Injury Report: Seven Gators out for spring, three non-contact
Florida Jim McElwain released his injury report Thursday morning during his spring preview press conference, and 10 Gators will either be sidelined or working non-contact.
Quarterback Luke Del Rio (shoulder surgery), defensive end Jordan Sherit (knee surgery), offensive lineman Antonio Riles (torn ACL), linebacker David Reese (wrist surgery), wide receiver Freddie Swain (shoulder), and safeties Jeawon Taylor (shoulder surgery) and Quincy Lenton (foot) are all out for the spring, McElwain said.
Meanwhile, wide receiver Dre Massey, linebacker James Houston and cornerback C.J. McWilliams – who are all coming back from torn ACLs – will start off non-contact.
Florida announced last month that Del Rio had undergone surgery for his non-throwing shoulder. With Del Rio out, Feleipe Franks, Kyle Trask and Kadarius Toney will compete for reps at the quarterback position.
"Here’s the exciting thing. He just got accepted into the sports management graduate program like Jordan Sherit, who got accepted into the international school of business graduate program. That’s pretty awesome," McElwain said of Del Rio. "Obviously he’s a competitor. He wants to play as bad as anybody wants to play, but he also understands he’s got to get healthy to do it. With that, the way he’s been in just around even those young guys and kind of organized some of the things they do on their own, he’s been a big piece of that."
With Sherit, who underwent knee surgery in December, and Reese, who had surgery on his wrist a couple months ago, being out, it will open up opportunities for Florida’s other contributors at each respective position.
Kylan Johnson, Vosean Joseph, Jeremiah Moon, Cristian Garcia and recently moved Camrin Knight will see a considerable number of snaps at linebacker – especially with Houston (who suffered his torn ACL last summer) also not full-contact - while CeCe Jefferson, Keivonnis Davis and Jabari Zuniga will lead the deep pack at defensive end.
Taylor underwent shoulder surgery in December after suffering his injury at FSU, while Lenton was recently seen in a walking boot. Lenton redshirted in 2016 due to a stress fracture in his foot that came up during the first week of fall camp. Without those two, Florida will have just seven fully available scholarship players in the secondary this spring.
Riles has been actively rehabbing his knee injury since suffering that torn ACL in fall camp, while McWilliams’ recovery has gone well since he too suffered a torn ACL during the first week of fall practices.
At wide receiver, the number of players fully available will also be low. Massey suffered his torn ACL on the opening kickoff of Florida’s season-opener against UMass but has been ahead of schedule in his recovery process. Swain is recovering from a shoulder injury, as he was not too long ago seen wearing a sling.
"Dre Massey, which as you guys know was a big blow to us offensively last year when we lost him on the opening kickoff. It’s exciting to have him back," McElwain said. "Yeah, I mean, that was a piece of the offense that we can put back in now. We'll see what he can handle. We're not going to overload him, because obviously, as you can tell, he's not in any of the contact stuff. Which is the right thing. But he's also a weapon and a guy I'm looking forward to seeing out there on SEC Saturdays.
"Freddie being out, he got a lot of reps last year. I know he's miserable because he's one of those guys who wants to go compete. And yet that's a good thing, right? But with that, that comes with some more reps with some other guys. But he'll come right back and step in when he's cleared and ready to go."
Among the scholarship receivers available for full-contact this spring: Antonio Callaway, Tyrie Cleveland, Brandon Powell, Joshua Hammond and Rick Wells.
Thank you for reading this Inside the Gators article. To discuss it, please visit the Alligator Alley Forum.