Police release security-cam footage in Rick Wells, Tyrie Cleveland incident

Florida freshmen Tyrie Cleveland (left) and Rick Wells. (Photo courtesy of Cleveland)
Florida freshmen Tyrie Cleveland (left) and Rick Wells. (Photo courtesy of Cleveland)

Security camera footage of the incident which led to the arrest of two Florida football players was released on Monday.

According to The Alligator, the University Police released video from the incident in compliance with a public records request.

It depicts an incident at Keys Residential Complex, involving freshman Gators receivers Rick Wells and Tyrie Cleveland, who appear to be shooting pellet guns into the building at freshman wide receiver Joshua Hammond, who appears to place a broom in the door during the video.

The video, which contained two different camera angles, can be watched here.

Wells and Cleveland were arrested following the July incident, and were both charged with criminal mischief for damaging property worth $1,000 or more (third-degree felony) and shooting a missile inside an occupied dwelling (second-degree felony).

Florida coach Jim McElwain released an official statement shortly after the arrest, but chose to keep things short and to the point:

SEC Country’s Zach Abolverdi recently wrote that the incident is likely to be inconsequential in the big picture of the career for the 18 year olds.

Gators land commitment from 4-star CB Marco Wilson

Marco Wilson, a 4-star cornerback from Fort Lauderdale. (Chris Kirschner/AJC)
Marco Wilson, a 4-star cornerback from Fort Lauderdale. (Chris Kirschner/AJC)

Another Wilson is headed to Florida.

The Gators landed a huge verbal commitment Monday from 4-star cornerback Quincy Wilson from American Heritage High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He chose UF over Miami, Georgia, Ohio State and Southern Cal.

“I love Florida,” Wilson told SEC Country. “I have a really strong relationship with the coaches. They talk to me almost every day. I love that about them. I see what they’re doing over there.”

The 6-foot, 180-pound prospect is ranked No. 27 nationally at his position, but appears to be much more elite with an offer list of more than 30 schools. His missed his entire junior season due to a torn ACL, which hurt his rankings.

Wilson is the younger brother of Florida junior cornerback Quincy Wilson, a former Under Armour All-American who has played in every game the past two seasons with 11 starts.

UF is up to 13 members in its 2017 class, and nine of them are rated 4-star prospects by at least two recruiting services.

What it means: Cornerback may the biggest priority for the Gators in this cycle, and they now have a pair of 4-star commits (Elijah Blades and Wilson). Florida is expected to land two more cornerbacks this month in Shawn Davis and Brad Stewart, which would certainly fill the needs at the position from both a quality and quantity standpoint.

Unless otherwise indicated, ratings and rankings come from the 247Sports Composite. 

Zach Abolverdi is the Florida beat writer for SEC Country and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 

Division winners to unranked? Gators getting no preseason love

Florida head coach Jim McElwain on the sidelines against Michigan during the first half in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl at the Orlando Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla., on Friday, Jan. 1, 2016. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/TNS)
Florida head coach Jim McElwain on the sidelines against Michigan during the first half in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl at the Orlando Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla., on Friday, Jan. 1, 2016. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/TNS)

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida football team begins fall training camp Wednesday, exactly one month from the season opener against UMass.

When the Gators take Steve Spurrier Field on Sept. 3, they could be one of few reigning SEC division winners to start a year unranked. But with a total of 11 starters gone from 2015, it’s understandable why prognosticators have their doubts about UF.

“There are a lot of unknowns,” Florida coach Jim McElwain said at SEC Media Days. “And yet, it’s kind of part of the fun of it.”

McElwain won SEC Coach of the Year last season after his team won 10 games and played for the conference title for the first time since 2009. But UF will have to beat the odds — and preseason predictions — to make it back to Atlanta this year.

The Gators were picked to finish second in the Eastern division behind Tennessee, and only one media outlet (Athlon Sports) has them in the top 25. Phil Steele, Bleacher Report, Sports Illustrated, Sporting News and Lindy’s Sports all left Florida out of their preseason rankings.

Since the first SEC Championship Game in 1992, the conference champion has always been ranked the following year. Only four division winners on the losing end of the title game (Arkansas twice, Auburn, Mississippi State) entered the next season unranked in the AP poll, and it hasn’t happened since 2003.

UF would be the first defending SEC East champion to miss the top 25. The AP poll comes out later this month.

While the Gators can’t control where they start the season, they’ll determine how they finish. To exceed expectations, several new faces in the starting lineup will need to set up.

Florida has to replace its starting quarterback, running back, tight end, team-leading wide receiver, kicker and six of 11 starters on defense.

“It will be interesting to see how this year’s team responds,” McElwain said. “We lost some really, really fine players, and I’m excited for them to move on into the National Football League.

“I think we learned a lot of lessons (from 2015). And yet, we’ve got a bunch of new guys. In fact, I think the happiest people on our campus are the people that are going to sell programs, because there’s a whole bunch of new jerseys out there. That will be a lot of fun for people to figure out who they are.”

Week 1 rankings of reigning SEC division winners:

*Conference champion in bold, AP ranking in parenthesis 

1993: Alabama (2), Florida (8)
1994: Florida (1), Alabama (11)
1995: Florida (5), Alabama (11)
1996: Florida (4), Arkansas (unranked)
1997: Florida (2), Alabama (16)
1998: Tennessee (10), Auburn (25)
1999: Tennessee (2), Mississippi State (unranked)
2000: Alabama (3), Florida (9)
2001: Florida (1), Auburn (unranked)
2002: Tennessee (2), LSU (14)
2003: Georgia (9), Arkansas (unranked)
2004: LSU (4), Georgia (3)
2005: Auburn (16), Tennessee (3)
2006: Georgia (15), LSU (8)
2007: Florida (6), Arkansas (20)
2008: LSU (7), Tennessee (18)
2009: Florida (1), Alabama (5)
2010: Alabama (1), Florida (4)
2011: Auburn (23), South Carolina (12)
2012: LSU (3), Georgia (6)
2013: Alabama (1), Georgia (5)
2014: Auburn (6), Missouri (24)
2015: Alabama (3), Missouri (24)

Steve Spurrier named ambassador and consultant for Florida athletics

FILE - In this Dec. 2, 2000, file photo, Florida head coach Steve Spurrier is carried off the field after the Gators downed Auburn 28-6 in the SEC Championship at the Georgia Done in Atlanta. Players from left are  by Mike Pearson (71), Kenyatta Walker (78) and Gerard Warren (61).  Spurrier already has a statue outside of the football stadium and the field named after him. Next he'll serve as ambassador and consultant for the school's entire athletic department. Gators athletic director Jeremy Foley made the announcement on Friday, July 29, 2016. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
In this Dec. 2, 2000, file photo, Florida head coach Steve Spurrier is carried off the field after the Gators downed Auburn 28-6 in the SEC Championship at the Georgia Done in Atlanta. Players from left are by Mike Pearson (71), Kenyatta Walker (78) and Gerard Warren (61). Spurrier already has a statue outside of the football stadium and the field named after him. Next he’ll serve as ambassador and consultant for the school’s entire athletic department. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

Former Florida quarterback and head coach Steve Spurrier is coming home.

The Head Ball Coach has been named Ambassador and Consultant for the Florida Gators Athletic Department, Gators athletics director Jeremy Foley announced on Friday.

“It’s a great day for the Gator Nation to be able to welcome Coach Spurrier back home,” Foley said, according to a release from the university. “He has served as a tremendous ambassador to the University and the athletic department for 50-plus years and it’s only fitting that at this point in his career, he is back in Gainesville. Being a Gator has always meant so much to Coach Spurrier, but it means just as much to us have him come home.”

Spurrier, who won the 1996 national championship has the Gators head coach and 1966 Heisman Trophy as the Florida quarterback, released the following statement in the Gators release on Friday:

“My wife, Jerri, and I are extremely thrilled to be returning home to our alma mater, and to Gainesville where we met on campus over 50 years ago,” Spurrier said. “I’m very appreciative to Athletic Director Jeremy Foley, Head Coach Jim McElwain and Phil Pharr of Gator Boosters for their role in making this happen.

“I also want to say thanks to the University of South Carolina for allowing me to be their coach from 2005 to 2015. Also a special thanks to all of the Gamecock players, coaches and fans that allowed our teams to set so many school records. I will now pull for South Carolina to win every game but one, just as I did when I pulled for Florida to win every game but one as the Gamecock coach. I will try my best to promote and assist in any way I can to help the Gators to continue to be one of the very best athletic programs in America. I admire what Coach McElwain and his staff accomplished last year. I’m anxious to watch the Gator football team as they strive to be the best in the SEC and the nation in the years ahead.”

After Spurrier spent the last decade involved with South Carolina athletics, second-year Gators football coach Jim McElwain welcomed the Hall of Famer back into the Gators football family, indicating that he’s ready to use the 71 year old’s experience to his advantage.

“I look forward to visiting with him on a lot of occasions and picking his brain on a number of issues,” McElwain said. “It’s a credit to Jeremy to get him back home where he belongs. More than anything I look forward to actually talking to him and being around him rather than just saying hello to his statue on my way to work every day.”

Spurrier led Florida to six SEC championships and was named the conference’s coach of the year five times while with the Gators. He retired midway through the 2015 season, finishing his career with a record of 228-89-2 as a collegiate head coach.

In early June, the Gators announced that Florida Field was to be renamed Steve-Spurrier-Florida Field in his honor, with the unveiling of his namesake set for the season opener against UMass on Sept. 3.

QB Jake Allen thriving as bond, chemistry with Gators coaches grows

Jake Allen, a 4-star quarterback from Fort Lauderdale. (Special to the AJC)
Jake Allen, a 4-star quarterback from Fort Lauderdale. (Special to the AJC)

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — It’s important for a quarterback and his position coach to be on the same page.

Florida commit Jake Allen has developed that kind of rapport with Gators offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier over the past year. Allen, who pledged to UF last summer, worked with Nussmeier and Florida coach Jim McElwain at this past weekend’s Friday Night Lights event.

“The more time I have around Coach Nuss and Coach Mac, the better I get,” said Allen, a product of St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

“I was just throwing for them and having a good time. It was fun.”

The chemistry between Allen and Nussmeier is evident when they work together, and that relationship exists off the field, as well.

“He’s an awesome guy,” Allen said. “I love hanging around him. I’m comfortable. I don’t have to put on a different persona. I can just be myself.

“He can relate to the quarterback. He used to play it and he knows the position. It’s good to have a coach like that.”

Nussmeier photobombed Allen at the conclusion of Friday Night Lights, and their fun began as soon as the camp started.

“Nuss was talking some trash to me,” Allen said. “We were doing the first drill when you have to throw it through the net, and he told me I couldn’t do it. He goes, ‘Jake, don’t throw it to the ground.’ It was funny. But of course I made it.”

The nation’s No. 10 pro-style quarterback also recruited some offensive skill players during his trip, such as 4-star wide receiver Jerry Jeudy and 4-star running back Adarius Lemons, who committed to Florida on Monday. Allen threw a long touchdown pass to Jeudy after he shook a cornerback to the ground on a juke move that went viral.

“You have to find little niches in their recruitment,” Allen said when asked how he approaches other prospects. “Everyone has something that they want to hear and they want to have in a college. So you have to find that out and keep stressing it.

“It’s not easy going to random guys and talking to them. But I like doing that and I enjoy it.”

Unless otherwise indicated, ratings and rankings come from the 247Sports Composite. 

Zach Abolverdi is the Florida beat writer for SEC Country and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 

Florida football hype video will get you ready for training camp

The Florida Gators just released a new hype video. (Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
The Florida Gators just released a new hype video. (Rob Foldy/Getty Images)

It has been a long offseason, but Florida will have its fans ready to win the day.

The Florida football program just released a new hype video called “Brotherhood,” which features players going through offseason strength drills in preparation for the upcoming season.

But more important than just lifting weights, the video features Florida teammates supporting each other and hyping the others up to reach their goals.

“A house divided cannot withstand the winds of the process,” the narrator says in the background. “As a family, we embrace the process, which only brings us closer.”

If this level of teamwork continues on the field, Florida is in for a great season.

Tim Tebow won’t say he’s retired, might be coach or politician in time

Former University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow is seen on the sidelines prior to the start of the game during the All State Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 1, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Former University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow is seen on the sidelines prior to the start of the game during the All State Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 1, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow refused to say he considers himself retired from football in an interview with the Associated Press, but he did talk about a possible future in coaching or politics.

Tebow was drafted by the Denver Broncos in 2010 and traded to the New York Jets in 2012 after leading Denver to a playoff victory the previous season. He hasn’t played in the NFL since 2012, aside from preseason stints with New England in 2013 and Philadelphia in 2015. He will be 29 when the NFL season begins in September.

“I love what coaching is,” Tebow told Ralph Russo from the AP. “I love the fact that coaching is teaching and it’s helping and it’s mentoring and it’s loving and it’s being a father figure. That is something that has always intrigued me.”

Tebow is scheduled to work as analyst for the SEC Network again this season and was rumored to be a speaker at the Republican National Convention last week, but that never materialized. He did not rule out a future in politics in the interview with AP.

“My goal has always been able to make the biggest impact that I possible could in people’s lives,” Tebow told the AP. “If I thought this is the right avenue, this would work, then I would be totally up for going down that path. Do I feel like that’s right now? No, not necessarily,” he said. “Could it happen in the future? Yeah, I definitely wouldn’t right that off.”

Florida has lost last six starting QBs to transfers

Quarterback Treon Harris #3 of the Florida Gators warms up prior to the start of the game against the New Mexico State Aggies at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 5, 2015 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
Quarterback Treon Harris #3 of the Florida Gators warms up prior to the start of the game against the New Mexico State Aggies at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 5, 2015 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)

Florida QB Treon Harris is transferring, the program confirmed Monday, carrying on an odd trend for the Gators.

As Sports Insights points out, Florida has lost six former starting quarterbacks in a row to transfers: Harris, Will Grier, Skyler Morninwheg, Jeff Driskel, Tyler Murphy and Jacoby Brissett.

Gator head coach Jim McElwain announced last week that Harris would be moving to receiver, so Florida would have started this season with a new starting quarterback anyway.

However, this continues a bizarre trend for Florida. The last Florida starting quarterback to finish his college career with the Gators was John Brantley in 2011. Brantley was also the last quarterback to start every game in a season for Florida. He did so in 2010, Urban Meyer’s final season as Florida’s head coach.

Every quarterback to start a game for Florida since Brantley has moved on to play elsewhere.

Grier was suspended for a year by the NCAA in October 2015 after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance. He transferred to West Virginia in the spring. The Mountaineers hope that he will be eligible to play in 2017.

In January 2015, Driskel elected to leave Florida for Louisiana Tech to play his final collegiate season as a graduate transfer. The Bulldogs went 9-4 last season with Driskel directing their offense. In May 2015, Morninwegh transferred to Columbia as the Gators flirted with Notre Dame graduate transfer Everett Golson.

Murphy transferred to Boston College in January 2014. He started for the Eagles as a graduate transfer, helping to lead them to a 7-6 record.

Brissett was the one who started the trend, transferring to NC State in January 2013. He started the last two seasons for the Wolfpack, going 15-11 as a starter.

The Gators have yet to pick their starter for 2016. Luke Del Rio is a transfer from Oregon State who sat out last season due to transfer rules. Austin Appleby is a graduate transfer from Purdue. Feleipe Franks and Kyle Trask are highly regarded freshmen. Whomever McElwain picks, he will hope that player brings some stability to the position.

Former Florida starting QB Treon Harris to transfer

Treon Harris #3 of the Florida Gators scrambles for yardage during the game against the East Carolina Pirates at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 12, 2015 in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Treon Harris #3 of the Florida Gators scrambles for yardage during the game against the East Carolina Pirates at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 12, 2015 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Former Florida starting QB Treon Harris will transfer.

The decision comes less than a week after Florida coach Jim McElwain confirmed that Harris would be playing wide receiver for the Gators.

Harris appeared in 12 games at quarterback during his sophomore season in 2015. He threw for 1,676 yards and nine touchdowns, but completed just 119-of-235 pass attempts.

The former four-star prospect’s signature moment as a Gator likely will be guiding Florida’s comeback win against Tennessee in Neyland Stadium in 2014.

Harris’ new destination is not immediately known. He would be eligible to play immediately at the FCS level, but likely would have to sit out the 2016 season if he decides to transfer to a FBS school.

Could Florida be one of college football’s biggest sleepers?

Florida Gators players celebrate after the game against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on November 7, 2015 in Gainesville, Florida. By winning this game, the Gators clinch the SEC East and will head to the SEC Championship game in Atlanta for this first time since 2009. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
Florida Gators players celebrate after the game against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on November 7, 2015 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)

The talk throughout the SEC East this offseason has been a sort of coronation of Tennessee.

The Volunteers are the team of destiny to get over the top finally and reach the SEC Championship Game, break the streak against their hated rivals and become players on the national championship picture. It all seems pre-ordained.

Florida has been a bit salty about it. The Gators after all have won 12 straight games against the Volunteers. They know who runs the conference.

And the Gators are extremely talented. They are the defending SEC East champions. With plenty of questions, sure, but also the expectations of champions. And no one is talking about them.

Beware the Gators.

In his weekly list for college football this offseason, Tom Fornelli of CBS Sports named Florida one of his sleeper teams in college football. And they are not only a team capable of winning the SEC East, but also winning the conference outright.

“Well, even if we don’t know who Florida’s QB will be in 2016 — my money is on Luke Del Rio — Jim McElwain has had plenty of success with his QBs in his coaching career,” Fornelli writes. “Then there’s Florida defense, which is really good. It was good last season until the end of the year when it just gave out after having to support a team with absolutely no offense. Seriously, the loss of Will Grier completely derailed Florida’s season, even if it wasn’t immediately obvious.”

The Gators offense was derailed when Grier went out. Florida trounced Ole Miss in Gainesville before the Grier suspension. This was a team threatening the top of the SEC. And obviously had enough to win the SEC East even after that loss.

Indeed, no one is talking about Florida right now. The conference has pretty much been handed to Tennessee by overwhelming margins.

That narrative will change if Florida tops Tennessee on Sept. 24 in Knoxville. Then no one will be sleeping on the Gators anymore.