s free agent pool therefore be available to get signed by any team.

Continue Reading » TWO BITS: Scottie Wilbekin, Percy Harvin, Franco

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Florida Gators in the NFL: Patriots win Super Bowl XLIX, Dominique Easley earns ring

The 2014-15 NFL season concluded on Sunday with three players with ties to the Florida Gators on teams competing for the league championship in Super Bowl XLIX.

The New England Patriots ultimately defeated the Seattle Seahawks 28-24 to win the Super Bowl, and as a first-round pick of the Patriots in the 2014 NFL Draft, former Gators defensive tackle Dominique Easley picked up a ring for his efforts early in the season. (He was put on injured reserve ahead of the postseason and did not play on Sunday.)

Continue Reading » Florida Gators in the NFL: Patriots win Super Bowl XLIX, Dominique Easley earns ring

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2 BITS: SEC/Big 12 Challenge, Miller, Hernandez

1 » The Southeastern Conference and Big 12 announced Thursday that the annual SEC/Big 12 Challenge, which began last season, will undergo a significant format change. Instead of being 10 games played over three days in the fall, it will now be 10 games played in one day early in the spring. That date has been set for next season with all 10 games tipping off on Saturday, January 30, 2016, though match-ups have not yet been determined at this time. “Moving the Big 12/SEC Challenge later in the season will raise the profile of this event and give our coaches, student-athletes and fans the attention that it deserves,” said Mike Slive, the SEC’s commissioner. The 10 games will all be played on ESPN networks with the four SEC teams not given match-ups going head-to-head against each other on the SEC Network that day.

The Florida Gators wound up playing a home-and-home series against Kansas in the first two iterations of the event, hosting the Jayhawks last season and travelling to Lawrence, Kansas, this fall. Florida is expected to host an SEC/Big 12 Challenge game in 2015-16, though renovations to the Stephen C. O’Connell Center would have proved that difficult if the game was played during its previously-scheduled window. Whether the event was moved to help accommodate UF remains to be seen, but the scheduling adjustment was not just made for next season but for the duration of the event’s existence.

Continue Reading » 2 BITS: SEC/Big 12 Challenge, Miller, Hernandez

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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!

Continue Reading » Former Florida Gators in the NFL: Divisional

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4 BITS: McDonald, Easley, Murphy, Harvin, Haden

1 » The San Francisco 49ers on Wednesday released veteran defensive lineman Ray McDonald, who was investigated earlier in the day on suspicion of sexual assault. “This is about a pattern of poor behavior,” 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said in a statement. “We expect a lot from our players, hold them accountable for their actions.” San Francisco stood by McDonald early in the season when he was accused of domestic violence; McDonald was arrested but never charged with the crime, and the accusation was eventually thrown out. However, two such allegations in a single season – the second of which led to the search of his home by the San Jose Police Department – was simply too much for the franchise to handle. “If this was one incident, we would be standing up here talking about due process, like we have multiple times, in multiple situations,” Baalke added. “But this is just a pattern of decision-making that Ray has demonstrated over a period of time that, once again, it’s no longer going to be tolerated.”

McDonald has been a solid contributor for the 49ers over the last eight seasons and was putting together arguably his second-best campaign with 39 tackles, three sacks and a forced fumble through 14 games. He was in the first year of a five-year, $20.1 million contract that paid him $5 million as a signing bonus this season and an annual average salary of $4.02 million.

Continue Reading » 4 BITS: McDonald, Easley, Murphy, Harvin, Haden

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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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Former Florida Gators in the NFL: 2014 Week 13

The 2014 NFL regular season continued this week with 38 former Florida Gators spread out over 22 of the 32 teams in the league.

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

Below are full game statistics for all 29 players (18 starters^) that saw action along with select status and injury updates on some Gators during the 13th week of the regular season.

^ Kickers and returners not counted as starters.

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
CB JOE HADEN, Cleveland Browns: Started | solo tackle, two pass defenses, interception; blocked field goal
» Haden has nabbed an interception in three-straight games and also forced another the week preceding the start of his streak.
LB JELANI JENKINS, Miami Dolphins: Started | 16 tackles (eight solo, two for loss) [all team-highs], QB hit, pass defense
» Jenkins’s 16 tackles were a career-high and marked his third game with 14+ tackles this season.

PLAY OF THE WEEK

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 13

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