FOUR BITS: Harris, NFL, Horford, Tobias

1 » The second-degree misdemeanor charge of operating a motor vehicle without a license has been dropped against Florida Gators freshman quarterback Treon Harris after the player acquired his driver’s license. “He got his license and they dismissed the case [Wednesday],” Harris’s attorney, Huntley Johnson, told The Gainesville Sun‘s Robbie Andreu. “He took the test and got it re-upped. He did what I expected him to do.” The incident drew extra scrutiny as the police report noted the officer on the scene found marijuana in the vehicle but did not charge any of the three people in the car with possession because it was not on their bodies and the vehicle was not registered to any of them. Freshmen defensive backs Jalen Tabor and J.C. Jackson were in the car with Harris at the time. New Gators head coach Jim McElwain said last month that he is looking “forward to getting into [Harris’s] life and being a big part of his life.”

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Gators QB Jeff Driskel transfers to Louisiana Tech, ends bowl game on field for Florida

Updated on Monday at 10:50 a.m.

Florida Gators redshirt junior quarterback Jeff Driskel knew at the end of the regular season, with a new coaching staff taking over, that it would be his best bet to play the final year of his collegiate career elsewhere.

But he did not announce that decision immediately, choosing instead to remain with the teammates he has played beside for the last four years as they took on East Carolina in the 2015 Birmingham Bowl.

However, minutes before the game began, new head coach Jim McElwain officially let the cat out of the bag, telling gathered media members that Driskel had asked for his release, a request the coach did not think twice about granting.

“We all have choices,” he told multiple reporters in attendance at the bowl game, “and I’m not going to hold him hostage.”

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Top 14 for 2014: Florida Gators best moments of the year

For as bad as things went for the Florida Gators at times in 2014 (see the Not Top 14 for 2014), there were more than a fair share of bright spots. From breathtaking moments and game-winning plays to winning championships and setting records, the Gators had plenty to be proud of in 2014. Check out OnlyGators.com‘s Top 14 for 2014.

14 » RARE WOMEN’S BASKETBALL UPSET

Gators women’s basketball has struggled to find relevancy but there was no question Florida had its engines running on Jan. 5 when it pulled off one of the biggest victories in program history, an 83-73 upset win over No. 6 Kentucky. The win broke a six-game losing streak for UF against UK and was head coach Amanda Butler’s first win over a top-10 ranked opponent after going 0-17 previously in such games. Florida had lost 19-straight regular-season games against top 10-ranked opponents, earning its last victory to such a team in Feb. 2006.

13 » TEBOW TIME ALL THE TIME

Former Gators quarterback Tim Tebow had a life-changing 2014 after agreeing to sign a long-term broadcasting deal with ESPN. Tebow was featured on the network’s national title broadcast that season and was later assigned to the SEC Network where he served as one of three analysts for the channel’s Saturday pre-game show, SEC Nation. Tebow has drawn rave reviews throughout 2014 for his passionate opinions and consistent on-air knowledge. He also proved to be unbiased, lambasting the leadership on Florida’s offense when the team struggled during the middle of the season. One Tebow moment – a spot-on impersonation of former Gators head coach Steve Spurrier – was OnlyGators.com’s most-watched Vine with 1.3 million loops as of press time.

Tebow also closed 2014 with a brilliant on-air prediction, which you can check out below.

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NOT Top 14 for 2014: Moments Gators can forget

At the conclusion of each year, OnlyGators.com takes a look back at the top on-field moments and off-field stories from the previous 12 months. For the second-straight year, which will go down as another difficult and controversial one for the Florida Gators, we sort through the Not Top 14 for 2014 – games, actions and stories that fans of the program will look to put in the rear view mirror as the clock strikes midnight. Don’t forget to check out the Top 14 for 2014 (COMING THURSDAY) to begin 2015 on a positive note!

14 » SEE YA NEVER

Over the final two months of 2014, the Gators football program saw three seniors decide – whether through purposeful actions or team rules violations – to end their careers early. Learning he would not be starting at Vanderbilt, redshirt senior defensive tackle Leon Orr argued with then head coach Will Muschamp and was sent home on a bus before the game; he later tried to explain his side of the story. On the final day of the year, redshirt senior wide receiver/kick returner Andre Debose (mutual decision) and senior DT Darious Cummings (violation of team rules) were ruled out for the bowl game. Debose had an up-and-down hear overall, suffering a defenestration in the spring and barely playing on offense during the season; he was excellent as Florida’s all-purpose returner, however, and ends his career tied for the SEC record in kick return touchdowns (four).

13 » CHARACTER CONCERNS

Maurkice and Mike Pouncey kept their noses clean when they were with the Gators and continue to be fan favorite from their time at Florida. However, since becoming professional football players, some character questions have been raised – stemming in large part from the brothers wearing “Free Hernandez” hats last year – and those continued in 2014. Pouncey was one of the main players named in bullying allegations levied by former Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Jonathan Martin, and both Pounceys were accused of serious assault during a night club incident in Miami. The brothers were not ultimately charged with assault from that evening’s incident but all of the allegations continued to paint UF in a bad light.

12 » UNEXPECTEDLY UNDRAFTED

It started in the 2014 NFL Draft when a pair of Gators junior cornerbacks that declared early – Loucheiz Purifoy and Marcus Robersonwere not selected. Purifoy had a drug incident in the offseason that contributed to him not being drafted – and both players dealt with character concerns – but it was nevertheless a surprise. (Purifoy and Roberson, respectively, signed undrafted free agent deals with the Indianapolis Colts and St. Louis Rams. Both saw limited action this season with Purifoy getting cut by the Colts, dropped by the Seattle Seahawks after a waiver claim [failed a physical] and ultimately suspended four games by the NFL for an undisclosed reason.)

There was even more of an expectation that center Patric Young would be picked in the 2014 NBA Draft with many believing he could go as high as the lower portion of the first round. Instead, Young fell out of the first and did not even get picked in the second as many NBA teams chose to select international players that they could stash and not sign to contracts. Young ultimately signed with the New Orleans Pelicans but was later cut by the franchise and is now playing in Turkey. Point guard Scottie Wilbekin and forward Casey Prather also went undrafted, and though Wilbekin performed well in NBA Summer League action, he did not get an opportunity in the league either.

11 » BAD OMENS

Though there was some positive momentum for the football program as the 2014 season approached, with the roster looking healthy and offensive coordinator Kurt Roper expected to turn things around for Florida, a number of bad omens cast doom over the Gators’ campaign. It started with the Orange & Blue Debut spring game, which ended in a tie. Though there was no reason to continue the game per se, fans in attendance hoped to see a little bit of extra Florida football action and left disappointed.

The ominous offseason continued with wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Joker Phillips resigning from his position in June after Miami staffers reported him for a recruiting violation. Muschamp named former Gators quarterback and team graduate assistant Chris Leak as the replacement receivers coach, giving UF four different coaches at that position in as many seasons. The last omen was even more obvious than the first two with lightning storms cancelling Florida’s season opener against Idaho. Though options were considered to play the game at a later date in the season, it was ultimately decided to take the contest off both teams’ schedules with the Gators and Vandals only playing 11 contests in 2014.

Continue Reading » NOT Top 14 for 2014: Moments Gators can forget

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CB J.C. Jackson grazed by bullet in shooting

Updated on Friday at 5 p.m.

Florida Gators freshman cornerback J.C. Jackson was grazed by a bullet during a shooting in Immokalee, Florida, on Christmas Eve, reports CBS television affiliate WINK.

In a car with West Virginia wide receiver Jacky Marcellus and his brother Jackinson Marcellus, Jackson was shot upon by “one or two men [that] walked up to the car and fired,” authorities told WINK. Jacky Marcellus was also grazed by a bullet, while Jackinson Marcellus is currently “in serious condition after being shot in the face.”

Jackson has not played for the Gators since the second week of the season as he re-aggravated a shoulder injury and had labrum surgery, sidelining him for the remainder of the campaign. He is expected to receive a medical redshirt.

On Dec. 13, he was one of three Florida football players stopped on campus in Gainesville, Florida, by the University Police Department. The UPD eventually charged the driver of the car, freshman quarterback Treon Harris, with a second-degree misdemeanor for driving without a license. Police found small bags of marijuana in the vehicle but did not charge any of the players because it was not in their possession and none of the three owned the vehicle that was driven that evening.

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Jim McElwain fired up to help QB Treon Harris mature, Gators offense improve

One of the primary tenets of Jim McElwain‘s coaching philosophy is putting his players in the position to succeed not just in the game of football but life in general. With the Florida Gators quarterback situation still very much up in the air and the player who ended the 2014 season as starter, freshman Treon Harris recently embroiled in legal trouble, McElwain said this week that he is looking forward to helping one of the team’s more promising players, mature as a player and a person.

“Part of that is growing up and yet each one of us goes through life making choices and decisions. It’s really how we approach those … choices we make,” McElwain said on Orlando, Florida’s 740 The Game on Tuesday.

“I really look forward to getting into his life and being a big part of his life, as I am all the players. We’re all in a fishbowl, and no matter what, we got to understand that everything we do has consequences. We’ve all got freedom of choice and yet we don’t have freedom of consequences. It’s like when I get that speeding ticket; I always just smile and say, ‘Give me the ticket,’ because I made the choice [to speed], right?

“Yet at the same time, we got to understand that there’s certain things that – especially at the quarterback position – we need to do to affect people in a positive way. I’m really looking forward to getting to work with those guys.”

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Gators QB Harris charged with misdemeanor

Florida Gators freshman quarterback Treon Harris received a second-degree misdemeanor charge on Tuesday for driving without a license.

The University Police Department stopped Harris in a motor vehicle on Saturday, Dec. 13 and cited him for neither possessing a license nor having one issued to him by the state.

According to The Gainesville Sun‘s Robbie Andreu, who is citing the UPD’s report, Harris was speeding on campus (10 mph over the limit) at 11:29 p.m., when an officer pulled his car over after smelling (unburnt) marijuana.

In the vehicle along with Harris were two fellow freshmen football players in defensive backs Jalen Tabor and J.C. Jackson.

Per the Orlando Sentinel‘s Edgar Thompson:

Officers smelled marijuana and found two small bags of the drug in a storage pocket of the vehicle, [UFPD public information officer Maj. Brad] Barber said. No charges were filed because none of the players was in possession of marijuana and the car did not belong to them.

“They did not determine nor did anyone admit to the possession of the marijuana itself,” Barber said.

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Durkin: Cox out for bowl, McGee hopes to stay at Florida, Gators prepare for Birmingham

Florida Gators interim head coach and defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin met with the media on Thursday to discuss the early portion pf practice ahead of the 2015 Birmingham Bowl, injuries, roster developments and the team’s preparation for the East Carolina Pirates. Florida and ECU will square off on Saturday, Jan. 3 at 12 p.m. at Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama.

UP-AND-COMER SIDELINED FOR BOWL

Redshirt sophomore defensive end Bryan Cox Jr. began to show some flashes as the 2014 season came to a close, but he will be unable to take advantage of the 20 bowl practices to take his game to the next level ahead of spring practice.

Cox, who announced on social media that he underwent surgery, has officially been ruled out for the bowl game after having a procedure on his hip.

“Bryan Cox had surgery and he will be out for the bowl game,” Durkin said. “It was a hip injury, something that was deteriorating over time that he needed to have done.”

In his second year of on-field action, Cox finished with 29 tackles (six for lost yardage) and four sacks. He will likely step into a starting role with the Gators in 2015.

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