Mailbag: Will Tyrie Cleveland be the next great Gators freshman wide receiver?

Spring practice is over and the countdown to the fall has begun.

Tyrie Cleveland (Photo from 247 Sports)
Tyrie Cleveland (Photo from 247 Sports)

For now, let’s answer some of your questions in this week’s edition of the Gators mailbag.

If you weren’t able to ask a question this week, send your questions for future mailbags via Twitter, e-mail (achiang@pbpost.com) or Facebook. Continue reading “Mailbag: Will Tyrie Cleveland be the next great Gators freshman wide receiver?”

Transfer running back Mark Thompson looks explosive in Gators’ second scrimmage of spring

GAINESVILLE Florida held its second scrimmage of the spring on Friday, giving both the offense and the defense another in-game situation to showcase what they’ve done so far in the spring.

Florida Gators logoAnd both sides of the ball had their moments. junior college transfer running back Mark Thompson had a 60-70 run on Friday, according to tight ends coach Greg Nord, while wide receiver Ahmad Fulwood had a catch that caught the eye of Nord.

“We had a few explosive plays that we’ve been looking for out of the offense,” Nord said. “(Ahmad) Fulwood had a nice catch-and-run in a situation. We had Mark (Thompson) get out and get the big run in some of the situational stuff that we did.”

Thompson has generated a lot of buzz during the spring, and from what Nord said, he’s been able to showcase his skills.

However, the offense wasn’t the only side that had big plays. Safety Marcus Maye had an interception, while fellow safety Duke Dawson had a touchdown that was overturned because of a penalty.

Defensive backs coach Torrian Gray said he the defense still needs a lot of work after the scrimmage to reach their potential.

“I thought we were good in some forms of it. Some forms of it, the offense had some explosive plays, which we’ve obviously got to clean up,” Gray said. “Overall, I think we’re going to like what we’re going to put on film with the understanding that we’ve got a lot of work to still do.”

Friday night spring boost for recruiting: Florida’s annual spring game will be on April 8 at 7 p.m., and it’s the first time ever that the game is being held on a Friday. The Orange and Blue Debut is typically held during a Saturday afternoon in April, but there’s a reason why it was scheduled for Friday this year.

McElwain said the nighttime atmosphere is for the fans but not having to play the game on Saturday helps out with recruiting.

“Getting people here in a night atmosphere in The Swamp I think is fantastic and a lot of fun,” McElwain said. “Then it also allows us a good Saturday with a lot of those recruits that are coming in where we can spend quality time with them, showing them the campus.

“The unofficial visits, all the new things we have facility wise. They can get a good chance to get through that with a game going on, which will be done the night before.”

Florida is expecting have a large number of recruits on campus during the weekend, and McElwain is also reaching out to more recruits nationally.

Not only is Florida’s second-year coach taking an interest in recruiting the Southeastern Conference, he’s starting to reach out to top prospects nationally.

“When you find somebody nationally, it has a distinct reason or a want or an interest in the Florida Gators, which obviously it being a national brand, you’re going to run into a lot of those guys,” McElwain said.

“You’re going to go ahead and do what you can to get them to be Gators. I wouldn’t say it’s anything abnormal than what we’ve done before, but obviously the brand makes it one of those brands where a lot of people want to take a look.”

Early enrollees’ importance: With the 12 early enrollee the Gators have on their campus now, it provides them depth and playmakers that weren’t available to them last spring.

Freshmen wide receivers Freddie Swain and Josh Hammond have made an impact during practices. Arriving in January has allowed quarterbacks Feleipe Franks and Kyle Trask to get a grasp of the offense faster than if they arrived in August.

All 12 will be ahead of the curve when the rest of the class rolls in the fall and they’ll have a better chance to play once the season begins.

“This obviously helps them make an impact because they’re going to be ahead when we start fall,” McElwain said. “…“It puts ahead their opportunity to play quicker because of their experience and which one of those guys that’s yet to kind of remain to be seen.”

Notebook: Jim McElwain pleased with Gators’ first spring scrimmage

GAINESVILLE — Florida held its first spring scrimmage on Thursday, allowing Jim McElwain to evaluate his team in game situations for the first time this month.

Head coach Jim McElwain of the Florida Gators watches the action during the game against the Georgia Bulldogs at EverBank Field on October 31, 2015 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Head coach Jim McElwain of the Florida Gators watches the action during the game against the Georgia Bulldogs at EverBank Field on October 31, 2015 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Overall, the Gators’ second-year coach was pleased with the scrimmage.

“Really felt good about the scrimmage on Thursday,” McElwain said. “We got about 117 snaps in, not counting special teams. Got a lot of guys some, I thought, valuable reps, especially some of the young guys.” Continue reading “Notebook: Jim McElwain pleased with Gators’ first spring scrimmage”

Notebook: Florida Gators set to hold first spring scrimmage Thursday

GAINESVILLE — Florida is scheduled to hold its first full spring scrimmage Thursday.

Head coach Jim McElwain of the Florida Gators waves to the crowd after the game against the Mississippi Rebels on October 3, 2015 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
Head coach Jim McElwain of the Florida Gators waves to the crowd after the game against the Mississippi Rebels on October 3, 2015 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)

Coach Jim McElwain said the team will have between 117-128 reps inside Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, with an emphasis on situational drills.

[Gators QB Del Rio turned down McElwain recruiting bid in 2012]

[Q&A with Florida Gators QB Luke Del Rio]

“We’ll work some situational things, some third down, some red area, some goal-line,” McElwain said. “Just so we’re kind of doing some two-minute before the half, two-minute at the end of the game, some of those kind of things just from a situation standpoint and see how the guys handle that.” Continue reading “Notebook: Florida Gators set to hold first spring scrimmage Thursday”

Florida Gators 2016 spring practice preview: Wide receivers

With the start of spring practice inching closer — March 9 — we’ll take a look at the state of each position. We focus on the wide receivers today, and shift to a different position each day leading up to the start of spring practice. Continue reading “Florida Gators 2016 spring practice preview: Wide receivers”