The Countdown: Florida Gators roster (99-90)

With the 2011-12 athletic season now in the books and the 2012-13 season about to begin, the focus has shifted to the return of Florida Gators football. For the second-straight year, OGGOA will take a look at every player of substance on the roster, counting down by jersey number, in this series: The Countdown.

Updated on Aug. 14 to include five freshmen.

99 – Omar Hunter (Buford, GA)
Redshirt senior defensive tackle
6’1” 314 lbs.

Quick Bio: A Parade and EA Sports All-American out of high school, Hunter is a five-star recruit who redshirted in 2008. He majors in social & behavioral sciences.

Career Stats (42 games): 71 tackles (35 solo, 7.5 for loss), sack, forced fumble, fumble recovery, pass defense, blocked field goal

2011 Season: After starting six games the season before, Hunter earned that distinction just once last year but played in all 13 contests and posted his best statistical season. His only start came in the Gator Bowl against Ohio State where he notched a season-high five tackles and the first forced fumble of his career. Hunter registered a career-high 31 tackles in 2011 and also recorded his first career sack and fumble recovery.

2012 Outlook: Though he was limited due to injury last spring, Hunter wound up putting together a solid season despite the fact that he had to compete with numerous other talented interior defensive linemen for playing time. With junior Dominique Easley recovering from injury and likely to see more time at defensive end this season, Hunter should be a starter on the inside in 4-3 sets alongside junior Sharrif Floyd. As one of five seniors on the defensive unit (and one of three five-year players on that side of the ball), he hopes to serve as a leader and veteran presence for a unit should be the Gators’ strongest in 2012.

98 – Quinteze Williams (Tyrone, GA)
Freshman defensive lineman
6’5” 276 lbs.

Quick Bio: A three-star recruit coming out of high school, Williams both defensive line positions and could be a very versatile player for Florida in the near future.

2012 Outlook: Though Muschamp said at the time of his commitment that “the sky’s the limit” for him and that he will get into the mix immediately, Williams has not been mentioned much thus far in fall camp. In all likelihood, with a number of experienced veterans and other talented freshman also competing for time, Williams will be relegated to a reserve role.

Check out seven more players in this edition of The Countdown…after the break!
Continue Reading » The Countdown: Florida Gators roster (99-90)

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New Gators footballers pick uniform numbers

Athletes care about their uniform numbers and now that Florida Gators football team is days away from returning to the practice field in preparation for the 2012 season, it was time for the team’s newest members to choose theirs. Below is the full list of additions and changes, according to the University of Florida‘s latest roster:

TRANSFERS
» No. 4 – Damien Jacobs (Scooba, MS), JUCO transfer defensive tackle
» No. 76 – Max Garcia (Norcross, GA), redshirt* junior transfer offensive lineman

FRESHMEN
» No. 6 – Dante Fowler, Jr. (St. Petersburg, FL), five-star Buck linebacker
» No. 12 – Antonio Morrison (Bolingbrook, IL), four-star linebacker
» No. 13 – Latroy Pittman (Citra, FL), four-star wide receiver
» No. 16 – Austin Hardin (Atlanta, GA), three-star kicker
» No. 17 – Skyler Mornhinweg (Philadelphia, PA), three-star quarterback
» No. 18 – Kent Taylor (Land O’Lakes, FL), four-star tight end
» No. 20 – Marcus Maye (Melbourne, FL), four-star safety
» No. 24 – Brian Poole (Bradenton, FL), four-star defensive back
» No. 24 – Matt Jones (Seffner, FL), four-star running back
» No. 27 – Willie Bailey (Hallandale, FL), three-star defensive back
» No. 28 – Jeremi Powell (Largo, FL), four-star linebacker
» No. 29 – Rhaheim Ledbetter (Shelby, NC), three-star safety
» No. 70 – D.J. Humphries (Charlotte, NC), five-star offensive tackle
» No. 74 – Jessamen Dunker (Boynton Beach, FL), four-star offensive lineman
» No. 84 – Colin Thompson (Warminster, PA), four-star tight end
» No. 86 – Raphael Andrades (Tallahassee, FL), three-star wide receiver
» No. 90 – Jonathan Bullard (Shelby, NC), five-star defensive end
» No. 94 – Bryan Cox, Jr. (Fort Lauderdale, FL), three-star defensive lineman
» No. 95 – Alex McCalister (Clemmons, NC), three-star linebacker
» No. 96 – Jafar Mann (Stone Mountain, GA), three-star defensive lineman
» No. 98 – Quinteze Williams (Tyrone, GA), three-star defensive lineman

NUMBER CHANGES
» No. 1 – Jon Bostic, senior linebacker (formerly No. 52)
» No. 1 – Quinton Dunbar, redshirt sophomore wide receiver (formerly No. 84)
» No. 6 – Jeff Driskel, sophomore quarterback (formerly No. 16)
» No. 9 – Josh Evans, senior safety (formerly No. 24)
» No. 10 – Valdez Showers, redshirt freshman defensive back (formerly No. 20)
» No. 12 – Jacoby Brissett, sophomore quarterback (formerly No. 17)
» No. 20 – Omarius Hines, redshirt senior tight end (formerly No. 82)
» No. 32 – Chris Johnson, sophomore running back (formerly No. 33)
» No. 88 – Clay Burton, sophomore tight end (formerly No. 86)

» Sophomore Tevin Westbrook remains listed as No. 97 on the latest roster despite moving from defensive end to tight end.

* Garcia is ineligible for the 2012-13 season due to NCAA transfer rules; he can practice with Florida and will be allowed to play beginning in 2013-14.

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Florida Gators TE A.C. Leonard will transfer

Florida Gators sophomore tight end A.C. Leonard has decided to transfer, head coach Will Muschamp announced during a press conference Wednesday morning.

“Obviously he made a mistake there in the winter. He has decided to transfer. He and I talked yesterday,” Muschamp said. “He had a set of criteria that he needed to work his way back on our football team. He and I both sat down and decided it would be better off for him to transfer. I don’t know where he’s wanting to go. I’m going to talk to him further about it. It was a mutual decision. Just sometimes it doesn’t work, and it wasn’t working in this situation, so he needs to move on.”

Leonard, a prized four-star commitment out of Jacksonville, FL in 2011 and one of the standout members Muschamp’s first recruiting class at Florida, only caught eight passes for 99 yards last season but showed flashes of immense talent and was expected to be a playmaker for the Gators in 2012.

But that is certainly not to say his time at Florida has always been positive.

After initially verbally committing to the Gators on Nov. 29, 2009, Leonard decommitted on Oct. 13, 2010 and claimed that Florida no longer remained in contention for his services. He recommitted five days later on Oct. 18 and promised to enroll early, renewing his pledge and claiming that outside influences were pulling him in different directions and giving him bad advice about his future.

The next day Leonard was suspended for the remainder of his senior season by the Florida High School Athletic Association after, according to reports, he was involved in numerous altercations including taking a swing at an opponent during a game.

Following a solid spring with the Gators including an impressive performance at the 2011 Orange & Blue Debut, Leonard tore his meniscus during spring practice and missed the first eight games of the season. He spoke about transferring and being home sick both during the summer and immediately after getting injured but remained with the program as he went through rehabilitation. His three-catch, 65-yard performance against Florida State on Nov. 26 was one of Florida’s few highlights that game.

That positive memory did not last in the coaches’ or fans’ minds long as Leonard was arrested on charges of first-degree misdemeanor domestic battery just two months later on Feb. 15. He was indefinitely suspended from team activities by Muschamp but returned to spring practice following a six-week absence on March 26.

Leonard pled no contest and received probation on April 4 but was not cleared by Muschamp to participate in the 2012 Orange & Blue Debut. He was also set to be suspended for an unspecified number of games to begin his sophomore campaign regardless of the strides he made in the offseason.

During his annual Gator Gathering tour, Muschamp explained that Leonard had been doing everything asked of him since his arrest in order to earn his way back on the team. He reiterated this stance at the 2012 SEC Spring Meetings on May 30.

“He’s got some things he continues to do. He’s done everything I’ve asked him to do up to this point,” Muschamp said. “He’s got to continue to make good choices and decisions with regard to our football team. If he continues to do that, we’ll handle it.”

Instead Leonard becomes the 13th player to transfer off the Gators football team since Muschamp was hired to take over the program in Dec. 2010.

Florida will rely on redshirt senior Jordan Reed, freshmen Kent Taylor and Colin Thompson and a contingent of other players including sophomores Clay Burton and Tevin Westbrook at the position.

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SIX BITS: Westbrook, Alli, Brantley, lax, Dunlap

1 » At a Gator Gathering in Orlando, FL on Tuesday, Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp announced that sophomore Tevin Westbrook (6’5” 268 lbs.) will switch from defensive end to tight end over the summer. Westbrook, who appeared in three games as a true freshman but did not see much action in those contests, was one of the last players to commit to Florida in 2011 and did so knowing that he would not play much right away as the team had plans to develop his talents. There were rumors that Westbrook was considering transferring following the spring but he has apparently decided to take on this new challenge. He committed to UF over offers from Connecticut, North Carolina, Purdue and South Florida.

2 » Muschamp also touched on a number of other topics during the event. He noted that redshirt junior wide receiver Stephen Alli will miss approximately three months of action after having successful surgery on a stress fracture in his leg, depleting the team’s pass catchers even further, and added that linebacker Graham Stewart, who the school announced last week decided to transfer, will move on to UConn.

3 » Four-star defensive tackle Caleb Brantley, a pledge to the Gators since Jan. 28, wrote Monday on Facebook that he is now a soft commitment to Florida. UF’s third-highest rated recruit according to Rivals at No. 82 overall and best overall recruit according to ESPNU (No. 18), Brantley wanted to reassure Gators fans that while his commitment status has changed he is not planning to play for any other team but Florida. “I feel like I rushed myself into a commitment, that is all,” he told InsidetheGators.com of his decision to open his recruitment slightly. “Not ever, I am not decommitting,” he added. “Florida is at number one, like way in front of the pack, but then you have Bama at two and three is USC and Florida State.” Other schools have continued to recruit Brantley, but he was quick to note that the Gators have been in constant contact with him as well. In addition to visiting other campuses, Brantley also plans to speak with Muschamp and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn to get a better feeling of what Florida’s depth chart will look like upon his arrival.

4 » Gators lacrosse received a special distinction on Tuesday, just one day after learning they will be the No. 1 overall seed in the 2012 NCAA Tournament. As the newest top 25 polls were released, Florida learned that they are the new unanimous No. 1 team in the country. UF took down previously top-ranked Northwestern for the second time this season on Saturday to win the 2012 ALC Tournament and is now both the fastest program in school history to receive a No. 1 ranking and the fastest program in collegiate women’s lacrosse history to earn that distinction. NCAA Tournament action for the Gators begins on May 12 at 1 p.m. against Albany.

5 » Cincinnati Bengals DE Carlos Dunlap is ready for his breakout. After leading Cincinnati in sacks as a rookie with 9.5 (all of which he registered in the final eight games of the season), Dunlap slowed down a bit in his sophomore campaign and only registered 4.5. Slowed by a foot injury in the preseason and a hamstring injury that nagged him over the final few games, he struggled to be completely healthy and consistently effective; Dunlap hopes to improve on both in 2012. “When you get there you expect to get the sack. It’s better to be there than not be there,” Dunlap told the Cincinnati Enquirer of being around the quarterback but not bringing him down. “When I was starting to get them then the unfortunate situation [injury] happened. Now I want to have a complete season. The hamstring is one of those things that really doesn’t go away until you give it good rest. This year I didn’t want it holding me back.”

6 » Cleveland Indians outfielder Johnny Damon, an 18-year MLB veteran and long-time Gators fan who actually committed to Florida before deciding to play professionally, recently provided financial support to the UF College of Medicine in order to aid research opportunities. The $16,000 contribution from Damon’s foundation will be used to help study “a genetic condition called glycogen storage disease type III, which prevents children and adults from properly processing sugar stored in the body,” according to UF. Researchers are currently doing work on the Faroe Islands (where one in 3,000 people have the disease compared to one in 100,000 in the United States) to learn about the disease and determine if they can find a solution that could not only help people with the disease but also “potentially change the course of care for [people with] high blood pressure and other common conditions.”

“Johnny Damon has no connection to this disease, so his willingness to help means a lot to me,” said David Weinstein, M.D., a professor of pediatrics in the UF College of Medicine and director of the UF Glycogen Storage Disease Program. “We hear often about problems in sports, but we don’t frequently hear about athletes who go out of their way to help people. We could not do this without his support.”

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11/16: Will Muschamp’s SEC teleconference

With the Florida Gators coming off a tough road loss and looking to become bowl eligible with a victory over the Furman Paladins this Saturday, head coach Will Muschamp spoke during the Southeastern Conference coaches teleconference to provide some insight about where his team is at heading into the contest.

CONSISTENCY THY NAME IS BOSTIC

All season long Muschamp has been saying that “consistency in performance” during practice is a determining factor as to who starts and gets to see the field. Providing that consistency both in practice and during games this year is junior linebacker Jon Bostic, who Muschamp noted continues to impress him with how well he’s played.

“We do a production chart by week for each game. Throughout the entire season, he’s a guy that has had a winning performance for the season as far as a production per play ratio,” he said. “[Bostic is] a guy that’s been productive, gets in and out of the right fronts, gets us lined up, does a great job communicating the calls. He’s played extremely well. He’s played very consistent week in and week out with his performance. There has not been a lot of up-and-down with him. He’s a guy that’s played a lot before so he’s had a lot of snaps, he’s got experience. He’s really blossomed in his role in what we’re trying to do defensively.”

Muschamp added that Florida’s defensive scheme has helped Bostic’s tackle numbers soar, especially considering how much better the Gators have been playing on the line in recent weeks.

“More than anything, we put a lot of emphasis on playing blocks up front and not letting people to the second level. As the year has gone on, we’ve done a nicer job of keeping him free,” he said. “We’ve kept him free in a lot of situations to be able to run and make plays. Our defense is really designed for both of those guys [Bostic and Jelani Jenkins] to make a bunch of tackles. Jon certainly benefitted from that. When he has his opportunities, he makes plays.

“He plays well in space, he plays with good toughness, he’s done a nice job disengaging on blocks. I’ve been very pleased with his consistent performance, and that’s been something we’ve struggled with as an entire football team. Consistency in our performance is week-in and week-out, and he has been a guy that has shown the consistent performance we got to have to be successful in this league.”

INJURY UPDATES AND FUTURE REDSHIRTS

Redshirt senior guard/center Dan Wenger (ankle) was ruled out for the game, while redshirt junior Sam linebacker Lerentee McCray (shoulder), redshirt freshman tackle Chaz Green (ankle) and redshirt freshman defensive tackle Leon Orr (shoulder) were all listed as questionable. Muschamp said McCray is not responding well to treatment on his shoulder, Green is having a hard time coming back off the ankle, and Orr got banged up in practice this week. With the Florida State game looming, none of the four are expected to play Saturday against Furman.

Muschamp also updated the redshirt situation, saying that offensive linemen Tommy Jordan and Trip Thurman as well as wide receiver Ja’Juan Story and safety Valdez Showers will all receive them this year. Tight end Clay Burton and defensive end Tevin Westbrook, both of whom played early in the year but were injured, are potential medical redshirt candidates after the season.

NOTES AND QUOTES

» On the inconsistency of Florida’s offense: “More than anything just being so inconsistent, that’s what’s hurt us the most. At times we’ve run the ball well – you look at the second half of the South Carolina game – we ran the ball pretty well against a very good defense. We get in the red zone and you look at the three games that we had opportunities there – Auburn, Georgia and South Carolina – we’re 1-for-7 as far as touchdowns in the red zone. That’s been a killer for us. Those games are certainly different outcomes if we cash in on those opportunities. The inconsistency in which we’re playing with has been the most frustrating. It’s not one position; it’s across the board, different things we’re not doing well enough to win those games. That’s been the most frustrating part of our season thus far.”

» On if the 5-5 record has anything to do with him being a first-year head coach: “I don’t know that there’s been anything reflected in our record based on me being a rookie head coach. I honestly don’t. [...] I don’t think our record is indicative of me being a first time head coach. I don’t think that has anything to do with it.”

» On why the wide receivers are so inconsistent: “When teams play man-to-man, you got to get open. You got to be able to be a threat vertically down the field. We have some deeper developing routes where you try to come off of a comeback or some curls inside. You got to create some separation in those situations and continue to challenge people vertically down the field which we try to do. [...] More consistent play at that position in catching the ball, finishing the plays; we’ve had some drops that have certainly hurt us in some situations. We’ve done some nice things, but we’re just not playing very consistent outside.”

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The Countdown: Florida Gators roster (79-70)

With the 2010-11 athletic season now in the books and the 2011-12 season about to begin, the focus has shifted from some of the school’s smaller sports to, of course, Florida Gators football. In this new series, OGGOA will take a look at every player of substance on the roster, counting down by jersey number, until the season begins.

Before going over numbers 79-70, OGGOA must take a step back and cover two freshman given higher numbers when the roster was released on Thursday.

97 – Tevin Westbrook (Coconut Creek, FL)
Freshman defensive end
6’5” 268 lbs.

Quick Bio: A three-star recruit coming out of high school, Westbrook was one of the last Gators to commit and signed with Florida over schools like Connecticut, North Carolina, Purdue and South Florida.

2011 Outlook: Westbrook, a raw player who hopes to develop under defensive line coach Bryant Young, is a candidate for a redshirt and likely will not see the field in 2011.

80 – Ja’Juan Story (Brooksville, FL)
Freshman wide receiver
6’3” 196 lbs.

Quick Bio: A four-star recruit coming out of high school, Story was a member of the ESPN 150 who also played quarterback. He scored 17 total touchdowns (12 rushing) as a senior and picked UF over Ohio State.

2011 Outlook: With the Gators’ lacking depth at wide receiver, Story has the opportunity to see the field early if he can shine during fall practice.

78 – David Young (Edwardsville, IL)
Redshirt junior guard
6’4” 304 lbs.

Quick Bio: A recreation and event management major, Young played the season opener as a freshman in 2008 and eventually took a redshirt. He saw the field as a part of the offensive line and special teams during every game in 2009 except the Sugar Bowl.

2010 Season: Played early in the year but missed the final 10 games of the season after suffering a knee injury.

2011 Outlook: Limited during the spring, Young was not listed on the initial depth chart but is expected to wind up on the second unit behind either redshirt sophomore right guard Jon Halapio or whomever earns the left guard job.

77 – Ian Silberman (Orange Park, FL)
Sophomore guard
6’5” 285 lbs.

Quick Bio: Silberman enrolled early in January 2010 coming out of high school as a four-star recruit. He majors in social & behavioral sciences and was the No. 8 player at his position nationally according to Rivals.

2010 Season: Though he dressed for all 13 games, Silberman only played in the season opener against Miami (OH).

2011 Outlook: He has bulked up significantly since last season and was in line to be the back up for junior Xavier Nixon at right tackle. However, head coach Will Muschamp announced in April that he had permanently switched from tackle to guard.

75 – Chaz Green (Tampa, FL)
Redshirt freshman tackle
6’5” 289 lbs.

Quick Bio: Ranked by Rivlas as the No. 6 offensive lineman in the country coming out of high school, Green is a social & behavioral sciences major who hopes to see the field for the first time in 2011.

2010 Season: Dressed for 12 of the team’s 13 games but did not play and wound up taking a redshirt to preserve four years of eligibility.

2011 Outlook: Muschamp was pleased with Green’s versatility during the spring, noting that he can play on both the left and right side of the offensive line. He was listed as the starting left tackle on the spring depth chart but is expected to be a back up this season. “Chaz Green is a great player,” sophomore defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd said in April. “Definitely going to be an outstanding tackle for the Gators.”

73 – Xavier Nixon (Fayetteville, NC)
Junior tackle
6’6” 290 lbs.

Quick Bio: A 13-game starter who has seen action in 22 contests while wearing the Orange & Blue, Nixon is a sociology major who won the high school version of the Maxwell Award and was named the Gatorade Football Player of the Year for the state of North Carolina. Both of his parents are members of the United States Military.

2010 Season: After starting a handful of games in 2009, Nixon started eight more in 2010 primarily at right tackle.

2011 Outlook: Slated to start at right tackle, Nixon will have to fend off some hungry youngsters who hope to unseat him. He struggled at times in 2010 after being a nice surprise as a freshman just one year earlier but impressed Muschamp and offensive line coach Frank Verducci during spring practice.

72 – Jonotthan Harrison (Groveland, FL)
Redshirt sophomore center
6’3” 300 lbs.

Quick Bio: A psychology major who was previously specializing in social & behavioral sciences, Harrison redshirted in 2009 after dressing nine of the team’s 14 games.

2010 Season: Though he played in all 13 games, Harrison did not get the chance to start until the Outback Bowl against Penn State. He saw plenty of time on special teams and found a role at left guard as the season came to a close.

2011 Outlook: Slotted at a left guard on the initial spring depth chart, Harrison was moved over to center in late March and worked hard to get a handle on the position throughout the rest of the spring. Muschamp said Harrison “brings an element of toughness to our football team” while also noting that he has a lot of work ahead of him. “There’s an awful lot on the center as far as snapping and blocking,” he said. “If you’ve never done it before, there’s an awful lot to it. I’ve been pleased with his progress.”

71 – Matt Patchan (Tampa, FL)
Redshirt junior tackle
6’6” 292 lbs.

Quick Bio: The son of a Miami Hurricanes star offensive lineman Matt Patchan, junior has been unable to stay healthy since arriving at Florida. A USA Today first-team All-American out of high school, the five-star recruit started a game at defensive tackle as a freshman in 2008 but injured his leg and missed the final three games of the season. He returned to the offensive side in the ball in 2009 and played the first four games before suffering a season-ending knee injury that lingered for quite some time.

2010 Season: Though Patchan dressed for four games, he wound up sitting out all of 2010 and has still only played in 15 games over three seasons. He had recovered from his knee injury but hurt his wrist and was forced to have multiple surgeries that were not able to correct it enough so he could play.

2011 Outlook: Patchan, who likely would have started at left tackle in 2010, will get the opportunity to do so in 2011. He sat out spring practice while still rehabbing his wrist but was cleared to lift in April and should be good to go this year.

THE COUNTDOWN: 99-90 | 89-80 | 79-70 | 69-60 | 59-50 | 49-40 |
39-30 | 29-20 | 19-10 | 9-1

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Gators’ 2011 freshmen pick uniform numbers

Athletes care about their uniform numbers, and now that Florida Gators football is preparing to begin practice for the 2011-12 season in just about a month, it was time for the team’s newest members to choose theirs. The freshman roster as of May 2011, according to the University of Florida‘s media guide, is as follows:

» No. 5 – Marcus Roberson (Fort Lauderdale, FL), four-star cornerback
» No. 15Louchiez Purifoy (Pensacola, FL), four-star cornerback
» No. 16 – Jeff Driskel (Oviedo, FL), five-star quarterback
» No. 17 – Jacoby Brissett (West Palm Beach, FL), four-star quarterback
» No. 20 – Valdez Showers (Madison Heights, MI), three-star cornerback
» No. 21 – Jabari Gorman (Miami, FL), four-star safety
» No. 26 – De’Ante Saunders (Deland, FL), four-star cornerback
» No. 33 – Chris Johnson (Ocala, FL), three-star safety
» No. 41 – Hunter Joyer (Wesley Chapel, FL), three-star fullback
» No. 44 – Kyle Christy (Brownsburg, IN), three-star punter
» No. 55 – Graham Stewart (Middletown, CT), four-star linebacker
» No. 63 – Trip Thurman (Dover, DE), four-star guard
» No. 65 – Tommy Jordan (Ridgefield, CT), three-star guard
» No. 80 – Ja’Juan Story (Brooksville, FL), four-star wide receiver
» No. 81 – A.C. Leonoard (Jacksonville, FL), four-star tight end
» No. 86 – Clay Burton (Venice, FL), three-star defensive end
» No. 97 – Tevin Westbrook (Coconut Creek, FL), three-star defensive end

There have also been a number of uniform number changes for current Gators:

» No. 1 – Chris Rainey, redshirt senior running back (formerly No. 3)
» No. 2 – Dominique Easley, sophomore defensive tackle (formerly No. 58)
» No. 3 – Jelani Jenkins, redshirt sophomore linebacker (formerly No. 43)
» No. 4 – Sharrif Floyd, sophomore defensive tackle (formerly No. 73)
» No. 92 – Lynden Trail, redshirt freshman defensive end (formerly No. 85)

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FOUR BITS: freshmen, Tyus, Sweeting, McDonald

1 » Orientation for freshmen student-athletes is underway as both of the Florida Gators incoming basketball commitments and the remaining 12 football signees are now in Gainesville, FL getting their college careers started. Five-star guard Brad Beal (St. Louis, MO) and three-star forward Walter Pitchford (East Lansing, MI) join four-star quarterback Jacoby Brissett (West Palm Beach, FL), four-star defensive back Jabari Gorman (Miami, FL), three-star DB Chris Johnson (Ocala, FL), three-star offensive lineman Tommy Jordan (Ridgefield, CT), three-star fullback Hunter Joyer (Wesley Chapel, FL), four-star DB Louchiez Purifoy (Pensacola, FL), four-star DB Marcus Roberson (Fort Lauderdale, FL), three-star DB Valdez Showers (Madison Heights, MI), four-star linebacker Graham Stewart (Middletown, CT), four-star wide receiver Ja’Juan Story (Brooksville, FL), four-star OL Trip Thurman (Dover, DE) and three-star defensive end Tevin Westbrook (Coconut Creek, FL) as the latest players to don the Orange and Blue hoping to make Gator Nation proud. The players will be meeting with academic advisers, taking physicals, beginning workouts, taking drug tests as they prepare to begin workouts and college life in general.

2 » With the 2011 NBA Draft approaching on Thursday, Florida forward Alex Tyus appears to understand exactly what is likely to happen over the course of the event. “Honestly, for Thursday, I’m not expecting to get drafted,” Tyus told InsideTheGators.com’s Kyle Maistri. “But anything can happen.” Having only worked out for four teams since participating in the 2011 Portsmouth Invitational (where he had a strong showing and was one of the event’s standout performers), Tyus understands that his best bet at earning a spot on a NBA bench may come as an undrafted free agent or by working on his game some more in the NBA Development League or overseas. OGGOA will have extensive coverage leading up to, during and after the NBA Draft.

3 » Down two sets in his opening round match at Wimbledon, former Gators tennis player No. 69 Ryan Sweeting came back to defeat opponent No. 50 Pablo Andujar 3-6, 4-6, 6-1, 7-6(7-1), 6-1. His reward? Taking on the ATP’s top-ranked player in the world, Rafael Nadal, Wed. at 11:30 a.m. in the second round of the event. Nadal, of course, is 2-0 all-time against Sweeting, last defeating him 6-3, 6-1 at Indian Wells earlier this year. Sweeting won his first ATP World Tour event in 2011 and is 10-9 overall this year.

4 » In a conversation with The Sacramento Bee, former Florida defensive end Ray McDonald expressed his desire to earn a starting job in the NFL. Set to become an unrestricted free agent when a new labor deal is signed, McDonald (currently of the San Francisco 49ers) could re-sign with his current team or look elsewhere. “I know I’m an every-down player, a starter,” he said. “And that’s what I’m looking to do this year. I’m not looking to back up anybody. I’m looking to start this year. […] I’ve been waiting four years for this. [Being a free agent] would make my life. That would change everything as far as me going ahead with my future in my NFL career. So that’s some good news – no, excellent news – for me.”

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