Four Florida Gators sign undrafted free agent deals, others receive NFL tryouts

Former Florida Gators wide receiver Quinton Dunbar, tight end Clay Burton and defensive tackles Darious Cummings and Leon Orr signed three-year, $1.575 million undrafted free agent contracts with teams following the 2015 NFL Draft.

Dunbar was signed by Washington and Burton was picked up by the Buffalo Bills, while Cummings was grabbed by the Carolina Panthers and Orr moved out to the west coast with the Oakland Raiders.

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Evaluating Florida Gators ahead of 2015 NFL Draft

Despite being incredibly busy during the week of the 2015 NFL Draft, longtime analyst Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net sat down with OnlyGators.com on Sunday afternoon for a wide-ranging look at the Florida Gators who could be selected Thursday-Saturday at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago.

Pauline evaluated most of the 22 Florida players available in the draft and even provided projections for each prospect including many who may not be selected from April 30-May 2 but rather picked up as undrafted free agents.

“The talent Florida is showcasing in this draft is a bit top-heavy but there are plenty of players who could make NFL rosters and succeed in the league, which really points to how bad the coaching and quarterback play was in Gainesville,” Pauline said of the overall crop of prospects. “I think the Gators have a solid class, and the fans that wanted the coach fired, this just adds fuel to their argument.”

Defensive end Dante Fowler Jr.
Projection: Round 1, Picks 3-6
Analysis: “He’s a top-six player, likely to Washington, maybe to the Jets, possibly to Jacksonville. He’s a great pass rusher; he’s a terrific athlete. He’s an intense, very explosive and sudden player. I like the fact that even though he is undersized, he was never overwhelmed at the point of attack. He struggled against the run at times but when you’re a shorter, smaller defensive end, that’s going to happen. I think he’ll be fine as a 3-4 outside linebacker, maybe a one-gap end, although he’s going to have to learn to protect himself better and to defend the run at the next level. I love his intensity. He’s not just a guy who is a natural-ability guy. He got by on natural ability but also never stopped coming.”

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Former Florida Gators participate in 2015 Pro Day

Twenty-two former Florida Gators are scheduled to participate in 2015 Pro Day on Tuesday morning at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.

Leading the pack are a pair of potential first-round draft picks in defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. and offensive tackle D.J. Humphries.

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Nine Florida Gators invited to 2015 NFL Combine

The official list of invitees was released by National Football Scouting on Friday, and nine former Florida Gators have officially been invited to participate in the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine (National Invitational Camp) at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

The event, which is held for six days from Feb. 17-23, consists of more than 300 players being put through a series of drills, tests and interviews while more than 600 NFL personnel in attendance (including coaching staffs, executives, player personnel and medical staffs) look on and evaluate each of them. It amounts to a major job interview for these athletes to participate in ahead of the start of the 2015 NFL Draft on April 30.

The nine former Gators student-athletes invited to the NFL Combine include:

Linebacker Neiron Ball – Group: 9 | Camp: LB03
Offensive guard Trenton Brown – Group: 1 | Camp: OL04
Punter Kyle Christy – Group: 1 | Camp: PK03
Defensive end Dante Fowler Jr.* – Group: 7 | Camp: DL20
Center Max Garcia – Group: 1 | Camp: OL20
Offensive tackle Chaz Green – Group: 2 | Camp: OL25
Offensive tackle D.J. Humphries* – Group: 2 | Camp: OL31
Running back Matt Jones^ – Group: 6 | Camp: RB25
Defensive tackle Leon Orr – Group: 8 | Camp: DL36

^ Redshirt junior | * Junior

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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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Lone survivor Mike Summers is enthusiastic about retention, new Florida Gators staff

A 34-year coaching veteran, it takes a lot to get Mike Summers excited these days. But that is exactly the emotion he said he felt when new Florida Gators head coach Jim McElwain asked him to be the lone holdover from Will Muschamp’s coaching staff.

“I’m extremely excited to be retained and be a part of Coach Mac’s staff, to move into a new era of Florida football. Certainly the opportunities, the energy, the excitement that’s around the program right now is something I can really feel. I sense it from the players. I sense it myself, my energy, there’s pep in my step as I walk around. Everyone is excited about where we are and looking forward. Certainly that involves me, and I’m very excited to be a part of this,” he said last week.

Summers was far from the longest-tenured member of Florida’s staff – in fact, he was one of three new coaches to join the program ahead of the 2014 season – but he was perhaps Muschamp’s best hire last offseason.

He pieced together an offensive line that lost three starters to graduation ahead of the season, created versatility among the players he had (including a number of injured upperclassmen) and was even forced into tough mix-and-match situations during games, tasks he seemingly took on with ease. Perhaps his most impressive work was molding fifth-year lineman Max Garcia not only into the Gators’ starting center but one who did so well playing the position for the first time in his career that he earned an invitation to the 2015 Senior Bowl.

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Florida DL Bullard to return for senior season

Florida Gators junior defensive lineman Jonathan Bullard announced Monday that he will not join four teammates who chose to forgo their final season of eligibility and declare early for the 2015 NFL Draft. Instead, Bullard will return to the Gators for his senior campaign despite the coaching staff being completely overhauled.

“I wasn’t projected to go where I want to go,” Bullard said in a statement released by the school. “I want to leave a bigger mark on the Florida program than what I have.”

Bullard promised to keep a level head when making his decision, noting that he would consult former Florida head coach Will Muschamp after receiving his evaluation back from the NFL. Muschamp has long held that he would only recommend players to declare early if they are projected to be first-round selections.

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Florida LT D.J. Humphries declares for NFL Draft

Florida Gators junior left tackle D.J. Humphries announced Sunday night that he would forgo his remaining eligibility and enter the 2015 NFL Draft.

“GATOR NATION This has been the best 3 years of my life,” he wrote on Twitter. “But now, I feel it’s time to move on! I’ll always be a gator for LIFE! #FairwellUF”

Humphries is the fourth Gators underclassmen to leave for the draft. Juniors defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. and running back Matt Jones and redshirt junior offensive linemen Tyler Moore are Florida players that have already decided to the program before their eligibility has expired.

The No. 2 overall prospect coming out of high school in 2012, Humphries was named UF’s permanent starter at left tackle in 2013 but only played the first seven games of the season as a knee injury derailed his campaign. He returned to that role in 2014 and steadily improved throughout this past season after rehabilitating from a high-ankle sprain that cost him two games.

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