Three freshmen – Ledbetter, Young, Williams – set to leave Florida Gators

Updated on Thursday at 12:45 p.m.

Redshirt freshman safety/fullback Rhaheim Ledbetter, redshirt freshman defensive/offensive lineman Quinteze Williams and freshman offensive lineman/tight end Trevon Young have all decided to leave the Florida Gators football program.

Separate reports came out about all three players on Wednesday night and Thursday morning before the school confirmed the departures Thursday afternoon.

The cousin of former Florida linebacker Brandon Spikes and a high school teammate of current Gators sophomore defensive end Jonathan Bullard, Ledbetter chose Florida over interest from Alabama, Clemson, Miami and South Carolina back in July 2011.

He redshirted as a true freshman and moved over to fullback in the spring of 2012. Though Ledbetter did well in his new role, he only saw limited action on special teams this season. He will have three years of eligibility remaining.

Young joined the Gators less than 24 hours after the conclusion of National Signing Day on Feb. 7. The hybrid offensive lineman/tight end received a late scholarship offer from head coach Will Muschamp and ultimately decided to try his hand at football rather than play basketball at Division II school Eckerd College.

At 6’6” and 260 pounds, Young did not begin playing football until his junior year of high school and often said that basketball was by far and away his preferred sport. He was considered to be a developmental prospect at tight end as his only football playing experience has been as an offensive tackle. Young will likely return to the hardwood.

A high school defensive tackle who could also play defensive end, Williams moved over to the offensive side of the ball during spring practice after taking a redshirt as a true freshman. He was suspended for the 2013 season opener due to a violation of team rules and barely saw the field otherwise. Williams initially chose Florida primarily over Georgia but also Auburn, Florida State and Tennessee.

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8/31: Florida vs. Toledo post-game report

No. 10 Florida Gators football (1-0) opened the 2013 regular season with a solid 24-6 victory over the Toledo Rockets (0-1) at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL on Saturday. Florida head coach Will Muschamp met with the media and provided some of his thoughts after the game.

ERRICT RHETT AS MR. TWO BITS

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Florida improved to 15-1 in under Muschamp against unranked opponents.
» The Gators are 80-27 all-time in season openers (65-6 in Gainesville) and have won 24-straight games to begin a season, the longest streak in the SEC and second-longest streak in the nation (Nebraska, 28).
» Florida has won eight-straight games in The Swamp and has not lost at home since Nov. 26, 2011.
» UF improved to 13-0 under Muschamp when rushing for more than 150 yards, 15-3 when holding opponents to fewer than 21 points, 11-2 when an opponent rushes for fewer than 100 yards, 13-3 when scoring first and 15-1 when leading at the half.
» The Gators scored on their first offensive drive in a season debut for the first time since 2009 (Charleston Southern).
» Florida outgained Toledo 415 yards to 205 yards and dominated the time of possession 39:48 to 20:12.

» Redshirt junior Sam linebacker Ronald Powell played a college football game for the first time in 20 months. He registered a sack on the first series of the game.
» Redshirt junior running back Mack Brown registered a number of firsts and career marks on Saturday. In his first start, Brown carried the ball a career-high 25 times for a career-most 112 yards. He had a career-long 23-yard run and scored twice, including the first touchdown of his career.
» Rushers sophomore Mark Herndon and freshman Kelvin Taylor each averaged over 8.0 yards per carry. Herndon toted the rock four times for 32 yards, while Taylor entered the game late in the fourth quarter and took five carries for 43 yards.
» Redshirt sophomore RB Valdez Showers, a safety who ran the ball in high school, recorded his first rush and reception, finishing with six touches and 53 total yards.
» Junior quarterback Jeff Driskel went 17-for-22, the most efficient game of his career at a 77.3 percent completion rate. That percentage is the highest for a Gators signal caller since Jan. 1, 2010.
» Freshman cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III recorded his first career interception.
» Redshirt junior Gideon Ajagbe, a converted linebacker, earned his first career start at fullback and scored his first career touchdown, picking up 16 yards on two receptions.
» Freshman wide receiver Ahmad Fulwood registered his first reception (five yards).
» Redshirt freshman kicker Austin Hardin started his first game and went 1-for-2 on field goals, missing a 39-yard attempt wide left.
» Eight total Florida players earned their first career start while 15 freshman played their first career game.

Read the rest of what Muschamp had to say after the game…

Continue Reading » 8/31: Florida vs. Toledo post-game report

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Muschamp blasts Florida media for inaccurately reporting opening game suspensions

Shortly after providing an opening statement following the No. 10 Florida Gators‘ 24-6 defeat of the Toledo Rockets at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL, head coach Will Muschamp admonished some members of the team’s media corps for inaccurately reporting one particular player as being suspended for the season opener.

On Friday night, multiple reports surfaced that five additional Gators would be suspended for Saturday’s game for violations of team rules. Among those five names reported was freshman defensive tackle Jay-nard Bostwick, who actually dressed for the game and would have played had Florida needed him during the contest.

GatorCountry.com first reported that five players were suspended and was also the first to mention Bostwick’s name. Subsequently, The Gainesville Sun and Palm Beach Post both reported the five suspensions, citing their own sources close to the program.

The other four players – junior cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy, senior DT Darious Cummings sophomore wide receiver Latroy Pittman and redshirt freshman offensive lineman Quinteze Williams – were all confirmed as suspended by the school Saturday morning. Pittman will miss two additional games.

Read the full text of Muschamp’s post-game rant…after the break!
Continue Reading » Muschamp blasts Florida media for inaccurately reporting opening game suspensions

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Four more Florida Gators – Purifoy, Cummings, Pittman, Williams – suspended for opener

Updated on Aug. 31 at 10 a.m.

Sophomore linebacker Antonio Morrison will not be the only Florida Gators player suspended for the season opener against the Toledo Rockets as the school officially announced on Saturday morning that four more players – including junior cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy, senior defensive tackle Darious Cummings, sophomore wide receiver Latroy Pittman and redshirt freshman offensive lineman Quinteze Williams – will also be held out of action for violations of team rules.

Reports of these suspensions began leaking Friday evening, when OnlyGators.com reached out to Florida for comment, but the Gators did not officially confirm the suspensions until sending a tweet Saturday morning.

Asked Wednesday during the weekly Southeastern Conference football coaches teleconference if any other players besides Morrison would miss the game due to disciplinary reasons, Muschamp answered, “No, not at this time.”

Based on the depth chart released by Florida on Monday, Purifoy is the only one of the five that would have otherwise started against the Rockets. Senior CB Jaylen Watkins, one of three first-string cornerbacks, will start in his place.

Cummings is second on the depth chart behind senior Dominique Easley, while Pittman is listed as a second-stringer at the F position behind junior Trey Burton.

Williams is not on the two-deep depth chart.

The Gators lost 13 starters from the 2012 season and will be without six total would-be starters for the 2013 season opener including Morrison (suspension), Purifoy (suspension), sophomore running back Matt Jones (illness), redshirt senior right guard Jon Halapio (torn pectoral), redshirt senior WR Andre Debose (torn ACL) and redshirt junior right tackle Chaz Green (labrum).

Jones and the five suspended players will likely be eligible to return on Sept. 7 on the road at Miami, while Halapio is set to play his first game on Sept. 21 at home against Tennessee. Debose and Green are out for the season with their respective injuries.

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8/16: Muschamp discusses injuries, standouts and Florida’s roster; decision day ahead for Gators

Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp met with the media following the team’s first open practice of fall camp ahead of the 2013 season.

INJURIES CONTINUE TO MOUNT

Sophomore running back Matt Jones “continues to improve” from a serious viral infection that put him in the hospital, according to Muschamp, who could not pinpoint when the presumed starter will be able to return to the team. “He’s exercising, getting back into it but not ready to get out in the heat in full gear yet,” Muschamp added. “I’ll certainly update when I know. I’m anticipating that news, hopefully sooner than later.” Jones has yet to practice this fall.

Redshirt senior right guard Jon Halapio (torn pectoral) was hoping to be cleared for practice last Friday and was only supposed to miss 7-10 days as of Monday but instead got dealt another week on the sidelines by team physicians. Apparently, he will not be cleared this Friday either and Muschamp now hopes he is ready to go in time for the first game of the season on Aug. 31. “I think [he] has an appointment next Friday,” he said. “I hope to get him cleared for game week. That’s kind of the prognosis we’ve gotten so far, and I want that to happen.”

Senior defensive tackle Damien Jacobs (knee) is not expected to be cleared until game week either, according to Muschamp.

Senior defensive back Jaylen Watkins (sprained foot) remains day-to-day following an initial prognosis that he would be out one week and could be back on Monday.

Junior fullback Hunter Joyer (hamstring), expected to miss 7-10 days on Monday, will miss “another 5-7 days.”

There are also three new injuries to report, which has been standard operating procedure for Florida throughout the fall. Redshirt freshman defensive lineman Alex McCalister and freshman offensive lineman Octavius Jackson are each day-to-day with shoulder injuries, redshirt freshman OL Quinteze Williams is day-to-day with an illness, and freshman DB Vernon Hargreaves III will miss at least 5-7 days with a shoulder injury of his own. “He’ll be fine,” Muschamp said of Hargreaves.

IT’S “D-DAY” FOR THE GATORS

Muschamp is ready to whittle down the Gators’ roster and figure out who is going to be seeing the field for Florida this season, and he plans on starting that process following the team’s Friday scrimmage.

“I told the team the last two days, this is going to be moving day for a lot of guys. We’ve got to start narrowing reps,” he said. “We can’t continue to rep everybody. So as far as the guys preparing as we move forward in the season, this will be a D-Day, so to speak, for a lot of guys.”

Continue Reading » 8/16: Muschamp discusses injuries, standouts and Florida’s roster; decision day ahead for Gators

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2013 Florida Gators Orange & Blue Debut Preview

Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 88,548]
Time: 1:00 p.m. (EDT)

TV: Sun Sports (Larry Vettel, Nat Moore, Brady Ackerman)
SiriusXM: None | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: FOXSportsFlorida.com (nationally) | Mobile Video: None
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

Reference: Roster | Schedule

EVENT INFORMATION

Schedule:
9:00 a.m. – Gator Locker Room Yard Sale (outside Gate 9)
10:00 a.m. – Verizon Fan Fest in North End Zone Lawn
10:30 a.m. – Gator Walk
11:30 a.m. – Gates Open to Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
11:30 a.m. – Warm-ups begin on the field
12:30 p.m. – Alumni Flag Football Game
1:00 p.m. – Orange & Blue Debut

Parking: Stephen C. O’Connell Center parking garage (first-come, first serve), Gale Lemerand Drive commuter lot (with shuttle)

Tickets: Free for alumni, students and the general public.

EVENT FORMAT

Instead of a full scrimmage, Saturday’s event will be an open practice that also includes limited scrimmage snaps. Florida will mix in approximately 40 scrimmage snaps with football drills. The format adjustment was made because the Gators currently only have six healthy offensive linemen and head coach Will Muschamp feels that it would be right to ask them to participate in 60-100 snaps over the course of a single afternoon. “It’s not fair to go into a spring game situation and ask these guys to take 60-70 snaps in a row,” he explained. “That’s not healthy. That’s not good, it’s not good for our team.”

Muschamp also detailed what will occur during the practice/scrimmage (in order): (1) Field goal/point after touchdown drills, (2) punting and individual drills, (3) one-on-one work with the secondary and receivers going head-to-head while the quarterbacks throw the ball, (4) one-on-one work with block reaction for the offensive line, (5) linebackers and running backs picking up blitz protection and coverage responsibilities, (6) two series of scrimmage with the ball on the 35-yard line, a total of 8-12 plays, (7) red zone one-on-one, (8) offensive and defensive line two-on-ones, (9) two series of scrimmage with the ball at the 35 yard line, a total of 8-12 plays, (10) two full cover punts and a punt/punt block drill, (11), two series of scrimmage from midfield, (12) two full cover kickoffs and a kickoff/kickoff return drill, (13) two series of scrimmage from midfield, (14) red zone 7-on-7s with the ball at the 18-yard line, (15) additional drills including pass rushing, (16) backed up punt drill, (17) one-minute scrimmage drill.

“It’s about getting good-on-good work. It’s about getting your best players going against your best players. … You get better when you’re going good-on-good,” Muschamp said. “This is good work. It’s good special teams work. This is a normal scrimmage-type situation for us as far as our football team is concerned. It’s good-on-good and that’s all I’m concerned with.”

MORE: Injury report, offensive and defensive notes, list of commitments and recruits in attendance…all available after the break!
Continue Reading » 2013 Florida Gators Orange & Blue Debut Preview

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Banged up offensive line limiting Gators in spring

In each of the last two offseasons, the Florida Gators battled through deficiencies on the offensive line during spring practice. In 2011 and 2012, low scholarship numbers limited what Florida was able to do on the practice fields. The Gators remain handcuffed in 2013 but for now for a different reason – a rash of injuries that has prevented head coach Will Muschamp from running practice the way he wants day in and day out.

“What really hurt us is on the offensive line. Right now we got six healthy guys,” Muschamp said Tuesday after announcing that redshirt sophomore Trip Thurman (shoulder) will likely be out an extended period of time.

“Our numbers are good as far as scholarships – we got 11 guys on scholarship right now for spring which is about normal of what you want with the incoming guys coming in to get your numbers to 15-17 in that range – but we’ve been hit.”

Thurman (assuming he is out for the rest of spring) joins redshirt junior Chaz Green (ankle) and redshirt junior Ian Silberman (shoulder) as players sidelined until at least the summer. Additionally, redshirt senior right guard Jon Halapio (knee) is extremely limited and redshirt freshman Jessamen Dunker remains suspended indefinitely at the very least until his legal cases are settled.

That leaves six scholarship offensive lineman for Muschamp, offensive coordinator Brent Pease and offensive line coach Tim Davis to work with: sophomore left tackle D.J. Humphries, redshirt junior left guard Max Garcia (also dealing with a back issue), redshirt sophomore right tackle Tyler Moore, redshirt senior center Jonotthan Harrison, redshirt senior Kyle Koehne and redshirt freshman Quinteze Williams, who is playing offensive line for the first time after shifting over from the defensive line.

In other words, not much at all.

Continue Reading » Banged up offensive line limiting Gators in spring

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3/19: Three Gators injured, others progressing

Now a week into 2013 spring football practice, Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp met with the media on Tuesday to discuss some of the latest developments surrounding the team and provide updates on specific players.

INJURY UPDATES

Freshman linebacker Alex Anzalone, who got knocked out of spring practice on Saturday after colliding with sophomore tight end Kent Taylor, had surgery on his shoulder Sunday and will be out for the remainder of the spring. Muschamp said on Tuesday that Anzalone should return for fall practice after a four-month recovery.

“It was his labrum, right shoulder, I believe. It’s a freak deal. It was in a tackling drill and he got hit on it the wrong way. I’m disappointed for him, but he’s going to be a really good player, so we’re going to be fine,” he explained.

Muschamp also announced that sophomore defensive end Jonathan Bullard and redshirt junior cornerback Cody Riggs tweaked their hamstrings. Bullard is expected to return Monday while Riggs is technically listed “day-to-day.”

Additionally, redshirt senior right guard Jon Halapio, who will be limited throughout spring practice while recovering from a knee injury, was able to get on the Sunday but only for individual work. He is not yet ready for 11-on-11 drills but “looked good.”

THREE-WAY PLAYER, YES, BUT DEFENSE COMES FIRST

Though junior cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy has been spending spring practice playing offense and special teams exclusively up to this point in time, Muschamp made it clear on Tuesday that he expects him to primarily be a presence on the defensive side of the ball but hopes his work on offense allows the Gators to be more multiple in the ways that offensive coordinator Brent Pease uses him during the season.

Continue Reading » 3/19: Three Gators injured, others progressing

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