LB Earl Everett: “I’m ready to get back out there”

A true freshman starter, former Florida Gators linebacker Earl Everett was unable to complete his degree in four years. He left for the NFL but was once again met with roadblocks as he suffered injuries while in training camp with the Cincinnati Bengals and later as a member of the Atlanta Falcons’ practice squad. Soon after, he had a successful tryout with the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL but broke two bones in his leg just days after returning from the workout, stalling his career for the short-term. On schedule to complete his degree at the University of Florida and graduate this summer, Everett is all healed up and ready to head up to Canada for a second chance on a professional football career. Before he returned to Gainesville, FL, Everett spent almost 20 minutes speaking with OGGOA about his career and life up until this point.

ADAM SILVERSTEIN: What are you up to now? I know you are back at UF getting your degree. How is it hanging out with the Gators and seeing head coach Urban Meyer?
EARL EVERETT: “It’s always good to go back. Coach Meyer told a lot of us seniors, he always said, ‘Once a Gator, Always a Gator.’ We will always be tied to the hip. And it’s the truth. Every time I go back and see him, he [tells me] that if I need anything – any advice, a reference for a job – you can always call the coaches and they are there for us guys. Even though you are done, you might be done playing football or done with school, they’re still there. It is a family first program – that’s what it is.”

AS: Are you saying that you feel you are done at this point after your injury during tryouts with Montreal last year?
EE: “No, I actually might have a chance to play over in Canada next year with Chris Leak. I’m kind of looking forward to that. I had a few road bumps – like you said, you know – I got injured and got released from a few teams. Then I decided the next best thing was to go back and finish my degree since I’m so close. I’m taking my last two classes now, Summer A, and I graduate in August.”

Read the rest of our exclusive interview with Earl Everett…after the break!
Continue Reading » LB Earl Everett: “I’m ready to get back out there”

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Florida and Ohio State to play at least twice more

The Florida Gators will renew their growing rivalry with the Ohio State Buckeyes with a home-and-home basketball series that will take place over the course of the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons, according to Buckeyes head coach Thad Matta.

Florida, which last had such a series with Ohio State during the 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons, split those contests with a dominating 86-60 home win and devastating 62-49 away loss, respectively. Three months after the first meeting, the Gators defeated the Buckeyes 84-75 in the Georgia Dome while celebrating their second of back-to-back National Championships.

The decision to add a home-and-home series with Ohio State is evidence that Florida hopes to continue scheduling tough non-conference opponents before they begin each season’s Southeastern Conference slate. After putting together easy schedules and (perhaps consequently) missing the NCAA Tournament in consecutive seasons, the Gators faced Michigan State, Syracuse, Xavier, Florida State and North Carolina State over the course of the 2009-10 season.

The 2010-11 game will be a part of ESPN’s 24-hour college basketball marathon, taking place sometime on Nov. 16 from the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL.

Florida also has home-and-home series’ obligations with Florida State and Xavier to fulfill next season. They will face both teams on the road.

Photo Credit: University of Florida

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Sharrif Floyd’s remarkable journey, tough decision

Growing up without a lot of money or family structure, it took a lot of luck for Florida Gators 2010 five-star defensive tackle commitment Sharrif Floyd (Philadelphia, PA) to end up where he is today. He explored that topic along with why he eventually chose Florida over the Ohio State Buckeyes in a conversation on ESPN‘s First Take Wednesday morning. That conversation is transcribed below:

Q: How tough were things for you? What was one of the toughest moments you faced?
SF: “I’d say one of the toughest moments was going to school – elementary school – wearing basically the same three outfits for weeks. Nobody really paid it any mind. I think that was the hardest thing coming up, having to deal with it. Choosing the right way to go – I’d say that was the most important thing for me.”

Q: It would have been easy for you to choose a different path. You had so much instability in your life. Who were the ones that were the guiding forces that made sure [you stayed on your path]?
SF: “I started being guided by someone my sophomore year. My freshman year – actually when I started playing for my high school, George Washington – when I first started it was coach [Ron] Cohen. He’s been there for four years for me now. That freshman year, it was basically just me and him. I did a lot of things on my own. I really wasn’t open with him at first, to start telling him everything that was going on at home. But I did good with showing that there is nothing wrong with the way I am living.”

Read the rest…including why he chose Florida over Ohio State…after the break!
Continue Reading » Sharrif Floyd’s remarkable journey, tough decision

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SIX BITS: Golf, tennis, softball, track, Harrell

1 » After three days of action, the No. 4 Florida Gators men’s golf team led the 33rd annual SunTrust Gator Invitational with a total score of 562 (283-279, +2) after 36 holes at the Mark Bostick Golf Course. Senior Tyson Alexander shot a two-round 141 (71-70, +1), good for a first-place tie going into the final round. That will take place Sunday beginning at 9:10 a.m.

News on tennis, softball, track and former LB James Harrell after the jump!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Golf, tennis, softball, track, Harrell

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Urban Meyer’s e-mail to Seantrel Henderson’s dad

The New York Times‘ Thayer Evans has uncovered the following e-mail sent last month by Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer to Sean Henderson, father of five-star offensive lineman Seantrel Henderson (St. Paul, MN). In it, Meyer says he will be unable to visit the Hendersons but hopes Seantrel can join the Gators’ 2010 recruiting class. Read the article for a contrasting e-mail from the Ohio State Buckeyes.

I hope all is well and I apologize for not being able to make it up there to visit. I tried but my AD and doctor would not allow it. I know your family will be making a life-changing decision in the next few days. I want you to know that he will be taken care of here both as a student and as an athlete. The opportunity to be part of this great Gator Nation with the networking opportunities is unmatched. We have put together the #1 recruiting class in the country and Seantrel is the last missing piece. This class is similar to Tebow, Spikes, and Percy’s class where they wanted to come together to be the best and they did! If you have any questions, I would love to speak w u. Go Gators! Urban

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Hicks spurns Gators, Buckeyes for Longhorns

With National Signing Day approaching on Feb. 3, five-star linebacker recruit Jordan Hicks (West Chester, OH) decided to end the speculation and announce his college commitment a few days early in front of friends and family. Hicks took the Florida Gators, Ohio State Buckeyes and Texas Longhorns down to the wire as his three finalists but ultimately declared that he would play college football in Austin, TX, beginning next season.

Unanimously considered the top LB in the nation, Hicks is ranked No. 4 overall on the ESPNU 150 and No. 16 on the Rivals100. The Gators will now focus on gaining a commitment from five-star LB Christian Jones (Winter Park, FL).

Photo Credit: Will Gallagher/Inside Texas

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TWO BITS: Cooper on the NFL, Bruce on Meyer

1 » Though he has already signed a professional contract with the Texas Rangers after being selected in the 25th round of the 2009 MLB Draft, Florida Gators senior wide receiver Riley Cooper has his sights set on the NFL and plans to do whatever he can to land a spot on a team. “I’m going to the NFL combine and the Senior Bowl,” Cooper said during his Sugar Bowl interview on Monday. “Hopefully [I’ll] run a good 40 [yard dash], hopefully run a 4.3 or 4.4, not that 4.52 [that scouts] are talking about. Hopefully my draft stock goes up a lot.” As to whether or not baseball is still a consideration, Cooper said, “I do think I’m definitely going to have a decision to make.”

2 » Earle Bruce, the man who gave Urban Meyer his first coaching job as a graduate assistant with the Ohio State Buckeyes in 1987 and continues to be his friend and mentor to this day, spoke with Sporting News Today to provide some perspective on recent happenings involving the Florida head coach. “I was with Urban the Friday night before the Alabama game for the SEC Championship, and I could see there was something wrong,” Bruce said. “He looked withdrawn and a little bit under-weight. He looked like he wasn’t enjoying anything. I didn’t see the same passion he’s had for coaching. And then, watching the game, I don’t think he was all together with it. He’s usually a dominant factor on the sidelines, and he wasn’t in the game. He was subdued, and that’s not his way.” Bruce dives deeper into Meyer’s situation and how he can correct it and return to being “the finest football mind I know.”

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TWO BITS: Basketball still alive, Hicks to Gators?

1 » Discussing Southeastern Conference basketball in his latest column, ESPN’s Andy Katz paints the picture that the Florida Gators have a legitimate chance to overcome their recent woes. Calling the Gators the most surprising team in the SEC thus far, Katz says: “Even though Florida has struggled in its past three games (losing to South Alabama at home is rather inexcusable), the Gators are still a surprise overall in the conference. Beating Florida State wasn’t a total shock since the game was at home, but it’s still a quality win. And taking out then-No. 2 Michigan State in New Jersey was a stunner at the time. The Gators have proven that they can knock off big-time teams, and they’ll need to do that going forward in the SEC if they are to avoid a third straight NIT appearance.” Even so, Katz projects Florida as one of “at least five squads [from the SEC] in the Big Dance.”

2 » Though he is still trying to decide between the Gators, Texas Longhorns and Ohio State Buckeyes, four-star linebacker recruit Jordan Hicks (West Chester, OH), has decided to announce his college choice sometime in January instead of on National Signing Day, according to Bill Kurelic of ESPN. Hicks is believed to be favoring Texas at this point, but Kurelic predicts “Florida as the eventual winner in this tug of war. The Gators got the last official visit and Urban Meyer is assembling what some feel will be his best recruiting class ever. If in fact he can land Hicks, he will have the No. 2 prospect in the ESPNU 150 and the country’s top linebacker.”

Extra Bit » While reading a column by’s national columnist Mike Freeman about the recent issues surrounding USC Trojans running back Joe McKnight, OGGOA came across this shot at the Gators that we found particularly disturbing and ridiculously exaggerated. Qualifying the magnitude of USC’s recent off-field issues, Freeman says, “The Trojans aren’t the Florida Gators, who are soaked in DUIs and gun toters, but it’s getting pretty bad out there in Trojanland.” Thoughts?

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