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May 19, 2014

Roundup: Garcia makes crowded list



Max Garcia was named to the 2014 watch list for the 2014 Rimington Trophy, given annually to the best center in FBS, on Monday. But wait a minute; how does one get essentially nominated for an award at a position he has never played? Answer: Everyone kind of got nominated.

The Rimington Trophy Watch List includes 64 centers. That's more than half of the centers that will start for an FBS team this year. In fact, 11 of the 14 starting centers in the Southeastern Conference made the list. The only SEC schools to not have a player on the list: Arkansas, Ole Miss and Tennessee.

Garcia was the Gators' most consistent and productive offensive lineman last season as a starting left guard, but a move to center took some serious adjustment during spring practice. By the Orange & Blue Debut, he looked more comfortable than ever, but there's still a significant amount of unknown in his play heading into fall camp.

Even that couldn't keep him off a watch list.

-- Long overdue recognition --

Speaking of awards, here's one that's a little more meaningful: Florida catcher Taylor Gushue is SEC Player of the Week for the first time this season. Gushue has been the best offensive player all year -- .335, 46 RBI, six home runs - on a team that has surprised college baseball.

But it took a four-game stretch in which he hit .615 to give him Player of the Week honors for the first time in his career. Gushue came to UF a 17-year-old early enrollee, rare in college baseball, for the 2012 season and has been a regular contributor ever since.

However, 2014 is the first time he has truly lived up to his potential after a sputtering sophomore season. Gushue captured the SEC batting title with a .389 clip in conference play.

-- UF vs. UM back on? --

A report in the Miami Herald brought to life the idea that Florida and Miami are currently discussing the possibility of renewing the football rivalry between the two schools. The game was thought to be dead after the 2013 matchup because of the Gators' insistence on having seven home games in a season.

The catch: UM now appears open to a neutral site game, with athletic director Blake James saying he would have to "think about" Orlando but that it may work out.

Miami is hardly a necessity for a Florida team that already plays arguably the nation's toughest schedule on an annual basis because of SEC play and an annual rivalry with Florida State. But the game would complete the circle that allows the "Big Three" to battle for state supremacy on an annual basis. In the playoff era, this game would only make Florida's schedule more daunting with almost zero margin for error.

But college football is also in need of marquee games more than ever with attendance often dwindling and this would certainly be just that.

-- Odds and ends --

* Boston Herald writer Jeff Howe spoke to a rehab specialist for Dominique Easley who says the first-round pick's knee is already in game shape and he will "definitely" be on the field when the New England Patriots' season begins. Easley is recovering from a torn ACL, the second of his career but the first in his right knee.

* The new Rivals100 was released Monday. You can read in-depth about the latest list on the ITG front page. While there are numerous UF targets included, only one Gators commit made the list. Cornerback Marcus Lewis dropped from No. 76 to No. 84.

* For those in the Gainesville area, Will Muschamp will be speaking to the Titletown Gator Club Tuesday night at Emerson Alumni Hall. The event will include a speech and fan Q&A session with Muschamp. Tickets are $20 for members of the UF Alumni Association and $30 for non-members. The event begins at 5:30 p.m.


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