If nothing else, the collective GPA and IQ of the Florida basketball team is higher today after College of Charleston shooter Canyon Berry announced he will transfer to UF where he will be immediately eligible to play as a graduate senior in 2016-17. Barry is a brilliant 4.0 student who plans to get his degree in nuclear engineering.
He’s not bad on the court, either.
The son of Basketball Hall of Famer Rick Barry, Canyon averaged 19.7 points per game for College of Charleston last year before a shoulder injury ended his season prematurely. He’s a 6-6, 205-pound wing who is as comfortable slashing to the basket as he is pulling up and shooting. He is a good enough ball handler and quick enough that he can get his own shot, which will certainly help to open up the offense. With KeVaughn Allen on one wing and Barry on the other – both capable of getting their own shot – it will force defenses to stretch and that will open things up for the big guys on the inside.
Barry does a good job of getting to the foul line where he hit 84.5% last year, a welcome sight considering some of the Gators’ woes from the stripe last year. And, just for the record, Barry shoots free throws underhanded, just like Rick, a career 90% from the line in the NBA.
The addition of Barry brings Florida’s basketball roster to 12 scholarship players for 2016-17. Mike White could have 13 on scholarship if Alex Murphy is granted an injury waiver to play a sixth year by the NCAA.
RECRUITING EFFICIENTLY: OFFENSIVE LINEMEN
From 2010-14 the Florida Gators recruited 17 offensive linemen of which only 8 started and finished their careers in Gainesville. There were four transfers including Ian Silberman, whose only season as a grad transfer at Boston College resulted in an All-ACC season and getting selected by the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL Draft. There were five medical redshirts.
Although Will Muschamp inherited 11 offensive linemen from Urban Meyer including six who went on to play in the NFL, he only signed nine O-linemen from 2011-13 and lost two to transfer and three to medical hardship so the Gators paid a heavy price with attrition. Muschamp did benefit from Max Garcia and Tyler Moore transferring in.
Even though two of Muschamp’s final 5-man recruiting class had to take medical hardships, the O-line recruiting has been far better since then. Jim McElwain added a 5-man class in 2015 of which three immediately contributed and added two more in 2016. He’s shuffled three former D-linemen over to the offensive side and picked up a transfer in T.J. McCoy, which gives Florida 15 O-linemen for 2016. The ideal number is 17-20 so while UF’s O-line numbers are vastly improved, they’re still not where they need to be.
Chaz Green, T: One of the top recruits in Florida’s outstanding 2010 class, he redshirted in 2010, started 9 games in 2011, 10 games in 2012, and then after taking a medical redshirt in 2013, started 11 games in 2014. He parlayed 30 starts into a 3rd round draft selection by the Dallas Cowboys.
Ian Silberman, T: Silberman took a redshirt in 2010, didn’t play at all in 2011, then got three starts in 2012 and 4 starts in 2013. He graduated, transferred to Boston College and made All-ACC in his only year as a starter. He was drafted in the 6th round by the San Francisco 49ers.
Assessment: Green lived up to the high school hype even though he had to fight through injuries. It wasn’t until he looked good the last month of the 2013 season that coaches figured out that Silberman could play. He had a terrific year at BC after he transferred. This would be a solid to high B if not for the fact Silberman was under-utilized, transferred out and proved he was an outstanding player somewhere else.
Tommy Jordan, G: Jordan took a redshirt in 2012 and after the 2013 season took a medical hardship because of chronic shoulder problems.
Trip Thurman, T: The poster child for player development. Redshirt in 2011, played some on extra point teams as a redshirt freshman 2012, played a lot as a backup and on the field goal unit in 2013, started 10 games at guard in 2014 and started all 14 games either at guard or center in 2015. Signed a free agent deal with the Cincinnati Bengals.
Assessment: Although Thurman is a success story, this class rates a D- because there was a need for at least four O-linemen in the recruiting class.
D.J. Humphries, T: Humphries came in touted as one of the best recruits in the country and three years and 19 starts later left UF as a first round draft choice of the Arizona Cardinals. He had 10 starts at left tackle in 2014 then left early for the NFL.
Jessamyn Dunker, T: After taking a redshirt in 2012, he was dismissed from the team in the spring. He transferred to Tennessee State where he heads into his senior season on the tails of a second team All-Ohio Valley Conference selection.
Assessment: The fact that Humphries was a first round choice is offset by Dunker getting booted from the team and the fact at least four linemen should have been signed. Give this one a C+ for effective recruiting.
Trevon Young, T: Young took a redshirt in 2013 and then transferred out.
Trenton Brown, T: Brown came to UF as a juco transfer and got 5 starts in 2013. He moved inside to guard in 2014 and got 6 starts. He was drafted in the 7th round by the San Francisco 49ers.
Roderick Johnson, T: After a redshirt in 2013 and a promising 2014 when he played in all 12 games and started 3, he was forced to quit because of a medical condition. This was a huge loss.
Octavius Jackson, T: Jackson got a redshirt in 2013, then took a medical hardship in the spring.
Cameron Dillard, C: He redshirted in 2013, backed up Max Garcia (played in 4 games) in 2014, then played in 13 in 2015 with 11 starts. Dillard will go into fall camp as the #1 center.
Assessment: This had the makings of a really good class, but Young transferred out, Jackson took a medical after his only semester with the team and Johnson got only one productive season. Brown developed into a dependable player and Dillard continues to develop heading into his junior year. Give this a C grade.
Andrew Mike, T: Mike got a redshirt in 2014 and then played in four games in 2015.
Kavaris Harkless, T: Harkless redshirted in 2014 and played in one game in 2015.
Drew Savary, T: A juco transfer, Savary played in the first four games of 2014 then was injured and didn’t play again. Gave up football after the season.
Nolan Kelleher, T: Took a redshirt in 2014, then got a medical hardship after the season.
Travaris Dorsey, G: Dorsey redshirted in 2014, didn’t play in 2015 and transferred to Tuskegee Institute in the spring of 2016.
David Sharpe, OT: A US Army All-American out of high school, Sharpe played in six games as a true freshman and worked his way into the rotation as a reserve. He played in all 14 games as a sophomore and started 13.
Assessment: Three of the six are no longer with the program. Sharpe has the potential to be a dominator either at LT or if he’s moved inside to LG. Mike and Harkless are in varying stages of development but both should see the field in the OL rotation this year.
Martez Ivey, T: One of the top 10 recruits regardless of position, Ivey has certainly lived up to expectations. As a true freshman, he played in 12 games, started 8, mostly at LG. He had surgery on both shoulders in the offseason but is expected to make a full recovery and force a decision – move him outside to LT and move Sharpe to LG or move Ivey to RT.
Nick Buchanan, G: Buchanan took a redshirt in 2015.
Fredrick Johnson, T: Came on strong at the end of 2015. He played in eight games and got two starts at right tackle. Was the #1 RT after spring practice.
Brandon Sandifer, G: He came to UF somewhere around 360 pounds and was redshirted. He’s lost something like 50 pounds and is expected to be a contributor in 2016.
Tyler Jordan, C: Jordan is versatile enough to play all five positions on the line. Played in 14 games in 2015 at guard and center and earned three starts. Figure he will start somewhere on the 2016 O-line.
Assessment: This is the first recruiting class since 2010 that didn’t have a transfer or a medical hardship. Three of the five got extensive playing time as true freshmen and the other two have the potential to contribute down the line. You would have to give this group an A-.
Jawaan Taylor, G: He’s expected to redshirt in the fall.
Stone Forsythe, T: He was an early enrollee in the spring. He was impressive enough that he might have a chance to move into the tackle rotation in the fall.
Assessment: If the Gators can avoid injury, both these guys could redshirt in 2016.
FINAL ASSESSMENT OF OFFENSIVE LINEMEN: Attrition has been a problem and the Gators haven’t solved the problem through efficient recruiting. Four transfers really isn’t a big deal but when you add to that number five medical hardships the numbers don’t add up to what’s necessary to compete at the highest levels in the SEC. Further proof of ineffective recruiting shows in All-SEC selections. Not a single recruited player from 2010-15 made All-SEC, either first or second team.
UF SPORTS UPDATE
Football: Former Gator great Reggie McGrew joined the Gators strength and conditioning staff.
Former Gator linebacker Jon Bostic was traded to the Detroit Lions by the New England Patriots. The Patriots receive a conditional 7th-round draft pick in 2017. Bostic played two seasons with the Chicago Bears before the Patriots acquired him in a trade last season. Bostic was a second round draft pick of the Bears after the 2012 season.
Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Ryan Sousa has elected to transfer out. He took a redshirt in 2014, then played in two games with no stats in 2015. If Sousa wants to play immediately, his best bet will be the D1AA route. If he transfers to a Division I school he will have to sit the 2016 season.
Baseball: The Gators (40-8, 17-7 SEC) remained #1 nationally by taking two out of three games over the weekend against Tennessee. The Gators will be home tonight against USF (21-26) of the American Athletic Conference. Sophomore lefty Scott Moss (2-0, 0.68 ERA) is expected to get the start against the Bulls’ Michael Clarkson.
The Gators will play host to #7 Vanderbilt (36-12, 14-10 SEC) in a key 3-game Southeastern Conference showdown starting Friday.
Softball: Kelly Barnhill, who pitched a no-hitter and struck out 10 against Arkansas Sunday, was named SEC Freshman of the Week. With the win, Barnhill improved to 15-0 on the season and lowered her ERA to 1.32.
The #1-ranked Gators (52-4, 20-4 SEC) head to Starkville for the SEC Tournament where they will try to add the tournament title to their regular season SEC championship. The Gators are idle until Thursday when they play the winner of the Ole Miss (38-19, 11-13 SEC)-Georgia (40-16, 12-13 SEC) game in the quarterfinals.
Men’s Tennis: Bryan Shelton was selected ITA Southeast Region Coach of the Year and Alredo Perez was selected Southeast Freshman of the Year.
Righthander Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nets have agreed to a 7-year, $175 million contract extension. That’s nice work if you can get it.
Max Weitzenhoffer, the chairman of the University of Oklahoma’s Board of Regents, is definitely on a different page than university president David Boren. Boren is one of the most outspoken advocates of Big 12 Conference expansion while Weitzenhoffer opposes it, saying he doesn’t “feel expansion is in the best interests of our football team.
David Ching of ESPN.com rates the best five quarterbacks of the past 10 years in the SEC like this: (1) Tim Tebow, Florida; (2) Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M; (3) Cam Newton, Auburn; (4) Aaron Murray, Georgia; and (5) A.J. McCarron, Alabama. I agree with Tebow, but I would vote like this: (1) Tebow; (2) Newton; (3) McCarron; (4) Manziel and (5) Connor Shaw, South Carolina.
QUESTION OF THE DAY
If you were to rate the five best quarterbacks in the SEC of the last decade who would they be?
MUSIC FOR TODAY
One of the great blues voices of all time belonged to the late Bobby “Blue” Bland. “That’s the Way That Love Is” ranks as one of the greatest blues ballads of all time. I found this video of Bobby Blue Bland called “The Night, The Street, The Man” which was recorded on Beale Street in Memphis.