Everett Golson graduated from Notre Dame over the weekend and promptly announced that he will announce where he will play college football next season either Monday or Tuesday. He has visited Florida State, Georgia and Florida and Alabama has said he would be welcome if he chose to sign with the Crimson Tide. If you are one to place wagers on such things, put your money on Florida State. The bigger prize in the quarterback transfer stakes is Ohio State’s Braxton Miller, who hasn’t said one way or the other that he will be transferring out but with Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett returning, moving on out would seem more practical than chancing going from Heisman candidate to third string quarterback. If Miller elects to go, Texas, LSU and Alabama are probably going to be at the top of his list.
Barring some unforeseen miracle of feeding the 5,000 proportions, Golson’s visit to Gainesville is about as close as he will come to spending his fourth year of college football eligibility wearing orange and blue. As for Miller, donkeys will fly first before he shows up in Gainesville.
Meanwhile, Florida has accepted Vanderbilt’s Josh Grady and reportedly will be the final destination for Luke Del Rio, son of former Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio, now the head coach of the Oakland Raiders. Grady spent 2014 playing wide receiver at Vanderbilt where he had no receptions. In 2013 he was 3-6 passing for 27 yards and two interceptions and in 2013 he ran the ball six times for 23 yards and caught seven passes for 89. He threw for 24 touchdowns and more than 2,400 yards as a high school senior at Seffner Armwood, where he also ran for more than 800 yards and led his team to the state championship game.
As for Del Rio, if he lands at Florida it will represent his third school in three years. He walked on at Alabama in 2013 when Doug Nussmeier was the offensive coordinator. He transferred after one year to Oregon State where he spent the year getting mop-up action while backing up Sean Mannion. Del Rio threw for 141 yards, completing 8-18 passes. It is expected that he will seek a waiver to play immediately but he’s already gotten one waiver (for the transfer to Oregon State) so no one expects that he’ll be fortunate enough to get a second, meaning he sits a full year and has two years eligibility starting in 2016.
What this means is Florida’s backup quarterback situation is as murky as ever. It’s still Will Grier and Treon Harris 1-2 and unless someone else decides to transfer in, Grady, who has already graduated from Vandy, will be the third stringer unless he lands at wide receiver.
At present there is one other option that could prove interesting: Greyson Lambert, who announced he is transferring from Virginia over the weekend. Lambert is a 6-5, 230-pound pocket passer who was 187-336 passing for 1,972 yards, 11 touchdowns and 13 picks in two years while playing for bad Virginia teams (7-17 combined record for 2013-14). He redshirted as a freshman, graduated in three years and has two full years of eligibility.
Lambert has not announced a list of potential transfer schools but there is some speculation that he will go to Colorado State to play for Mike Bobo, the former Georgia offensive coordinator who recruited Lambert out of Wayne County High School in Jesup, Georgia. However, Colorado is a long way from home so it would seem likely that he will look to a place like Florida or South Carolina, both of which are within three hours of home and have a need for a starting quarterback. If there is an advantage for Florida it is tight end Jake McGee, a former UVa teammate who caught 71 passes for 769 yards and seven touchdowns in 2012-13. That relationship could prove to be a difference-maker if Lambert is seriously considering Florida.
And while we are on the subject of transfers, there should be a whole rash of them announced nationwide in the next two or three weeks. With most schools in Division I conducting their graduation ceremonies in the month of May, there will be quite a few experienced players you haven’t heard considering the possibility of playing their senior seasons at places that offer a better chance to win, more exposure or a fresh start somewhere else. We shouldn’t be surprised if some graduated linebackers or offensive linemen inquire about the possibility to transfer to the University of Florida. There are scholarships available for more than just quarterbacks, particularly for players who will only be here one year.
Mike Holloway has won four national championships (indoor 2010-12; outdoor 2012), but Saturday might go down as one of his greatest accomplishments given the way his Florida men’s track and field team won the Southeastern Conference outdoor championship in blowout fashion in Starkville. The Gators entered the final day of competition with only three points but scored 127.5 points Saturday to easily pass second place (tie) Texas A&M and Arkansas (95 points each). Florida went into the SEC outdoors ranked #3 nationally behind A&M and LSU, but with the way the Gators took charge on the last day, they will probably vault into the #1 national ranking heading into the Eastern Regional which begins on May 28.
Marquis Dendy led the Gator effort winning both the long and triple jumps. He has won eight SEC jump titles in his career. He won the NCAA outdoors long jump championship in 2014 and won both the long and triple jump championships at the 2015 NCAA indoors.
Florida’s women finished fifth in the SEC meet.
The Gators went 3-0 over the weekend to capture their eighth regional championship in Tim Walton’s 10 years as Florida’s head coach. In earning the right to host next weekend’s Super Regional against Kentucky, which upset Notre Dame in South Bend, the Gators outscored Florida A&M, Hofstra and Florida Atlantic, 14-0, allowing only six hits and walking three while striking out 30. With a 7-0 win over Hofstra Saturday and a 1-0 championship-clinching win over FAU on Sunday, national player of the year candidate Lauren Haeger improved to 26-1 with a 1.34 ERA. Haeger is hitting .335 with 15 homers and 63 RBI. It was her eight-inning double that scored the game’s only run against FAU. In game one against FAMU, freshman Aleshia Ocasio pitched a 1-hitter and struck out 17.
It was a great weekend for the SEC, which saw eight teams advance to Super Regionals. In addition to Florida, which is the #1 seed for the NCAA Tournament, #4 Auburn, #5 LSU, #6 Alabama and #8 Tennessee will all host a Super Regional. Tenth-seeded Missouri, #14 Georgia and Kentucky will all go on the road for Super Regional action.
Although the Gators lose Haeger and slugger Bailey Castro (17 homers) along with shortstop Kathlyn Medina to graduation, don’t fret about Walton and the Gators moving forward. In addition to returning a team that will include Kelsey Stewart (.451 batting average; UF career leader in batting average, triples and stolen bases), Kirsti Merritt (.329 batting average; 27 career homers); Taylore Fuller (27 career homers) and Aleshia Ocasio (17-3 record as a freshman with 1.99 ERA), Walton is bringing in either the second or third best recruiting class in the country depending on whose ratings you take more seriously. Headlining the class are outfielder Amanda Lorenz, who is considered the #1 prospect in the country, and Kelly Barnhill, the #2 prospect. Barnhill led Marietta Pope to the Georgia State championship in a season in which she struck out 534 batters. Barnhill pitched a no-hitter in the state championship game, one of 22 in her career.
In addition to Barnhill, the Gators will be bringing in outfielder Amanda Lorenz, who many consider the #1 prospect in the country, along with power hitting catcher Brooke Clemons, infielder Sophia Reynoso, outfielder Lilly Mann, shortstop Alexandra Voss and pitcher/infielder Theresa Swertfager.
With Houston’s win over the Los Angeles Clippers Sunday, we are certain at least one Gator will get an NBA championship ring this year. Corey Brewer, who spearheaded the Rockets’ dramatic come from behind win over LA Friday night when they came from 19 down in the fourth quarter, will be going against a Golden State Warriors team that features former Gators David Lee and Marreese Speights in the Western Conference finals, while in the East, Al Horford and the Atlanta Hawks will go against a Cleveland team that has Mike Miller looking to bring home another championship ring.
Even if Luke Del Rio transfers in, do you think the Gators should continue to look for an experienced quarterback transfer?
There will never be another BB King. I started listening to him when I was 13 and never grew tired of his music. When he died early Friday morning music lost an irreplaceable legend. Today’s music is a live performance of BB playing in Dallas back in 1983, opening with a Willie Nelson song, “The Night Life” and following that up with a great version of Elvis Presley’s “Love Me Tender.”