Quincy Wilson was the 14th pick in the second round (No. 46 overall) of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts.
Wilson arrived in Gainesville as an Under Armour All-American out of Fort Lauderdale’s University School, but he was often overshadowed in the Gators’ star-studded secondary. He declared for the draft after an All-SEC second-team effort as a junior, during which he recorded 33 tackles, three interceptions and six pass break-ups. His father, Chad Wilson, was an All-Big East defensive back at Miami, and his younger brother, Marco, is a four-star defensive back signed to Florida.
Wilson boasts the size, physicality and competitiveness of an NFL corner. He uses press coverage to harass receivers and mask some athletic and speed shortcomings. His coverage isn’t always clean, but it’s effective: He allowed an NFL passer rating of only 29.9 on throws against him last season, according to Pro Football Focus. His future might be at safety, where NFL.com wrote “his instincts, ball skills and willingness to tackle will all serve him well.”
Marcus Maye was the seventh pick in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft (39th overall) by the New York Jets.
Maye’s five-year stay in Gainesville saw him rise from four-star recruit out of Melbourne-Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy to first-team All-American. However, that honor came back in 2015, when he recorded 82 tackles, five forced fumbles, two interceptions and six pass breakups. His senior season ended prematurely when a broken arm cost him the campaign’s final four contests and drill work at the NFL Combine. He registered eight interceptions and 17 pass breakups over his Gators career.
Maye passes both the eye and film tests with a good build, sound instincts and the ability to read both quarterbacks and receivers. He has sideline-to-sideline speed and the physicality to shed blockers and bring down ball carriers. He’s a reliable presence coaches can feel comfortable putting as their last line of defense (one missed tackle last season, per Pro Football Focus). But he can get in trouble trying to track both the ball and his man down field. He also allowed 10 touchdowns on passes thrown his way at Florida, according to NFL.com.
“Maye is an interchangeable safety with good size and outstanding football instincts. … Maye projects as a potential top 50 pick who should quickly develop into a starter within a year or two.” — ESPN Insider
Jarrad Davis was the 21st pick in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions.
Davis, a native of Kingsland, Ga., made an immediate impact for the Gators and garnered special-teams MVP honors as a freshman. During his four-year career, he registered 205 tackles, 20 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks. Making those numbers more impressive was the fact he managed them while also missing time for knee surgery and a high-ankle sprain. The second-team All-SEC selection was a late-bloomer in high school, not becoming a full-time starter until his senior year at Camden County.
Davis is a chiseled physical specimen who wowed at the Gators’ pro day after his ankle injury didn’t allow him to do drills at the NFL combine. He is an explosive, nimble athlete with the character, work ethic and leadership to become a coach’s favorite. However, his physical gifts are ahead of his mental game, as his instincts, patience and technique could all use polishing.
“I think from a talent standpoint, Jarrad Davis is a first-round player. From an intangibles standpoint, he’s top five in the class. I mean, he’s a player that loves the game. You can see the passion and just energy he has for the game when you study him on tape.” — ESPN’s Todd McShay
With an errant high-five attempt, a shoulder tap and a push in the back, University of Florida head coach Tim Walton and Auburn shortstop Haley Fagan ignited what amounted to a serious softball beef.
The drama unfolded after the Tigers’ 1-0 win over the Gators on Monday. As the two teams were walking through the postgame handshake line, Walton and Fagan pushed each other before engaging in a heated exchange.
To understand this confrontation between an Auburn softball player and Florida's coach, you need to go back 5 years.
Fagan approached the skipper with her arms at her side. Walton proceeded to make contact with her right shoulder in what appeared to be a light shove with his forearm. Fagan responded by shoving Walton in the back, sparking a brief but spirited war of words.
Fagan then appears to yell at someone off camera before a teammate pulls her back to keep things from going further.
Why on Earth did this happen to begin with? It turns out there’s some history between the two.
Fagan’s sisters, Sami and Kasey, played for Walton at Florida. But the two were dismissed in 2012 following “an altercation on the team,” according to their father, Kevin, a former defensive lineman with the University of Miami and San Francisco 49ers.
Walton apologized through a statement released by the school Tuesday morning.
“I just wanted to congratulate Auburn on the win — it was a good series.
“My intent was to give a high-five to each opposing player as we do after every game. Apparently, her hand wasn’t up as I said ‘good game’ and I touched her shoulder. I should have paid closer attention and did not intend to upset her. I regret that this has taken attention away from the effort and sportsmanship both teams displayed all weekend.”
Florida and Auburn won’t play again during the 2017 regular season, but keep some popcorn on hand in case the two top-five schools cross paths in the postseason.
One of the most prominent women in basketball could be going to Gainesville.
San Antonio Spurs assistant coach and six-time WNBA All-Star Becky Hammon is reportedly one of three finalists for Florida’s women’s basketball head coaching position, according to Swish Appeal and RealGM.com.
Hammon, who the Spurs hired in 2014, is the first full-time female assistant coach in any of the four major male sports leagues.
The Gators fired Amanda Butler on March 6 after 10 years at the helm. She finished her Florida career with a 190-137 record.
Chandler Parsons’ quest to validate his four-year, $94 million deal with the Memphis Grizzlies is on an indefinite hold.
Memphis announced Monday that Parsons is out indefinitely with a partial meniscus tear in his left knee. The former Florida Gators star saw his last two seasons cut short by surgeries on his right knee.
The Grizzlies are still evaluating to determine “the appropriate course of action,” but sources told ESPN’s Tim MacMahon that Parsons “will likely undergo season-ending surgery.”
“To suffer a setback like this after working so diligently to rebound from the injury to his right knee is obviously tough,” Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace said in a statement. “That said, we know he will continue to work tirelessly to return to the court with his teammates and contribute.”
He was shooting career-worst rates from the field (33.8 percent) and from three (26.9). His vast list of personal lows included 6.2 points, 2.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 19.9 minutes.
He had hybrid micro-fracture surgery on his right knee in May 2014, then a meniscus repair less than 12 months later. The Dallas Mavericks opted not to re-sign him last summer, instead giving the same max deal to Harrison Barnes.
Parsons missed the first six games of this season and had his minutes managed throughout.
His left knee began bothering him after his debut, and he missed a month with a bone bruise after only six appearances.
His four-year run with the Gators culminated with the 2010-11 SEC Player of the Year award. The Houston Rockets drafted him 38th overall in 2011, and he spent his first three NBA seasons there before signing in Dallas.
Entering this season, he owned career averages of 14.3 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.0 assists.
On a scale of one to 10, Chandler Parsons’ 2016-17 season has been horrendous.
That’s a self-assessment, by the way.
“I suck right now,” the former Florida Gator told ESPN. “There’s no sugarcoating it. It is what it is. I’m just going to continue to work, continue to grind.”
There’s no better place to do that than on the grit-and-grind Memphis Grizzlies, but the amount of work needed is staggering.
Parsons is in the first season of a four-year, $94 million contract, and he’s never played worse.
Every relevant statistical category has plummeted to a personal worst, including 6.2 points and 1.6 assists in only 19.8 minutes a night. His 34.0 field-goal percentage — more than 11 points below his previous low — ranks 320th among the 323 players who have logged at least 500 minutes. His 7.6 player efficiency rating ranks ahead of only seven players averaging at least 15 minutes, none of whom will earn one-third of his $22.1 million salary.
“I understand as a sports fan you want production,” Parsons said of being booed on his home floor. “You see the contract I signed with the salary I make. People expect a lot better than I’m performing right now. That’s natural, and that’s how it goes.”
The lavish lifestyle he leads on social media probably hasn’t done him any favors in his new blue-collar market. To that end, he has vowed to silence his activity there for the rest of the season.
But his on-court performance is the much greater concern. There’s a possibility this isn’t simply a slump, but rather his new norm.
Since 2015, he has had two knee surgeries and missed a month this season with a bone bruise in his other knee. The 28-year-old’s athleticism has taken a noticeable hit, and there’s no telling whether the damage might be permanent.
Parsons played for the Gators from 2007 to 2011, earning SEC Player of the Year honors as a senior. He was drafted 38th overall in 2011 and owns career averages of 13.6 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.9 assists over five-plus seasons with the Grizzlies, Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets.
DAVIE – The Miami Dolphins never pursued Tim Tebow. But the Miami Marlins could.
Tebow, the former Heisman Trophy winning quarterback from the University of Florida, apparently has ended his pursuit of returning to the NFL and now will turn his attention to baseball, a sport he has not played since 2005.
Tebow plans to hold a workout for major league baseball teams this month, according to his agents. Tebow was an all-state baseball player at Nease High School in Ponte Vedra Beach, hitting .494 as a junior, before giving up the sport to pursue football.
Tebow, who currently works for ESPN, has been training in Arizona and Los Angeles this season, working on his hitting and outfield skills.
“Tim’s athletic ability, his work ethic, his leadership and his competitiveness were evident in football and will show in baseball,” said Tebow’s football agent, Jimmy Sexton. “Knowing Tim’s passion and desire, we won’t be surprised by anything he accomplishes.”
Tebow, who turns 29 Sunday, was a first round draft pick of the Broncos (25th overall) in 2010 and played two seasons in Denver and one with the Jets before his career fizzled out.
After playing in nine games (starting three) in 2010, Tebow took over the starting job in Denver in 2011 leading the Broncos to a playoff win over Pittsburgh before losing to New England. Although he was 7-4 during the regular season, he completed just 46.5 percent of his passes for 1,729 yards 12 TDs and six INTs. He was 19 of 47 for 452 yards, two TDs and no picks in the playoffs.
He played in 12 games for the Jets in 2012, completing 6 of 8 passes. Tebow has spent time with the Patriots (2013) and Eagles (2015) without ever making the team.
All 30 major league baseball teams will be invited to Tebow’s workout.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Luke Del Rio, the leader in Florida’s open quarterback competition entering preseason camp, heard along with everyone else last week the strong endorsement he received from former Gators coach and newly minted ambassador/consultant Steve Spurrier.
And he was no doubt ready for the inevitable question Wednesday at the Gators’ media day on the eve of the team’s first practice.
“That kind of blew up,” Del Rio said playfully of Spurrier’s comments. “I appreciate the insight, but it’s still an open competition.”
In talking with reporters last Friday about returning to his alma mater, Spurrier made headlines by inadvertently declaring Del Rio the Gators’ new starting quarterback.
Florida head coach Jim McElwain and offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier have yet to make the same declaration, though, and didn’t offer anything new Wednesday while saying they want to see how the team’s offensive players feed off both Del Rio and Austin Appleby, a graduate transfer from Purdue, during camp.
“We’ll make the decision when we’re ready to make the decision and when we think the timing’s right,” Nussmeier said. “I don’t think you can sit here today and say it’s this day or that day.”
Said McElwain: “I really believe, to play successful football at the quarterback position, the people around you, A, have to believe; and B, they have got to trust in everything you’re doing; and C, their play is elevated based on how you go about playing the position. …
“So I’ll see how the guys respond to them when they are in the huddle, when they are into the situations that we, you know, set up during practice. That really is kind of, to me, the key to success at the position.”
Pressed for any further commitment to Del Rio’s grip on the job, McElwain wasn’t biting.
“Has anything ever changed here?” he joked, keeping whatever deeper opinions he has to himself.
So the competition continues as the Gators look to find stability at quarterback. They’ve struggled to find any such stability since Will Grier’s season ended with a suspension for a positive PED test, and Treon Harris was inconsistent in replacing him. Both Grier and Harris have since transferred out of the program.
Del Rio, meanwhile, is about as well traveled as a redshirt sophomore can be.
The son of Oakland Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio, he spent the 2013 season at Alabama as a walk-on, before joining Oregon State in 2014 and then sitting out last season due to NCAA transfer rules after arriving at Florida. But he had that year to absorb the Gators offense
On Wednesday, he thought back to the circuitous path that has brought him to this opportunity now.
“It was tough. It definitely was, going to three different schools,” he said. “I basically went to Alabama because it was a dream of mine. I wanted to play for Coach [Nick] Saban, I wanted to play with the best in the country, they were the national champions at the time. It was a mixture of things [causing me to leave] Alabama, and then at Oregon State it was pretty much strictly coaching staff changes. But I couldn’t be happier to be here.”
Del Rio recounted how he was told during spring practice in 2015, after Oregon State head coach Mike Riley had left for Nebraska and a new staff had taken over, that he was not part of the Beavers’ future.
“It was a Tuesday, it was like 6:50 in the morning when they told me and I still had to go practice because it was during spring practice. It hurt a lot,” he said. “I asked them, ‘So you want me to transfer?’ And they basically said, ‘Look, we’re not telling you to do anything; we’re just telling you you won’t play here. …
“Alabama was more complicated, but Oregon State was very difficult. I had a good thing going, I was settled, but once again, I’m happy to be here.”
Del Rio said McElwain had recruited him “very hard” when he was the head coach at Colorado State. He didn’t want to play in the altitude of Colorado, though.
Instead, they find themselves together now in Gainesville trying to jumpstart an offense that averaged just 12.8 points over the final six games of last season.
Del Rio has only thrown 18 passes in college — all in 2014 with Oregon State — but he’s had that extra year in the program to get up to speed with the offense here. Now he has this preseason camp to finally prove whether he’s indeed the best option.
“I’m confident in my ability,” he said. “I can really only control what I can control. I feel if I play to the best of my ability then I’ll have a good shot at winning the job.”
As for Appleby, he said he had far easier paths to playing time when he decided to leave Purdue for his final year of eligibility.
He started 11 games and played in 17 over three seasons with the Boilermakers, passing for 2,777 career yards, 19 touchdowns and 19 interceptions.
Appleby said he had about two weeks to find a new home in-between getting his release from Purdue and a recruiting dead period, but that was enough time to drum up considerable interest — including several schools that could have offered him a better guarantee of playing time.
“There was a number of them. People in this conference, people in MAC-level conferences, all the way in between, but for me, I want to be the very best I can be,” Appleby said. “And Coach Mac, Coach Nuss, these teammates, for me there was something about this place that I couldn’t pass it up. …
“It didn’t take long for me to be 100 percent sold on what the Gators were offering and what a special thing we have brewing here and how I can be a part of that.”
While Del Rio exited the spring as the leader in the quarterback competition, Appleby says he’s had the best summer of his collegiate career. He said he has come a long way in terms of his understanding of the offense and his chemistry with the receivers.
“I have a world of confidence. I had one of my best summers I’ve ever had since becoming a college football player, really taking the opportunity to learn and develop my plan within the plan — not just understanding the plays, but understanding why we’re calling them, what we’re trying to accomplish, who runs it the best, where do my eyes need to be …,” he said.
“Those were things I was a little behind in the spring time, trying to catch up. I didn’t even know where to run from drill to drill in practice. Now I’ve got my feet under me, I understand what we’re trying to accomplish as an offense, I understand the coaches and I can just go be an extension of them and affect my teammates in positive ways.
“I’m right where I need to be. I couldn’t be more confident.”
Between those two options, Nussmeier said he feels good about the depth the Gators have this year at such a crucial position.
“Obviously as we came out of spring, we talked about Luke had a slight edge, and we’re going to let them compete and see where we end up,” he said.
And eventually somebody on the current coaching staff will make a declaration as to who will actually get the first shot at the job.
Florida’s equipment staff gave fans a sneak peek at the shoes they can expect the Gators to have on when they take the field this season.
In a tweet, the staff sent out photos of cleats that will be worn by some players. The white Nike shoes feature a gator skin pattern, an orange swoosh and orange designs along the side. A large Florida Gator logo is also featured on the inside of the shoe.