Don’t expect Anthony Harrell to step in and be a star at the University of Florida this fall, but the Georgia Tech transfer will definitely add an experienced player at a position where depth has been a concern. Harrell brings size (6-2, 237), speed and intelligence (graduated as a dean’s list student from Georgia Tech) to go with 37 games of practical experience (54 tackles).
Harrell is the son of former Gator James Harrell, a Tampa Chamberlain product who went from walk-on to NFL veteran. He came to UF as a 180-pounder and left as a 220-pound outside linebacker/defensive end. He lettered in 1977-78, then played nine years of professional football, eight with the Detroit Lions and Kansas City Chiefs and one with the USFL Tampa Bay Bandits.
Before it was announced that Anthony Harrell was transferring to Florida, Georgia Tech tweeted that he had been suspended for a violation of team rules. Harrell says it’s a lie, that he was never suspended. Florida coaches apparently chose to believe Harrell’s side of the story. Harrell is eligible immediately and has one season of eligibility remaining.
Harrell gives the Gators nine scholarship linebackers heading into the fall.
Although there were mock drafts in May that had Michael Frazier II going late first round in the NBA Draft, the former Florida shooter didn’t hear his name called in either the first or second rounds when the league held its draft last Thursday night. Frazier has signed to play with NBA champion Golden State in the summer league in July and there is that chance he can shoot his way onto a roster, but odds are better that he’ll have to decide whether to play in the NBA Developmental League (max salary $25,000, $40 per diem on the road, housing and insurance benefits) or go to Europe where salaries can range as low as $50,000 for a first year player with no star appeal in one of the minor leagues (Denmark, Sweden, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Finland, Cyprus) to $1 million for proven talent (Spain, Italy, Turkey, Greece, Russia, Israel, France).
Without a doubt, Frazier should have elected to stay in school. The biggest reason he went undrafted is his lack of ability to create his own shot. You have to really be special to make an NBA roster if you’re strictly a catch and shoot guy with limitations (Frazier has them) on the defensive end. With another year in school he could have improved his ability to put the ball on the deck and get his shot as well as prove he can be a quality defender.
Chris Walker went undrafted and that was no surprise, but leaving school was probably the smart choice. He didn’t like going to class and there is that chance he can start living up to the potential and athletic ability if he’s in a basketball only situation 24/7.
Phil Steele’s annual college football magazine is out and not surprisingly, the Florida Gators aren’t ranked among his top 40 teams. Steele does predict the Gators will face North Carolina in the Independence Bowl in Shreveport.
Here is how Steele predicts the SEC to finish:
1. Georgia (#6 nationally): 15 returning starters (7 offense, 6 defense, 2 special teams)
2. Tennessee (#25 nationally): 20 returning starters (10 offense, 8 defense, 2 special teams)
3. Missouri: 13 returning starters (6 offense, 6 defense, 1 special teams)
4. Florida: 12 returning starters (4 offense, 7 defense, 1 special teams)
5. South Carolina: 14 returning starters (4 offense, 8 defense, 2 special teams)
6. Kentucky: 16 returning starters (7 offense, 7 defense, 2 special teams)
7. Vanderbilt: 20 returning starters (9 offense, 9 defense, 2 special teams)
1. Alabama(#4 nationally): 12 returning starters (3 offense, 7 defense, 2 special teams)
2. LSU (#10 nationally): 17 returning starters (9 offense, 6 defense, 2 special teams)
3. Auburn (#14 nationally): 13 returning starters (4 offense, 8 defense, 1 special teams)
4. Arkansas (#22 nationally): 16 returning starters (9 offense, 6 defense, 1 special teams)
5. Ole Miss (#20 nationally): 18 returning starters (9 offense, 7 defense, 2 special teams)
6. Texas A&M (#32 nationally): 17 returning starters (8 offense, 8 defense, 1 special teams)
7. Mississippi State (#39 nationally): 8 returning starters (4 offense, 3 defense, 1 special teams)
Here are the position rankings:
Quarterbacks: Florida’s quarterbacks are ranked 10th in the SEC and unranked nationally. Mississippi State (#4 nationally) holds the top spot in the SEC followed by Texas A&M (#12 nationally).
Running backs: The Gators are ranked seventh in the SEC behind Georgia (#1 nationally) and Arkansas (#5 nationally), which are tied for #1.
Receivers: Steele ranks the Gators #7 in the SEC and #38 nationally. Steele has Texas A&M (#4 nationally) and Ole Miss (#10 nationally) ranked 1-2 in the SEC.
Offensive line: The Gators are ranked #13 in the SEC but Phil Steele’s book was published before Mason Halter transferred in from Fordham and T.J. McCoy transferred in from North Carolina State. Steele has Georgia and Arkansas tied for #1 in the SEC but he has Georgia ranked third nationally and Arkansas #5.
Defensive line: Steele ranks the Gators #2 in the SEC behind #1 Alabama, which is also ranked #1 nationally. Steele has the Gators as the #7 D-line in the country.
Linebackers: Even before the addition of Anthony Harrell gave the Gators nine scholarship linebackers, Steele had UF ranked #6 in the SEC and #27 nationally. He has Alabama (#3 nationally) and Ole Miss (#5 nationally) ranked 1-2 in the SEC.
Secondary: Steele has the Gators ranked 1-2 in both the SEC and nationally. Vernon Hargreaves III is the #3 ranked corner.
Special teams: The Gators are ranked #7 in the SEC and #39 nationally. Tops in the SEC are Texas A&M (#10 nationally) and LSU (#16 nationally).
Schedule: Steele rates Florida’s schedule #23 in the nation with Alabama’s schedule rated toughest both in the SEC and nationally. Arkansas has the #2 rated schedule in the SEC, #3 nationally.
Florida 30, Auburn 27; October 29, 1966
When Steve Spurrier ran out onto the field to try a 40-yard field goal with 2:12 remaining and the Gators tied with Auburn, 27-27, Auburn assistant coaches started screaming, “It’s a fake! It’s a fake!” Auburn coach Shug Jordan looked at his assistants and told them, “You better hope it’s a fake. If he kicks it he’ll make it.” Sports writers from all corners of the country were in Gainesville that day to see if Steve Spurrier was everything sports information director Norm Carlson said he was. They had to see in person since the Gators didn’t appear on television even one time that year and only three times in the entire Spurrier era at UF. Spurrier didn’t disappoint. He nailed the 40-yard field goal and with it sealed the Heisman Trophy. Leading up to the kick, Spurrier was brilliant, completing 27-40 passes for 259 yards and a touchdown as well as punting for a 46.9 average, but facing fourth down at the Auburn 25 decisions had to be made. Wayne Barfield was Florida’s kicker and while he never missed an extra point and was money on field goals of 30 or fewer yards, he had never attempted a 40-yarder. During the time out, Ray Graves didn’t know that Spurrier had already switched to a square-toe kicking shoe. He later explained his decision to let Spurrier try the field goal had everything to do with the confidence he saw and felt when Spurrier asked for a chance to win the game. As for the kick, it went straight down the middle and cleared the bar with 4-5 yards to spare. This was just another miracle finish for Spurrier, who was so adept at bringing the Gators back from deficits in the fourth quarter that John Logue of the Atlanta Constitution wrote that day, “Blindfolded and with his back to the wall, with his hands tied behind him, Steve Spurrier would still be a two-point favorite at his own execution.” From that moment on, there was no question who was winning the Heisman. Preseason favorite Bob Griese of Purdue fell back to second place and stayed there. The vote wasn’t even close. Spurrier got 433 first place votes and 1,679 points while Griese managed only 184 and totaled 816. The Gators went on to win the Orange Bowl and finish with a 9-2 record but thanks to Spurrier, it was widely acknowledged that the sleeping giant of Florida football that Bear Bryant had warned about for so many years was very much awake.
Jerry Hinnen of CBSSports.com thinks we have reached the saturation point for bowl games. Hinnen argues there are (a) too many bowl games (40 this year; 41 games if you count the national championship game) and (b) a 6-6 team should not be rewarded with an extra game and the 15 extra practice days that go with it.
Writes Hinnen: “A bowl game is a priviledge, not a right and in a just world, it would be a privilege earned only by teams that have achieved something with their season, not merely going 6-6 in the Mountain West. After all, what have plaeyrs on a .500 team or 7-5 team done to truly justify giving them a handful of days over the holidays, low-key out of town trip, and rare national television appearance?”
Hinnen believes the many games among teams 6-6 and 7-5 teams that populate the bowl schedule only cheapen the overall college football product, that there would be far more interest if there were only enough bowls to accommodate the truly decent teams. The same point Hinnen makes is the one college basketball purists make whenever there is talk of expanding the NCAA Tournament field from 64 to 96 or 128 teams. There comes a point when you’re only doing it for the money because expansion of the tournament would only add teams that have no shot at winning a national championship.
Although the Gators had a substandard year in both football and men’s basketball, 13 top ten finishes enabled Florida to finish among the top four in the Learfield Director’s Cup for the seventh straight year. Florida is the only athletic program in the country that has finished in the top 10 in the national standings for 32 consecutive years.
During the 2014-15 academic year, Florida won two national championships (gymnastics for the third straight year and softball for the second), six SEC championships and one Big East championship (women’s lacrosse).
Four points at the NCAA Track and Field Championships is all that stood between the Florida women and a first place finish in the Capital One Cup. Florida finished 10th at the track championships with 32 points. Four more points would have vaulted them past sixth place Florida State and given the Gators the finish they needed to win the Capital One Cup for the second straight year. Stanford finished with 136.5 points while Florida finished second with 131.
The Gators could not have won the men’s Capital One Cup even a championship at the College World Series. Florida’s third place tie at the CWS gave the Gators 27 points and moved them past Denver for fourth in the Capital One. By winning the CWS, Virginia added 60 points for a comfortable 149-121 margin over second place Oregon. Ohio State (93.5 points) finished third with Florida fourth at 81.
Heading into Sunday night’s game with Cleveland, Baltimore Orioles’ middle relief specialist and former Gator Darren O’Day was 5-0 with a brilliant 1.21 ERA in 31 appearances. O’Day has given up only 17 hits in 29-2/3 innings while walking only eight and striking out 40. Not bad for a guy who got cut when he tried out at UF as a freshman.
Ondre Pipkins, who plans to transfer out of Michigan for his senior season, told EPSN that Jim Harbaugh and other assistant coaches, urged him to sign a medical hardship release “about 10 times” over a two-month period. Pipkins says doctors have cleared him to play football again. Pipkins also claims that at least one other Michigan player has been told by Harbaugh to “get healthy by a July 1 deadline or sign a medical to retire.”
After working at a Michigan football camp with Jim Harbaugh, Jay Cutler claims (a) Harbaugh “gets it” and (b) that he would love to play for Harbaugh. Maybe Harbaugh could turn Cutler into a winning NFL quarterback. Most people think Cutler needs an exorcist, however.
Ole Miss All-SEC left tackle Laremy Tunsil was arrested for punching his stepfather. Tunsil says he was simply defending his mother. Tunsil and his mother have filed charges against the stepfather while the stepfather claims Tunsil initiated the violence and hit him six or seven times.
This is a two-part question: (1) Are there too many bowl games and (2) does the number of games between mediocre teams threaten to lessen interest in college football?
The Nth Power is a New Orleans-based band that combines blues, soul and New Orleans funk for a unique sound that has resonated well on the club and music festival scene in their three years of existence. They’ve produced one album (“Basic Minimum Skills Test” from 2013) but a second album is expected in the fall. They were a hit at Bear Creek Festival in Live Oak last year and will be returning in October. Today’s music is last year’s live performance at Bear Creek.