Gators picked third in SEC East, nine honored

Florida was picked to finish third in the SEC East behind Georgia and South Carolina by the media. The Gators also had nine players voted to the 2013 preseason All-SEC Team.

Georgia was picked to win the SEC East with 149 votes, and South Carolina received 75 votes. Florida came in third with 19 votes. The media selected Alabama as the overall SEC champion with 182 of the total 243 votes for the champion. However, the media has selected the wrong SEC champion in 17 of the last 21 years. The last time the selection was correct came in 2008 when Florida was the preseason pick and won the conference title.

Florida had three players representing on the preseason First Team All-SEC. Defensive lineman Dominique Easley, cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy and punter Kyle Christy were all chosen to the team. Easley led the Gators with four sacks last season while Purifoy is the leading returning tackler with 51 last season, also forcing three fumbles and breaking up five passes. Christy is second in school history with a 44.2 yards per punt average.

Offensive lineman Jon Halapio and cornerback Marcus Roberson represented the Gators on the Second Team All-SEC. Halapio enters the 2013 season with a team-high 33 career starts. Roberson lead the Gators with 12 pass breakups last season.

Five Florida players were listed on the third team -- running back Matt Jones, center Jonothan Harrison, linebacker Ronald Powell and return specialist Andre Debose. The fifth player came in another selection for Purifoy, who was selected as the third team all-purpose player for his expected reps on offense, defense and special teams.

Jones earned the starting running back job in spring and was named to the Doak Walker Award watch list on Thursday. Harrison has 27 career starts at Florida. Powell heads into fall camp healthy after two knee injuries last year. He led the Gators with six sacks in 2011. Debose currently holds the Florida record and is tied for the SEC record with four career kickoff returns for touchdowns.

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