13 Gator Bites for Tuesday, August 13

From time to time, OGGOA will come across a plethora of news and notes that we wish to share – too much to fit into one of our truncated BITS segments. When stories like these fall through the cracks, we catch and wrap them all up with Gator Bites.

» Over the last few days, some new NCAA-related products have been announced including scented candles from Yankee Candle and JELL-O with a jigglers mold kit. Both companies are offering versions featuring the Florida Gators, as you can see below. Pictures via Darren Rovell (ESPN) and Andrew Giangola (IMG)

» A new company has been started specifically to sell “collegiate fragrances.”

» The only Gators basketball player on ESPN insider Chad Ford’s first Big Board ($) for the 2014 NBA Draft is not even currently enrolled at Florida. Five-star forward Chris Walker (Bonifay, FL), who is hoping to be cleared by the NCAA in time for the spring semester, is descried as an “upside player” who is “blessed with elite athletic abilities and length.” Ford believes Walker will need to make the transition from the four to the three and play small forward in the professional ranks.

» Florida mic’d up new defensive line coach Brad Lawing during a practice last week. Scott Carter of UF’s website also wrote an interesting feature (Q&A included) on Lawing and how he is bringing “old-school ways to new adventure.”

Check out NINE more bites of Florida Gators news…after the break!
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Gators in 2013 NFL training camps: July 21-27

The 2013 NFL season is just one week away from beginning with preseason action kicking off on Sunday, Aug. 4.

More than three dozen former Florida Gators are currently working out with their respective teams and trying to either keep or earn roster spots for the upcoming year.

Below are select updates on some of these Gators for the first full week of training camp from July 21-27.

QB TIM TEBOW, New England Patriots: His first full practice with his new team generated its fair share of excitement with some fans in attendance occasionally chanting his name. Though he is listed as the third-string quarterback – and therefore worked behind center in 11-on-11 drills during practice – Tebow also participated in drills where he caught the ball and attempted to break a tackle. In other words, New England may have more planned for him than head coach Bill Belichick wanted to admit initially. “I just do what I’m told and work as hard as I possibly can to do the best job I can with whatever I’m asked to do,” he said.

Comcast SportsNet‘s Patriots beat writer Tom E. Curran described Tebow’s practice as, in one word, “horrendous.”

After practice, Tebow was swarmed by the media and questioned about former Florida teammate Aaron Hernandez. “It’s just heartbreaking and sad, and all my thoughts and prayers go out to all the families that were involved,” he said. “I understand why you [the media] have to ask all the questions; that’s part of doing your job. Part of mine is listening to instruction, and we’ve been told not to talk about it.”

Tebow was happy to defend former Gators head coach Urban Meyer, however. “I feel like Coach Meyer is a great man, one of the best I’ve had the privilege of being around,” he said. “He is someone that not only tries to win football games, he’s someone that tries to invest in young men’s lives and help young men grow. He cares very deeply about that. That’s one of the reasons I’m so close to him and why I’m proud of him.”

Read updates on more than a dozen other former Gators…after the break!

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SIX NFL BITS: Tebow, Reed, Thompson, Andrews

1 » As part of a story on former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow in the June issue of ESPN The Magazine, author David Fleming notes that members of the player’s “camp [are] privately admitting that his NFL run is probably over.” Shortly after the story was released online, members of Tebow’s “camp” began the damage control. “It’s not true,” a source told NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport. Added his father Bob Tebow: “You are old enough to not believe all your hear.” Someone else in Tebow’s stable told USA Today’s Mike Garafolo, in the writer’s words, that “Tebow isn’t ready to give up, retire or look to head to the Canadian Football League or Arena Football League.” While these reports provide a different angle than Fleming portrayed, none actually refute what the source in Tebow’s camp told Fleming. Tebow may have every intention of continuing his NFL career but that does not mean those in his camp are forced to vehemently believe that he will actually wind up receiving another opportunity from a team.

2 » New Washington Redskins tight end Jordan Reed has not yet participated in a team practice, despite being under contract, and is unlikely to do so before training camp convenes in three weeks. Reed is still recovering from a left leg injury and feels the appendage is not strong enough yet to go full-speed on at this time. “[The trainer] has been helping me out a lot. I’m getting stronger, getting my muscle back. That’s all I really need to do: get my muscle back and I’ll be all set,” he told Comcast SportsNet. Reed explained that a thigh contusion he suffered at Florida led to a bone bruise in his knee, which is why he is currently missing practice time.”

Check out four more Florida Gators news BITS…after the break!
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12 Gator Bites for Friday, May 31

From time to time, OGGOA will come across a plethora of news and notes that we wish to share – too much to fit into one of our truncated BITS segments. When stories like these fall through the cracks, we catch and wrap them all up with Gator Bites.

» Despite signing a National Letter of Intent in February and expecting to be a member of the Class of 2013, three-star defensive tackle Jarran Reed (Scooba, MS) will not be joining the Florida Gators this season. Reed was hoping to obtain his associate degree from East Mississippi Community College in one year but fell about 25 credits short. Instead, he will continue playing for EMCC in 2013 with hopes of completing his coursework and departing before the spring semester starts…though he may no longer be heading to Florida. According to The Gainesville Sun, Reed has decided to reopen his recruitment but does have the Gators at the top. “Florida is my favorite school,” he said. “But at the same time, I don’t want to close any doors just in case something crazy happens. I’d like to go on [official] visits. Who doesn’t want to take free trips?”

» South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier was honored Thursday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium with the state of Florida’s Great Floridian Award, presented to him by Governor Rick Scott. Also in attendance were Gators head coach Will Muschamp and athletic director Jeremy Foley. Former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow received the honor just one month ago. Check out the local news report by GTN’s Julie Quittner.

» Former Gators cheerleader Caroline Davidson, who concluded her run with the spirit program in 2010, had successful brain surgery to completely remove a tumor on Thursday. Her mother, Kimberly Davidson, posted on Facebook that Caroline was in ICU recovering after the surgery but all signs were positive.

Check out nine more interesting bites of Florida Gators news…after the break!
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Redskins ink Jordan Reed for four years

Former Florida Gators tight end Jordan Reed agreed to a four-year contract with the Washington Redskins on Friday, officially becoming the third player out of Florida on Washington’s roster for the 2013 season.

The No. 85 overall pick in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft, Reed signed for $2.71 million with a $549,112 fully guaranteed signing bonus and will average $677,278 per season before becoming an free agent in 2017.

Reed is the fifth of the Gators’ eight draftees to come to terms with the team that selected him in April’s draft. Only first-round defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (Minnesota), first-round safety Matt Elam (Baltimore) and sixth-round S Josh Evans (Jacksonville) remain unsigned as of press time.

Reed initially committed to Florida as a quarterback and did not settle into his new role as a tight end until his redshirt sophomore season when he registered 307 yards on 28 receptions with two touchdowns. He became a more reliable pass catcher for the Gators as a redshirt junior, leading the team in receptions (45) and receiving yards (559) last season but finding his way into the end zone on just three occasions.

The Redskins are intrigued by Reed’s athleticism and believe he can be an H-back who is split out wide more often than not as a target for quarterback Robert Griffin III.

“When he has the ball in his hands, he can do things with the ball that are very athletic, something a lot of tight ends can’t do,” head coach Mike Shanahan said “We weren’t necessarily looking for a tight end, but when he was there, we couldn’t pass him up.”

Reed will join QB Rex Grossman and guard Maurice Hurt on Washington’s roster.

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17 Gator Bites for Tuesday, May 7

From time to time, OGGOA will come across a plethora of news and notes that we wish to share – too much to fit into one of our truncated BITS segments. When stories like these fall through the cracks, we catch and wrap them all up with Gator Bites.

» The relationship between Dwyer High School head coach Jack Daniels and the Florida Gators has soured. According to ESPN 106.3 out of West Palm Beach, FL, Daniels is angry that two former Dwyer players who committed to Florida but have since left the program (quarterback Jacoby Brissett and tight end Gerald Christian) did not get the opportunities they were promised with the team. “I’ve said all along, I don’t think he’s been given the fair shot which was said was going to happen,” Daniels said in regards to Brissett. “It was made clear to him, and to everybody else, that it didn’t matter what Jeff Driskel did, it was [Driskel’s] job and going into next fall, it’s going to be the same way. I think he had no choice. If I was quarterback on that team last year, I might have been able to get some wins, the way their defense was playing.” He continued: “The way Jacoby was handled and the decision that was made…if it was my kid, I wouldn’t expect anybody to treat my kid like that, and I don’t think anybody should treat anybody like that. I think it was a complete lie about how he was going to be given a fair chance and I don’t think there’s anything to dispute that there wasn’t a lie.”

Despite all of this – including similar comments about how Christian “was frustrated and felt like the coaches were lying to him” – Daniels (a Florida alumnus) said he will not dissuade his students from playing for the Gators. “I can’t hold a grudge forever and I still talk to Coach [Will] Muschamp,” he said. “I would never steer a kid away.”

» Former Florida wide receiver Stephen Alli was selected with the second pick in the sixth round of the 2013 CFL Draft by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers over the weekend. Alli, who would have been chosen higher had he committed to playing in the CFL next season, will instead attend graduate school and continue his education at UF.

» He may currently be a free agent hoping for the opportunity to continue his NFL career, but former Gators quarterback Tim Tebow received a shred of good news this week when Forbes named him the most influential athlete in the United States. “A unique set of QB strengths and weaknesses and an affinity for wearing his Christian faith on his sleeve combine to make Tebow a compelling public figure, even as an NFL backup,” staff member Tom Van Riper wrote.

Check out 14 more interesting bites of Florida Gators news…after the break!
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Six Gators sign 2013 undrafted free agent deals

Former Florida Gators linebacker Lerentee McCray, defensive tackle Omar Hunter, defensive end Earl Okine, offensive tackle Xavier Nixon and wide receivers Omarius Hines and Frankie Hammond, Jr. each signed undrafted free agent contracts minutes after the conclusion of the 2013 NFL Draft on Saturday.

McCray, who was expected to be selected on the third day of the draft, wound up agreeing to a deal with the Denver Broncos. Nixon’s stock dropped immensely during the draft process, but he got inked by the Washington Redskins. Hines was snatched up by the Baltimore Ravens. Neither Hunter nor Okine nor Hammond were expected to be drafted, but the three signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs, respectively.

McCray will be the second former Gators player on the Broncos as wide receiver Andre Caldwell is currently signed by the team. Nixon joins quarterback Rex Grossman, guard Maurice Hurt and tight end Jordan Reed (third round, No. 85 overall) on the Redskins. Hines will see familiar faces in safety Matt Elam (first round, No. 32 overall) and WR Deonte Thompson with the Ravens. Hunter links up with center Maurkice Pouncey and G Marcus Gilbert on the Steelers.

Offensive linemen James Wilson and Sam Robey remain unsigned as of press time.

Some of the undrafted free agent signings were first reported by InsidetheGators.com‘s Bryan Holt, Florida Today‘s David Jones and Gainesville TV20‘s Kassidy Hill.

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Redskins nab Gators TE Jordan Reed with No. 85 overall pick in third round of 2013 NFL Draft

Round 3 – No. 85 (overall)
Jordan Reed, TE
Washington Redskins


Height: 6’2″ – Weight: 236 lbs.
Age: 21 – Class: Junior (redshirt)

The Florida Gators matched their day one total with two players selected on the second evening of the 2013 NFL Draft when tight end Jordan Reed was selected by the Washington Redskins late in the third round with the No. 85 overall pick.

Reed, who initially committed to Florida as a quarterback, was not able to settle into his role as a tight end until his redshirt sophomore season when he registered 307 yards on 28 receptions with two touchdowns. He did not truly step up as a reliable pass catcher for UF until his redshirt junior season in 2012 as he led the Gators in receptions (45) and receiving yards (559) but found his way into the end zone on just three occasions.

Nevertheless, a number of NFL teams were intrigued by his athleticism and believe he can be used as an H-back, similar to how New England currently utilizes former Florida TE Aaron Hernandez. Reed’s lack of consistency and relative inability to block have been two knocks against him, which is why he went from being considered the third-best tight end available to the 5-6 range for his position.

“We took a look at Reed. He was a guy that has a great ability to make people miss. When he has the ball in his hands, he can do things with the ball that are very athletic, something a lot of tight ends can’t do,” head coach Mike Shanahan said. “We weren’t necessarily looking for a tight end, but when he was there, we couldn’t pass him up.”

“I have not had any contact whatsoever with the Redskins,” Reed said after being drafted. “I had no idea I was getting picked by Washington. It was a big surprise to me and I am just so excited.”

Reed on Friday became the first Gators tight end selected since Hernandez (No. 113, 2010) and the 12th player from the program ever picked by the Redskins. He is seen as another weapon for second-year quarterback Robert Griffin III and will join fellow Florida quarterback Rex Grossman and guard Maurice Hurt (No. 217, 2011) in Washington.

“I’m very happy for Jordan,” said head coach Will Muschamp. “He causes match up problems for defenses and is extremely athletic for his size. He hasn’t been playing tight end for very long and will continue to grow into the position.”

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