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October 25, 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 basketball did not practice Thursday afternoon as planned, according to Florida, as head coach Billy Donovan chose to kick the team out of the facility because some players - you know, the ones actually on the court and not the trainer's table dealing with injuries - complained about the aches and pains of preseason work. Donovan let the team back in the building that evening and practice apparently went off without a hitch. UF will travel to Valdosta, GA, on Saturday to square off against Georgia Tech in a closed "secret" scrimmage. Florida will then take on Florida Southern on Nov. 1 in an exhibition game in Gainesville, FL. The season starts on Nov. 8 against North Florida.
Appropriate praise has not slowed down for Washington Redskins tight end Jordan Reed, who had a career day on Sunday with nine receptions for 134 yards and a touchdown. ESPN's Ron Jaworski gushed about Reed during his Friday Conversation, saying that he expects the former Gators project to have a "sensational" NFL career. "This guy is going to scare the hell out of defenses," Jaworski said. "They can't load up the box when you have the ability to get him down the field matched against linebackers and safeties. That's a mismatch. He has a chance to be really good. We talk about splash plays; the splash plays against Chicago came from him." Additionally, Pro Football Focus on Friday tweeted that Reed has caught 84 percent of his targets in 2013, which is best among NFL tight ends. That's quite a start to a career.
The opportunity to add another top 2014 player will come on Wednesday for Donovan when five-star forward Devin Robinson (Christchurch, VA) officially announces his verbal commitment at his high school around 3:30 p.m. Robinson took his final official visit to Florida on the weekend of Oct. 12 but has also checked out Indiana, Notre Dame and Oklahoma State in person. According to Jeff Rabjohns of Rivals affiliate Peegs.com, his visit to the Gators was the only one where he did not get the chance to either see a football game or watch Midnight Madness. Nevertheless, his decision is expected to come down to UF or IU with sources mixed about his potential choice.
Only junior cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy is listed on the latest edition of Mel Kiper, Jr.'s latest Big Board on ESPN.com, but one has to wonder if Kiper has even watched Florida's games this season considering the fact that Purifoy (ranked No. 18) has been incredibly underwhelming (as expected) in his coverage this year. Analyst Todd McShay is even higher on the Gators he has evaluated. He lists three on his top 32 players available including Purifoy (No. 17), junior Marcus Roberson (No. 26) and even senior defensive tackle Dominique Easley (No. 19) despite the fact that he is in the middle of recovering from a torn ACL and medial meniscus.
Purifoy and Roberson will likely declare for the 2014 NFL Draft at the end of the season, but it would not be a surprise if neither was selected in the first round despite being projected as day one picks before the season. Easley, on the other hand, was dominant before going down with his injuries and may be able to sneak his way into the first round with a clean bill of health from Dr. James Andrews and a top-notch performance in the NFL Combine.
Resounding apathy for Tim Tebow has the former Heisman Trophy winner - one of few available quarterbacks who has racked up NFL touchdowns and led a team to a recent playoff factory - still without a team eight weeks into the season. Despite an incredible rash of injuries befalling NFL signal callers, Tebow's name has been dismissed as quickly as it has been brought up recently. Brady Quinn and Austin Davis were both signed by St. Louis on Wednesday after the team first reached out to, but was denied by, 44-year old Brett Favre. One year younger, 43-year-old Jeff Garcia is trying to get back into the league and seems to even have more traction than Tebow does at this point.