McElwain, White, Foley make few waves as Florida Gators reps at 2015 SEC spring meetings

A tumultuous offseason for Florida Gators athletic director Jeremy Foley, one in which he had to hire new head coaches in his two top revenue-producing sports of football and basketball, did not carry over to the Southeastern Conference spring meetings this week where Foley and his new coaches were some of the least news-making people in attendance at the annual event.

Though the meetings will go on for two more days with new Florida president Kent Fuchs set to be in attendance, OnlyGators.com has decided to wrap up the first two days of the proceedings and provide a detailed look at five of the biggest topics actually discussed by the Gators’ representatives in Destin, Florida.

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FOUR BITS: arrests, McGriff, Paschall, Tip-Off

1 » Florida Gators sophomore left-handed pitchers A.J. Puk and Kirby Snead were arrested Sunday night and charged with third-degree felony criminal trespass for “climbing a crane inside a marked construction site without legal authority,” according to Alachua County Jail records obtained by the Orlando Sentinel‘s Edgar Thompson. Both players remain in jail as they are still waiting to see a judge at some point Monday. Puk and Snead have both seen action with the Gators this season, the former starting seven games and currently holding a 6-3 record with 5.87 ERA for Florida. Head coach Kevin O’Sullivan announced Monday that Puk and Snead have been suspended indefinitely, according to The Gainesville Sun.

2 » The Gators signed four-star athlete D’Anfernee McGriff on National Signing Day, as a change in coaching staff and questions about his ability to qualify at Auburn came into play. As such, it was known by the Gators coaching staff that he may also struggled to qualify at Florida or at least may have to wait a bit to get on campus. According to Luke Stampini of 247 Sports ($), McGriff expects to know his status by Monday. If he is unable to qualify at UF this summer or fall, he could choose to go to prep school and enroll in January or enroll at Eastern Arizona junior college, where he has already signed as a precaution, per his high school’s recruiting coordinator.

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Muschamp takes McElwain out of context when jabbing back about ‘insufficient’ Florida roster

Will Muschamp put his replacement in a tough spot when he left the Florida Gators – in more ways than one. Not only did Muschamp leave a roster depleted in a few key areas, he told the media and fans that he recruited so much talent that the next coach should have nothing to complain about.

“They’ve got a deep and talented roster, so don’t let that new guy tell you they don’t have any players,” Muschamp said last November. “Tell you that right now – they got some good football players in that locker room.”

New head coach Jim McElwain‘s now had a legitimate opportunity to evaluate the depth and talent on the Gators’ roster. And while he believes there are some capable players at Florida, he also noticed that there are some deficiencies.

“You’ve got to play the hand you’re dealt and right now, quite honestly, the hand we were dealt is really insufficient at some of the areas,” he said last Friday.

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NCAA schedules infractions call about decision on Florida Gators, likely Joker Phillips-related

The NCAA will hold a press call on Friday afternoon to discuss an NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions’ decision regarding the Florida Gators football program.

Though the organization would not comment on the nature of the decision other than to note that it will be released one hour prior to the call at 1 p.m., Florida sent out the following statement:

“We have not received the report yet, but we will receive it later today. However, this is a final resolution to a matter that we dealt with last June regarding one of our former assistant football coaches.”

Then-wide receivers coach Joker Phillips resigned on June 11, 2014, after just one year on the job, citing “personal reasons” factoring into his decision to step down.

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4 BITS: Shot put, Parsons, Muschamp, Caldwell

1 » Florida Gators senior thrower Stipe Zunic set a school record on Saturday, tossing the men’s shot put (indoors) a distance of 20.61 meters. The throw, which also broke the Croatian national’s home country record, puts Zunic in second place overall on the season behind Ryan Crouser of Texas and his 20.95. The indoor track and field teams only have one weekend of regular-season action remaining as they will compete in the Tyson Invitational and Iowa State Classic over the weekend. Then Florida will take on the SEC Indoor Championships to conclude the month (Feb. 27-28) before participating in the NCAA Indoor Championships March 13-14.

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FOUR BITS: Fowler, Muschamp, Gordon, Mincey

1 » Former Florida Gators defensive end Dante Fowler Jr., who decided to forego his final year of collegiate eligibility and declare for the 2015 NFL Draft, took out an advertisement in The Gainesville Sun on Friday, thanking Gators fans for his time with the program. Fowler is expected to be an early first-round selection in the draft and has been projected as high as No. 3 overall. In case you’re having trouble with the copy, it reads as follows: “Thank you Gator Nation for all the support and love the past three years. We’ve got the best fans in the land. I’ll forever bleed Orange & Blue.”


2 » New Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp – and defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson, for that matter – had shown no love for Florida on the recruiting trail to this point as the duo has not paused in going after players they were recruiting to join the Gators when they were both members of the program. But Muschamp did show his soft side for Florida on Thursday. According to 247Sports.com‘s Luke Stampini, Muschamp praised the Gators to three-star DE G.G. Robinson (Lilburn, GA) after learning Robinson was not interested in playing for the Tigers. “He talked good about Florida the whole time. He told me to have fun and said, ‘It’s nice.’ He said I’d like the weather,” Robinson said. “He also said Jim McElwain is probably about to turn the program around. I expected him to say something bad about them, but he didn’t.” Robinson is visiting UF this weekend, the last of the 2015 recruiting cycle.

Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Fowler, Muschamp, Gordon, Mincey

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Florida Gators part ways with DE Gerald Willis III

Coming off a rocky first season with the program, freshman defensive end Gerald Willis III has been dismissed by the Florida Gators, which announced Tuesday that he will transfer from the program.

Willis, who got into an embarrassing public altercation with a teammates in Oct. 6, was in Florida’s doghouse for most of the season, missing two games at the start of the 2014 campaign for undisclosed reasons.

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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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