It’s too easy to pile on Treon Harris now that it has been announced that he has been released from his University of Florida scholarship and is free to transfer. Harris went 9-6 as a starter – 4-2 in 2014 when he took over from an ineffective Jeff Driskel and 5-4 in 2015, which included eight straight starts after Will Grier was suspended from the team for use of a performance enhancing drug. He threw for 2,695 yards, 18 TDs (10 INTs) and completed barely 50% of his passes. You can’t sugar coat the numbers. At best, Harris was a very average quarterback, but Gators should be thankful for his contributions. Jeff Driskel had the Gators going nowhere in 2014 and Harris got UF to a bowl game. The only QB on the roster when Grier was suspended was Vandy transfer Josh Grady, who hadn’t taken a QB snap in a real game since 2013.
While Harris didn’t exactly rip and shred SEC defenses, he was about what you might expect for an undersized backup who had to learn the offense on the fly in 2014 and then had to learn a brand new offense his second year. Maybe he wasn’t SEC caliber but he did the best he could and he won more than he lost, which is more than can be said about a lot of backup QBs in the SEC over the past few years.
The departure of Harris isn’t without clouds of mystery, however. He was suspended in January, didn’t participate in spring football, and it was only recently was announced that he was back on the team as well as changing positions from QB to wide receiver. There is no official word why he was suspended and what kind of punishment or suspension he would have faced in the fall. It is particularly hard to gauge what the punishment might have been because Harris was involved in a few brushes with authorities during his two years at UF.
Best bet for a transfer location: West Virginia.
Mike Hugenin of Gridironnow.com writes about Harris: “His departure is not surprising. He never would have seen another meaningful snap at Florida, and his decision opens up another scholarship for a team still seeking playmakers. But sources tell GN that Harris created some rifts with teammates because of off-field incidents, and in some circles, his leaving will be viewed as a positive in the locker room.”
Quarterbacks recruited by UF since 2010: Not one quarterback recruited by UF since 2010 has started and finished his career in Gainesville.
Tyler Murphy (2010): Transferred to Boston College in 2014; passed for 1,623 yards and 13 TDs and ran for 1,179 yards and 11 TDs in 2014.
Jeff Driskel (2011): Transferred to Louisiana Tech in 2015; threw for 4,033 yards and 27 TDs.
Jacoby Brissett (2011): Transferred to North Carolina State in 2013; threw for 5,268 yards and 43 TDs in 2014-15.
Skyler Mornhinweg (2013): Transferred to Columbia in 2015; threw for 1,321 yards and 6 TDs.
Max Staver (2013): Transferred to Tyler Junior College in 2014 and to Houston Baptist in 2015; threw for 1,010 yards and 5 TDs at HBU in 2015.
Will Grier (2014): Transferred to West Virginia in 2016.
Treon Harris (2014): Released from his scholarship July 25, 2016.
Luke Del Rio (2015): Transferred to UF in 2015 from Oregon State; re-classified as a redshirt sophomore.
Kyle Trask (2016): Freshman
Feleipe Franks (2016): Freshman
Austin Appleby (2016): Graduate transfer from Purdue.
MCELWAIN, ASSISTANTS GET RAISES
HBC Jim McElwain has been given a $725,000 raise to $4.25 million per year, which makes him the highest paid coach in the SEC Eastern Division. McElwain’s contract is good through 2020. McElwain’s assistants will be paid $4.23 million in 2016, which is a 23.7% raise from last year’s assistant salary pool of $3.42 million.
Defensive coordinator Geoff Collins received a raise to $890,000. If he remains with Florida, he will receive a retention bonus of $150,000 which means he be one of the few assistant coaches around the country paid more than $1 million.
Offensive line coach Mike Summers, paid only $200,000 the last two years because he was under a contract buyout from Southern Cal, was raised to $498,500. D-line coach Chris Rumph got an $85,000 raise to $500,000 while linebacker coach Randy Shannon was raised to $409,750. Secondary coach Torrian Gray will make $335,000.
Other news from around the SEC:
Alabama: Christian Bell a 2015 linebacker recruit who grayshirted and enrolled in January of 2016 is transferring out, joining sophomore DB Shawn Burgess-Becker (to UCF), redshirt freshman LB Adonis Thomas (to juco) and senior DB Maurice Smith (no destination yet) on the departure list ... Nick Saban does not have a buyout on his contract if he elects to leave Alabama.
Auburn: The fourth year is troublesome for Auburn football coaches. The 11 football coaches who have made it to year four have a combined record of 64-44-4 with Pat Dye and Tommy Tuberville leading the way with 9-4 records. Gus Malzahn heads into year four with a 27-13 career record at Auburn. Malzahn has a buyout of $8.95 million.
Georgia: Redshirt freshman O-lineman Mirko Jurkovich will take a medical hardship. Originally committed to Ohio State, Jurkovich signed with Georgia out of IMG Academy. He suffered a knee injury in fall camp at UGa in 2015 and injured the other knee during spring practice ... The buyout for Kirby Smart is $13.5 million.
Kentucky: The Wildcats have a new $45 million football training facility. The 98,000 square foot building includes a nutrition center, smoothie bar, weight room/conditioning center, dining area, hot and cold pools and a barber shop … Mark Stoops is under contract until 2020. His buyout would cost UK nearly $14 million.
LSU: Placekicker Colby Delahoussaye was injured in the same auto accident that killed Nebraska punter Sam Foltz and former Michigan State punter Mike Sadler. Delahoussaye was riding in the back seat and suffered only minor injuries. The players had been participating at Kohl’s Kicking Camp in Wales, WI ... If fired prior to December 31, LSU would have to pay Les Miles $12.9 million per Andy Staples.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs picked up three commitments at their version of Friday Night Lights including two stud jucos in DT Deion Pope and OG Tyre Phillips, a 6-6, 350-pound masher.
Ole Miss: LaQuon Treadwell, who caught 82 passes for 1,153 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2015, says he played the whole season on one leg. A #1 draft pick of the Minnesota Vikings, Treadwell told the St. Paul Pioneer Press, “I wasn’t at 100% at all last season.”
South Carolina: The buyout for Will Muschamp’s contract is set at 70% of whatever is owed for the remainder of his contract.
Tennessee: The buyout for Butch Jones is $2.5 million per year for whatever is left on his contract, which runs through 2020.
Texas A&M: If Kevin Sumlin is fired, A&M would owe him $15 million within 60 days of the firing per Andy Staples of Sports Illustrated.
SEC SPORTS INFORMATION DIRECTORS PICK THE BEST IN THE LEAGUE
Most valuable player: Leonard Fournette, LSU, RB
Must underrated: O.J. Howard, Alabama, TE
Top Heisman candidate: Leonard Fournette, LSU, RB
Most versatile: Christian Kirk, Texas A&M, WR/KR
Best inside linebacker: Reuben Forster, Alabama
Best outside linebacker: Tim Williams, Alabama
Best D-lineman: Myles Garrett, Texas A&M, DE
Best cornerback: JALEN TABOR, FLORIDA
Best safety: Eddie Jackson, Alabama
Best running back: Leonard Fournette, LSU
Best passer: Chad Kelly, Ole Miss
Best offensive tackle: Cam Robinson, Alabama, LT
Best receiver: Calvin Ridley, Alabama
Best kick returner: Isaiah McKenzie, Georgia
Best placekicker: Daniel Carlson, Auburn
Best Punter: JK Scott, Alabama
Best athlete: Leonard Fournette, LSU, RB
GRIDIRON NOW RATES SEC TOP 10 WR/TOP 5 TE FOR 2016
1. Calvin Ridley, Alabama, SO
2. Christian Kirk, Texas A&M, SO
3. Malachi Dupre, LSU, JR
4. Damore’ea Stringfellow, Ole Miss, JR
5. Fred Ross, Mississippi State, SR
6. ANTONIO CALLAWAY, FLORIDA, SO
7. Josh Reynolds, Texas A&M, SR
8. Drew Morgan, Arkansas, SR
9. Deebo Samuel, South Carolina, SO
10. Terry Godwin, Georgia, SO
1. Evan Engram, Ole Miss, SR
2. O.J. Howard, Alabama, SR
3. Jeremy Sprinkle, Arkansas, SR
4. Ethan Wolf, Tennessee, JR
5. DEANDRE GOOLSBY, FLORIDA
HOTTEST COACHING SEAT IN EACH LEAGUE
SEC: Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M (36-16 in four years)
ACC: Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech (61-44 in eight years)
BIG 12: Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech (19-19 in three years)
BIG Ten: Darrell Hazell, Purdue (6-30 in three years)
PAC-12: Mike MacIntyre, Colorado (10-27 in three years)
American: Phillip Montgomery, Tulsa (6-7 in one year)
Mountain West: Craig Bohl, Wyoming (6-18 in two years)
Conference USA: Charlie Partridge, Florida Atlantic (6-18 in two years)
MAC: Chuck Martin, Miami (5-19 in two years)
Sun Belt: Trent Miles, Georgia State (7-30 in three years)
The National Football League says it “found no credible evidence” to substantiate the allegations of Al-Jazeera America that Peyton Manning used HGH or other performance enhancement drugs (PEDs). Al-Jazeera claimed back in December that Peyton received shipments of HGH through his wife. The NFL says it thoroughly investigated the allegations and said that Peyton and wife Ashley were “fully cooperative.” The NFL is still in the process of investigating Julius Peppers and Clay Matthews of the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison.
Baylor will pay interim head coach Jim Grobe $1.25 million to coach the team in 2016. Under no circumstance do I think Grobe will be coaching the Bears in 2017. The new Baylor AD is Mack Rhoades, the same guy who hired Tom Herman from Ohio State to come to Houston. Rhoades and Herman remain closest of friends. Given that friendship, Baylor’s facilities and the bottomless pit deep pockets of boosters such as Drayton McClane, I would bet Baylor wins the inevitable bidding war to land Herman after the 2016 season.
You can almost bet the farm the Big 12 Conference is going to expand and that Houston has locked up one of the expansion slots. Now, will the league expand by two teams or four? The guess here is four and the other three could be UCF, Cincinnati and Memphis. BYU is begging to join the league but that never on Sunday restriction by the Mormon Church will X that out and I just can’t see the Big 12 adding a football-only member.
By landing closer Aroldis Chapman in a trade with the Yankees, the Chicago Cubs look formidable the rest of the way. Chapman, whose fast ball was clocked last week at 105.1 mph, posted a 2.01 ERA and 20 saves with the Yankees. In six years with the Cincinnati Reds, Chapman posted 146 saves and a 2.17 ERA.
Tyronn Lue, who took over the second half of the season and led the Cleveland Cavaliers to the NBA championship after going down 3-1 to Golden State in the finals, got a 5-year, $35 million contract extension on Monday. The first four years of the contract are guaranteed.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver removed the NBA All-Star Game from Charlotte because of the state’s bathroom bill but he actively does business with China, which has a long list of some of the worst human rights violations. Silver claims moving the all-star game had to do with NBA values. What values are those, pray tell?
QUESTION OF THE DAY
With the promise of continued upgrades in facilities and raising the pay level of assistant coaches to a competitive level with the rest of the Southeastern Conference, do you feel good about the direction of the University of Florida football program?
MUSIC FOR TODAY
Leftover Salmon is a Colorado-based progressive bluegrass band that is highly entertaining. They describe their work as a blend of country, bluegrass, rock and roll and Cajun. Active on the concert/bar circuit since 1989, the band has produced eight albums. Today’s music is a live performance in Asheville, NC from back in May.