Edgar Thompson, the outstanding Florida beat writer for the Orlando Sentinel, has reported that Caleb Brantley has refused a settlement offer with the alleged female victim of a misdemeanor battery case in which Brantley is accused of knocking the woman unconscious.
Defense attorney Huntley Johnson has maintained all along that Brantley is innocent and actually the victim in this case. Johnson has a video of the alleged victim leaving the scene of the incident.
What Johnson claims is quite different than the report filed by the Gainesville Police Department. The GPD report says Brantley struck the woman “out of retaliation and not self defense,” further stating Brantley “far exceeded what was reasonable or necessary.”
But the GPD report is in conflict with the owner of the Gainesville bar where the alleged incident occurred and a security guard witness per Jason Cole, an NFL writer for Bleacher report. Here are two Tuesday afternoon tweets from Cole:
None of this is likely to restore Brantley’s draft stock, which has taken a serious enough hit. Prior to this incident he was thought to be a late first to early second round selection. As it stands now, if Brantley is drafted it will be in the late rounds so this incident will definitely cost him millions.
I don’t know enough about what happened to form an opinion, but I know Huntley Johnson well enough that if he’s turning down a settlement offer, he’s pretty confident that he’s got the facts to back his client’s claim of innocence.
MCMURTRY WINS HONDA SPORTS AWARD FOR GYMNASTICS
NCAA all-around champ Alex McMurtry has been named the 2017 recipient of the Honda Sports Award for gymnastics. The award is part of the Collegiate Women Sports Awards program that recognizes the top collegiate female athlete in 12 sports. This is the third straight year a Gator has won the Honda award in gymnastics. Bridget Sloan won in 2016 and Kytra Hunter won in 2015. Sloan also won the award in 2013.
McMurtry also won the NCAA Elite90 Award for her outstanding work in the classroom. She carries a 4.0 in applied physiology and kinesiology-exercise physiology.
SOME DRAFT THOUGHTS
Jalen Tabor’s draft stock has gone south because of those slow 40 times at the combine and at Florida’s pro day, but the scouts have plenty of tape on him showing productivity. It’s safe to say he won’t go in the first round but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Atlanta Falcons or the Oakland Raiders go for him if they can get him in the second or third rounds. Both teams have a strong Florida connection – Falcons HBC Dan Quinn was UF’s DC for two years and Raiders HBC Jack Del Rio only has to consult with son Luke about Tabor’s work ethic.
Speaking of the Florida connection, more than one mock draft has the Raiders taking Florida’s Jarrad Davis in the first round. The Raiders signed former Gator Jelani Jenkins to a free agent contract in the offseason.
The steal of the draft is going to be Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon. While so many teams have backed away because of the video of him punching a woman in the face more than three years ago, there is no denying he is an immense talent and might be the most NFL ready of any back in the draft. Mixon ran for 1,274 yards and 10 touchdowns and caught 37 passes for 538 yards and five more TDs in 2016. My prediction is the Oakland Raiders take Mixon in the second round and a lot of teams will live to regret they didn’t grab him earlier when they had the chance.
Former Notre Dame QB DeShone Kizer has such a high opinion of himself, but a good many NFL scouts aren’t quite as enamored. An NFL Scout told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s Bob McGinn that Kizer is “caught up in being more of a quarterback image than being a quarterback … They’re going to have to get him to focus on football … The one position in the building you don’t want to worry about whether he’s going to be focused on football is quarterback.”
The New York Jets are likely to trade their #6 pick in the first round to the Cleveland Browns, who are enamored with North Carolina QB Mitch Trubisky. The Browns will take Myles Garrett (DE, Texas A&M) with the first pick and then trade some draft picks to the Jets including the #12 overall so they can land Trubisky. The Jets, meanwhile, will get the QB they’ve craved all along in Deshaun Watson.
The Jacksonville Jaguars need a playmaker on the offensive side of the ball. There is a juicy rumor out there that the Jags are considering taking LSU’s Leonard Fournette with the fourth pick in the first round.
If I am the GM of the New York Giants I would draft Washington receiver John Ross and his 4.22 speed to complement Odell Beckham Jr. Someone as fast as John Ross will require a double team. Odell Beckham also requires a double team. Eli Manning has to drool at the thought of having a receiver like that AND Beckham, too.
Expect the Tampa Bay Bucs to draft former Seminole Dalvin Cook if he’s still available when the 19th pick comes around.
DALE JR. IS RETIRING AFTER THIS NASCAR SEASON
Dale Earnhardt Jr. is going to retire from NASCAR after this season. He has won 26 races in his career, which makes him one of the top 30 drivers in NASCAR history. By any stretch of the imagination he’s been a great success but he’s been burdened by that last name: Earnhardt. Most folks would say that Dale Sr. was the second best NASCAR driver of all time, second only to Richard Petty.
In the eyes of fans, Dale Jr. has never lived up to the legend of his daddy, just like Kyle Petty never lived up to the legend of Richard Petty. There is something grossly unfair that so many fans think of Dale Jr. and Kyle Petty as failures.
I can’t speak for Kyle Petty’s interaction with fans, but I do know something about Dale Jr. I’ve watched him sign autograph after autograph and answer the same question from well-meaning fans until the average person would roll his eyes back in his head or scream if he heard it again. But not Dale Earnhardt Jr. He was always polite, always treated the fans as if he was privileged to be in their presence and not the other way around.
That’s how I will remember him and not as someone who didn’t do as well as his legendary daddy.
Adrian Peterson will sign with the New Orleans Saints, a deal worth a reported $7 million of which half is guaranteed.
Hamidou Diallo enrolled at Kentucky in January and then took a redshirt. Instead of sticking around to play basketball for John Calipari and the Wildcats next season, Diallo has declared for the NBA Draft. He hasn’t hired an agent yet, but consensus is that he’ll be among the first 20 picks if he stays in the draft. Translation: He isn’t coming back.
If I’m an NBA general manager with early picks in the June draft I’m in a dilemma over UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball. Sure, Ball is one of the two or three most talented players available but drafting him means dealing with his dad, LaVar Ball. I wouldn’t wish that on an enemy. If he’s available at #3 when the Los Angeles Lakers pick, does Magic Johnson make his first big move as the Lakers’ GM by drafting Lonzo and taking his chances with LaVar?
Is there a worse front office in all of professional sports than the New York Knicks it has to be the Orlando Magic? It’s a bad situation in Orlando right now but I would bet the farm that they’ll figure out a way to make it worse with the upcoming NBA Draft. It’s more than 20 years later but I’m still miffed that the Magic traded Chris Weber and then let Shaq get away.
Jacob Coker, who quarterbacked Alabama to the 2015 national championship, is retiring from football. He hurt his knee in NFL training camp last summer and missed all of last season. Noting he doesn’t want another knee surgery, Coker told AL.com that he is “ready to move on” and that he has “no regrets.”
Apparently former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville has decided he will not run for governor of Alabama.
One day after he declared for the NBA Draft, point guard Joel Berry II has withdrawn his name and will return to North Carolina for his senior season. Carolina is still waiting for Theo Pinson and Tony Bradley to decide if they’re staying in the draft or coming back.
Vanderbilt is the landing spot for Notre Dame transfer Matt Ryan (6-7, 220), a small forward who’s thought to be a deadeye 3-ball shooter. Ryan will sit a year per NCAA rules then have two years of basketball eligibility remaining.
Danny Etling, who finished last season as LSU’s starting quarterback, has undergone what Coach O calls “a minor back procedure.” Coach O says Etling should be ready to go in plenty of time prior to August practice. Etling was underwhelming at LSU’s spring game.
Is this a sign that the luster has worn off Kirby Smart at Georgia? The top four prospects in the state are all committed to out of state programs. The latest to just say no to Kirby is defensive end Brenton Cox, who committed to Ohio State just after his visit to Athens for the Georgia spring game.
Former Yankee great Derek Jeter and his partner, former Florida governor Jeb Bush, won exclusive negotiating rights to purchase the Miami Marlins. If Major League Baseball owners approve the sale – figure it’s a rubber stamp – Jeffrey Loria will get a return of $1.3 billion on an initial investment of $158 million.
QUESTION OF THE DAY
We’re a day away from the NFL Draft. Put yourself in the shoes of the Cleveland Browns. Do you draft Myles Garrett with the #1 choice, go for quarterback Mitch Trubisky or do you make a deal that includes several draft picks?
MUSIC FOR TODAY
The more I listen to the music of The Lumineers the more I enjoy their brand of folk rock. They’ve produced three albums, one which made it to #2 on the Billboard charts and the most recent (“Cleopatra”) to #1. They will be opening this summer for U2.