SIX BITS: awards, Speights, Tebow, Beal, Wuerffel

1 » The Florida Gators football team held its annual team banquet on Saturday. Awards were handed out for everything from on-field performance to working hard in practice and how courageous a particular player may have proven to be during the season. Below are the 2014 award winners along with some explanations and details.

Coaches’ Choice Awards
President’s Academic Award: Jeff Driskel, Mike Mcneely
* Third-straight year that McNeely won the award.
Gene Elleson Community Service Award: Max Garcia, Mark Herndon
* Second-straight year that Herndon won the award.
Iron Gator Strength and Conditioning Award: Clay Burton, Hunter Joyer, Max Garcia, Antonio Morrison
Chris Patrick Courage Award: Alex Anzalone, Gideon Ajagbe, Andre Debose, Chaz Green, Matt Jones, Antonio Morrison, Jeremi Powell
Most Valuable Offensive Scout Team Award: R.J. Raymond, Dakota Wilson |
Defensive: Ryan Parrish | Special Teams: Garrett Stephens, Roger Dixon
* Second-straight year that Parrish won the award.

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FOUR BITS: Figueroa, Fowler, Caldwell, Hill

1 » For the second time in as many days a former Florida Gators baseball has been called up to a MLB roster and will finally get his shot in the big leagues. Shortstop Cole Figueroa, who is batting .299 in 32 Southern League games with the Durham Bulls, will join the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday as a replacement for Ben Zobrist, who is headed to the disabled list with a dislocated thumb. Figueroa has played 250 games in Triple-A while waiting for his shot. Right-handed pitcher Anthony DeSclafani got the call on Tuesday to make his first appearance in the big leagues Wednesday night as a starting hurler for the Miami Marlins. DeSclafani (6.0 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, BB, 7 K) put together an impressive debut, leading Miami to a 13-3 win and even getting things done at the plate going 1/4 with two RBI and a run scored.

2 » There is no good reason to have a mock 2015 NFL Draft with three months to go until the start of the 2014 college football season – in fact, there are plenty of ways in which one could point out that a mock draft for next year is a terrible idea – but’s Todd McShay published one on Wednesday ($) and it included some high praise for a current Florida defender. Gators junior Buck linebacker Dante Fowler, Jr. was mocked by McShay as the No. 4 overall pick in next year’s draft. Unlike cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy, who was projected to make big gains during his junior season and prove to be the most NFL-ready player to come out of Florida in 2014, Fowler is unanimously considered the Gators’ best draft prospect for 2015. Hopefully for Fowler, unlike Purifoy, he makes the most out of what could be his last season.

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FOUR BITS: Meyer visits Rays, UF-UGA contract

1 » Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer visited the Tampa Bay Rays clubhouse Friday night before their game against the Chicago White Sox. Rays pitcher Wade Davis and clubhouse manager Chris Westmoreland (Florida fans) were happy to see Meyer, but others like P Lance Cormier (an Alabama alum) and outfielder B.J. Upton (a former Florida State commitment) gave him a hard time by hanging up an Alabama shirt and doing the tomahawk chomp, respectively. “It’s good to have probably the best coach ever in college history in the clubhouse,” Davis told “I haven’t met him yet, but that’s pretty cool. I know Westy’s probably having a good time.” Meyer also met up with White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski – a huge Gators fan – before the game.

2 » Florida and Georgia are in the process of renewing their contract with the city of Jacksonville, FL, to play the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party there for the next six years. A few new provisions have been placed in the deal as uncovered by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which received a copy of the work-in-progress contract via the state’s Open Records Act. The contract stipulates that the schools will be given the rights to sell the name of the game to a corporate sponsor (which is not being planned), the Bulldogs will receive up to $300,000 in additional funds covering travel expenses and the Greater Jacksonville Agricultural Fair will never be held the same weekend as the game (which caused a traffic and parking issue in 2008).

3 » A source close to the team has informed OGGOA that redshirt senior linebacker A.J. Jones has been wearing a protective boot recently after having “simple surgery” to remove a screw from his foot. He is healing nicely and will be able to participate in on-field action sooner than expected.

4 » Jerimy Finch, the No. 1 safety recruit in the nation a few years ago, has decided to leave the Indiana Hoosiers football program just two years after transferring from the Gators. A release from the team states that Finch will “pursue other interests outside the program” but does not go into further detail.

Photo Credit: Bob Andres/Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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