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July 29, 2013
In order to make sure Florida Gators-related news stories don't fall through the cracks, once or twice a week Orange & Blue News will keep you up-to-date with the latest goings on in the world of University of Florida athletics.
Gators kicker Caleb Sturgis, a fifth-round draft selection, was supposed to have the inside track on the starting job with the Miami Dolphins, but a groin injury suffered last week has forced him off to the sideline and onto an exercise bike for the foreseeable future. Chances are the Dolphins will keep him on their roster as long as possible as the team wants him to unseat veteran Dan Carpenter, who struggled last season and is set to earn $2.7 million this year. Sturgis would be paid that amount over the four-year life of his contract. Considering he is just as good of a kicker as Carpenter, it makes all the sense in the world for Miami to give him every opportunity to win the job through the preseason.
A pair of former Gators catchers in the MLB swapped spots on the disabled list this week. Seattle Mariners rookie Mike Zunino found his way onto the 15-day DL and will be sidelined for at least six weeks after a foul tip fractured his hand on Thursday. An MRI performed Friday revealed a broken hamate bone. Should he return on schedule, he will play the final three weeks of the regular season. David Ross of the Boston Red Sox, out for a significant period of time due to lingering symptoms from a concussion, returned to his team on Thursday. Ross was symptom-free for three days and passed all of the necessary tests on Wednesday, clearing his way back to the team. He expects to play again this season.
Three-star defensive end Trent Harris of Winter Park, Fla. committed to Miami over Florida and Ohio State on Monday. Harris noted that his final two came down to the Hurricanes and Gators, but he decided to choose the school and coaching staff that he believed could improve him the most as a player. He had not even set a decision date until Florida accepted a commitment on Thursday from three-star DE Justus Reed of Clearwater, Fla., making it quite obvious that UF chose Reed over Harris and the latter (a long-time Gators fan) was forced to pick a different school. Florida lost another target on Monday when four-star JUCO defensive tackle Abu Lamin of Fort Scott, Kan. committed to South Carolina.
Odin Lloyd, a 27-year-old associate of Aaron Hernandez, was killed by a .45 caliber handgun. Police have known this since the day his body was recovered. It was announced on Monday that authorities finally had a lead in their search for the murder weapon and are combing the bottom of Pine Lake in Bristol, CT, looking for the gun. According to Sports Illustrated legal analyst Michael McCann, the "impact of fresh water on [a] DNA [link between the] gun & [Hernandez] could be [a] forensic issue" for the prosecution." He also correctly noted that the only way authorities could have suddenly thought to search this lake would be if one of Hernandez's accomplices is cooperating and told police where to find the weapon.
Recent Florida guards Taurean Green and Walter Hodge have both found new homes overseas. Green told me last week that he that he will continue his career in France playing for Limoges CSP of the Pro A league. He has also become the fifth former Gators player to sign with Relativity Sports, joining Chandler Parsons, Corey Brewer, Nick Calathes and Alex Tyus. Hodge has decided to join Saski Baskonia of Liga ACB, the top professional league in Spain. "I've been given an opportunity to play for a club with a lot of history, and I think I'm ready for this challenge," he said at his introductory press conference.
Should Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd play special teams during his rookie season? According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Vikings special teams coordinator Mike Priefer is seriously considering placing Floyd not only on the field goal and punt units but also on the kickoff return team. "If he was a 320-pounder, a nose tackle-type guy that doesn't move as well as you want him to on special teams, I wouldn't use him," he said. "I don't even know what he weighs. I just know he's big, strong, and he's got great feet." Floyd blocked three field goals in his college career at Florida and could certainly have success on the punt unit as well. How long he works on kickoff return (if he does at all) certainly remains to be seen.