Street and Smith, Lindy’s and Athlon preseason college football magazines have hit the stands and while all three have the Gators ranked in the top 25, Sporting News is the only one of the three to pick Florida to win the SEC East for a third consecutive year.
Street and Smith ranks the Gators 13th in its preseason picks, winning the East followed by #14 Georgia, #24 Tennessee, South Carolina, Kentucky, Missouri and Vanderbilt. Florida’s Martez Ivey is a second team All-American offensive lineman. Ivey and safety Marcel Harris are picked first team All-SEC.
Florida is the preseason #16 for Lindy’s, which picks Georgia #12 and winning the East followed by Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina, Kentucky, Vanderbilt and Missouri. Ivey and defensive end CeCe Jefferson made first team All-SEC. Picked second team were wide receiver/all purpose Antonio Callaway, defensive end Jabari Zuniga, corner Duke Dawson and punter Johnny Townsend. On the third team are tight end DeAndre Goolsby, placekicker Eddie Pineiro and corner Chauncey Gardner.
Athlon picks Florida at #16 but has the Gators finishing second in the SEC East behind #15 Georgia, followed by #19 Tennessee, South Carolina, Kentucky, Vanderbilt and Missouri. Athlon selected corner Duke Dawson and placekicker Eddie Pineiro second team All-American. Picked first team All-SEC was Dawson. On the second team were Ivey, Callaway, Jefferson, Zuniga, Pineiro and Townsend. On the third team were Goolsby and O-lineman Jawaan Taylor and Harris.
#1 FLORIDA VS. #16 ALABAMA IN NCAA SOFTBALL SUPER REGIONAL
Florida’s quest to return to Oklahoma City after a one-year absence from the Womens College World Series continues tonight when the #1 seed Gators (53-7) host #16 Alabama (45-16) at Katie Seashole Presley Stadium (7 p.m., ESPN). The game should be a matchup between two of the biggest strikeout artists in the country in Florida’s Kelly Barnhill (23-2, 0.35 ERA, 310 strikeouts in 161-2/3 innings) and Alabama’s Alexis Osorio (22-7, 1.22 ERA, 318 strikeouts in 190 innings).
Barnhill is one of three finalists for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year.
BEST RECEIVERS IN UF FOOTBALL HISTORY
From 1965-2009 you could call Florida Receivers U. Few schools have put out the number of quality receivers as UF. The following list isn’t all the outstanding receivers but there is only so much time to do the research.
Charles Casey: Casey was Florida’s first great receiver. For two years he was Steve Spurrier’s go-to guy, leading the SEC in receiving in both 1964-65. He was first team All-America in 1965 when he caught 58 passes for 809 yards and eight touchdowns. His career numbers were 114 catches for 1,612 yards (14.1 per catch) and 13 TDs. Casey was first team All-SEC in 1964-65.
Richard Trapp: His 52-yard run for a touchdown against Georgia in 1967 after catching a short pass from Larry Rentz might be the single greatest run in Florida football history. Trapp was first team All-SEC in 1966-67. He led the SEC in receiving in 1966 when he caught 63 passes for 872 yards and seven touchdowns. His career totals were 132 catches for 1,783 yards (13.5 per catch) and 10 TDs.
Carlos Alvarez: The Cuban Comet burst onto the scene as one of the Super Sophs of 1969. His first catch as a Gator was a 70-yard touchdown pass from John Reaves in the season opener against Houston. That season he was first team All-America when he caught 88 passes for 1,329 yards and 12 touchdowns. Then came the Douglas Adair Dickey Disaster. Despite the overhaul of the offense from wide open to ever so conservative, Carlos played through numerous injuries and finished his career with 172 catches for 2,563 yards (14.9) and 19 touchdowns. He’s a member of the College Football and Academic All-America halls of fame.
Lee McGriff: McGriff wasn’t the biggest or fastest receiver in the SEC, but whenever the Gators threw the ball (infrequently) he was always open. He led the SEC in receptions in 1974 when he caught 38 passes for 750 yards and seven touchdowns. A second team All-SEC pick in 1973, McGriff was a first team selection in 1974, He finished his career with 89 catches for 1,603 yards (18.0 per catch) and 13 touchdowns.
Wes Chandler: It is absolutely scary to think what kind of numbers Chandler would have put up if he had played in a Steve Spurrier offense. As it was, in a wishbone offense when everyone in the ball yard knew if the Gators were throwing he was going to be the receiver he still made first team All-America in 1976-77. Statistically his best year was 1976 when he caught 44 passes for 967 yards and 10 touchdowns. In 1977 when injuries depleted the running backs, Chandler doubled as a running back. He caught 25 passes for 490 yards and six touchdowns that year and ran 61 times for 356 yards and six more touchdowns. He almost singlehandedly destroyed Georgia in 1977 when he caught a touchdown pass and ran for two. He’s a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.
Cris Collinsworth: Collinsworth holds an NCAA record that will never be broken – a 99-yard touchdown pass to Derrick Gaffney in 1977 when he was a freshman quarterback. When Doug Dickey scrapped the wishbone in 1978, Collinsworth didn’t have the arm to play quarterback but he had the speed (he was the state sprint champion as a senior at Titusville Astronaut) to play wideout. Over the next three years he caught 120 passes for 1,937 yards (16.1 per catch) for 14 touchdowns, earning first team All-SEC honors each year and first team All-America in 1980. He’s a member of the Academic All-America Hall of Fame.
Ricky Nattiel: The lasting memory of Nattiel is him streaking down the sideline against Georgia en route to a 96-yard touchdown reception from Kerwin Bell in Florida’s 27-0 win in 1984. That year he also led the NCAA in punt returns in 1984 (15.7 per return). A first team All-SEC selection in 1986 when he made second team All-America, Nattiel finished his Florida career with 117 receptions for 2,086 yards (17.8 per catch) and 18 touchdowns. He ran for two touchdowns and averaged 11.2 on punts (one TD) and a 19.5 average on kickoff returns.
Kirk Kirkpatrick (TE): Kirkpatrick probably wonders what his career would have been if Steve Spurrier had arrived a couple of years earlier. In his one season under SOS (in 1990), Kirkpatrick was one of the nation’s most productive tight ends with 57 catches for 770 yards and seven touchdowns. He was first team All-SEC and second team All-American. His career numbers at UF are 82 catches for 1,106 yards (13.5 per catch) and seven touchdowns.
Willie Jackson: Has anyone in college football ever run a slant pattern better than Willie Jackson? He was the last player signed by Steve Spurrier in 1990 and some say it was simply a legacy scholarship since Willie Sr. played for the Gators some 20 years before. He made second team All-SEC in 1991 and first team in 1992 when he caught 62 passes for 772 yards and eight touchdowns. He finished his career with 162 catches for 2,172 yards (13.4 per catch) and 24 touchdowns.
Jack Jackson: If you want a poster child for someone who should have stayed in school instead of going pro it’s Jack Jackson. A consensus All-American in 1994 when he caught 57 passes for 855 yards and 15 touchdowns, he left early for the NFL where his one-year career in Chicago resulted in four catches for 39 yards and two fumbles. Jackson finished his career with 143 catches for 2,266 yards (15.8 per catch) and 29 touchdowns. He was named second team All-SEC in 1992, first team in 1993.
Chris Doering: A former walk-on, Doering earned his Florida legend status when he caught the game-winning touchdown pass from Danny Wuerffel against Kentucky in 1993. His best season was 1995 when he was a first team All-SEC choice and second team All-America. That year he caught 70 passes for 1,045 yards and 17 touchdowns. In his UF career Doering caught 149 passes for 2,107 yards (14.1 per catch) and a still SEC record 31 touchdowns.
Riedel Anthony: Anthony’s big year was Florida’s 1996 national championship season when he caught 72 passes for 1,293 yards and 18 touchdowns. Anthony made first team All-SEC and first team All-American in 1996. For his career, Anthony caught 126 passes for 2,274 yards (18.0 per catch) and 26 touchdowns. He also averaged 23.2 yards on 35 kickoff returns with one TD and returned 23 punts for an 11.2 average.
Ike Hilliard: The play he will always be remembered for was the full speed change of direction that turned into a 31-yard touchdown pass against FSU in the 1996 national championship game. Hilliard was crossing right to left, made the catch, stopped on a dime and went left, leaving the Seminoles in their tracks. In three years, Hilliard caught 126 passes for 2,214 yards (17.6 per catch) and 29 touchdowns. He made second team All-America in 1995 and first team in 1996.
Jacquez Green: The play he will always be remembered for is the 62-yard reception that set up the game-winning touchdown in Florida’s 32-29 win over FSU that kept the Seminoles out of the 1997 national championship game. That 1997 season was Green’s turn to shine since Hilliard and Anthony left a year early for the pros. He made first team All-SEC and first team All-American in 1997 when he caught 61 passes for 1,024 yards and nine touchdowns and finished his career with 113 catches for 2,181 yards (19.3 per catch) and 23 touchdowns.
Travis McGriff: Like father, like son. Like his dad Lee, Travis wasn’t the biggest or fastest but he put together a 1998 All-American season in which he caught 70 passes for 1,357 yards and 10 touchdowns. A high school quarterback at P.K. Yonge in Gainesville, McGriff’s career numbers were 123 catches for 2,057 (16.7) and 14 TDs.
Jabar Gaffney: In Rex Grossman, Jabar Gaffney found the football equivalent of a soulmate. His rise as a receiver coincided with Grossman taking over as the starting QB in 2000. That year he caught 71 passes for 1,184 yards and 14 touchdowns, following that up with 67 catches for 1,191 yards and 13 TDs in 2001. His career numbers of 138 catches for 2,375 (17.2 per catch) yards and 27 touchdowns are astonishing when you consider he only played two years at UF before bolting to the NFL. He was first team All-SEC and first team All-America in both 2000 and 2001.
Ben Troupe (TE): When the Gators discovered he not only could catch the football but do something with it after the catch, Troupe blossomed. That was 2003 when he caught 39 passes for 638 yards and five touchdowns while earning first team All-SEC honors and second team All-America. His career numbers were 64 catches for 958 yards (15.0 per catch) and seven touchdowns.
Dallas Baker: His story is one of the best in recent Florida football history. He signed in 2001 and couldn’t get in school so he went to prep school, but still had to redshirt as a freshman (2002) because he wasn’t up to par academically. In his first two years he was best remembered on the field for a personal foul that helped Tennessee get the field position necessary for the game-winning field goal in Knoxville in 2004 and off the field as a slacker. Then he met Urban Meyer who convinced him he could succeed in the classroom and could be a very good football player if he dedicated himself. So he ended up being an honors student his last two years and got his college degree, something no one ever expected when he arrived in Gainesville. Oh, and during those last two years he was Florida’s toughest and most dependable receiver. On Florida’s 2006 national championship team he caught 60 passes for 920 yards and 10 touchdowns while making first team All-SEC. He finished his UF career with 151 catches for 2,236 yards (14.8 per catch) and 21 touchdowns.
Bubba Caldwell: Caldwell rebounded from a broken leg in 2005 to become Florida’s all-time leading receiver with 185 catches that were good for 2,349 yards (12.7 per catch) and 16 touchdowns. He also ran for 293 yards (7.1 per carry) and four touchdowns and averaged 20.3 yards on 37 kickoff returns.
Percy Harvin: Was he a running back or was he a wide receiver? Yes. We’ll call him a wide receiver since a lot of his running plays on jet sweeps. In his three years he ran for 1,852 yards (9.5 per carry) and 19 touchdowns and caught 133 passes for 644 yards (14.5 per catch) for 13 touchdowns. Harvin was a two-time first team All-America (2007-08). In 2007 he ran for 764 yards and six touchdowns and caught 59 passes for 858 yards and four touchdowns, then followed that up in the Gators’ 2008 national championship season with 660 yards and 10 touchdowns while catching 40 passes for 664 yards and seven TDs.
Aaron Hernandez: Forget what happened after he left Florida and simply look back at what he did on the field. As tight ends go, Hernandez was as good as it got. A first team All-American and winner of the Mackey Award as the nation’s best tight end in 2009 when he caught 68 passes for 850 yards and five touchdowns. In his three-year collegiate career, Hernandez made 111 catches for 1,382 yards (12.5 per catch) and 12 touchdowns.
Five star shooting guard M.J. Walker (6-5, 207) will sign with Florida State, choosing the Seminoles over UCLA, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and Ohio State. I only have one question. Why? Does anyone squander more good talent than Leonard Hamilton?
Bartow native Tony Bradley, who came off the bench as a freshman at North Carolina last season, will hire an agent and stay in the NBA Draft.
The Orlando Magic are contemplating trading their sixth pick in the first round of the NBA Draft. Whether they trade it for veterans or keep the pick, I have complete faith the Magic will find a way to turn it into a complete and total disaster.
The Cleveland Cadavers are a win away from a third straight rematch with the Golden State Warriors for the NBA championship. I’m pretty sure I’ll watch the finals, but I could be distracted if there is a Green Acres or Andy Griffith marathon on one of the cable channels.
Le’Veon Bell of the Pittsburgh Steelers donated $750,000 to his old high school (Groveport-Madison High School, Groveton, Ohio) for new turf at its football stadium. More professional athletes need to take care of the high schools that were gave them their first big opportunity.
CBSSports.com columnist Bill Reiter opines that Baylor should put a permanent end to its football program in light of the recent Title IX lawsuit.
Unique Brissett II, a 20-year-old student at Westchester Community College in New York, started an online campaign posing as a wide receiver from juco Globe Institute of Technology with offers from Michigan, Michigan State, Miami, Penn State and Kentucky. He used highlights of another player as his own. He got busted when 247Sports reporter Andrew Ivins tracked down Miami coaches who admitted they had never once contacted him. Brissett said he did it for “attention and followers.”
QUESTION OF THE DAY
How would you rate the best receivers in Florida football history?
MUSIC FOR TODAY
Back in 1967-68, old high school buddies Steve Miller and Boz Scaggs reunited and put out two albums. “Children of the Future” was moderately successful in 1967 but in 1968 the Steve Miller Band hit the big time with “Sailor,” an album that featured the hit single “Livin’ in the USA,” which remains one of rock and roll’s all time classics. Today’s music is “Sailor” with Scaggs and Miller on vocals and Jim Peterman on keyboards.