Meyer Era NFL Gators Putting Up Numbers

It's one thing to talk the talk, but Urban Meyer can walk the walk when it comes to showing the players he has helped mentor at Florida are actually producing in the NFL. It is common for high school prospects to list a professional career in football as a reason to choose one college program over another. Well, it's easy to see in four short years Meyer has been prepping players for the league.

At the top of the list has to be the ability of former young Gator receivers to excel early in their careers. The Gators currently have three former receivers from Meyer's four years at Florida that are either starting or producing big time for their teams. Percy Harvin of the Minnesota Vikings and Louis Murphy of the Oakland Raiders have been outstanding in their rookie campaigns so far in 2009.

Harvin led the Vikings in a 38-26 victory over rival Green Bay in receiving with 84 yards on five receptions. He scored on a 51-yard touchdown catch. He also had kickoff returns of 77 and 48 yards. He currently stands second on the team with 28 catches for 369 yards and three TD this season. Harvin leads the NFL with 860 kickoff return yards this season and leads all NFL rookies with 369 yards receiving.

Murphy started for the Raiders and rushed one time for 12 yards in the 16-24 loss to San Diego. Murphy leads the Oakland receivers with 16 catches for 232 yards and one touchdown.

Andre Caldwell did not play this week, but in his second year after leaving Meyer's Gators, Caldwell is second on the Cincinnati Bengals with 26 receptions and 257 receiving yards. He also has two touchdowns, both game winning touchdowns for Cincinnati.

The Gators also have a group of defensive players that starred for Florida under Meyer and are keeping that tradition going in the NFL.

In his second year with the Jacksonville Jaguars, linebacker/defensive end Derrick Harvey started and made six tackles, two for loss, in the Jaguars 13-30 loss to the Titans. Harvey has 23 tackles on the season for the struggling Jaguars.

Defensive lineman Ray McDonald of the San Francisco 49ers sacked Peyton Manning for a loss of seven yards in an 18-14 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. McDonald leads San Francisco with three sacks this season.

Reggie Nelson was switched this week to cornerback for the Jaguars and had success in doing so. Nelson who was often asked to cover man to man in the Gators' nickel defense in the 2006 championship season evidently learned some quality technique as a Gator. In his first game at corner, Nelson started and finished the game with six tackles. He is currently third on the Jaguars with 38 tackles this season.

The Gators starting middle linebacker for that 2006 team, Brandon Siler, had six tackles in the San Diego Chargers win over Oakland.


Other former Gators that had big weeks include...

Defensive end Alex Brown of the Chicago Bears, who started and made four tackles, including a sack for a loss of 11 yards in the Bears 30-6 win over the Browns. He leads the Bears with seven tackles-for-loss this season.

Offensive tackle Cooper Carlisle of Oakland started at right guard for the Raiders and has for the entire season.

Linebacker Andra Davis of the Denver Broncos started and was second on the team with nine tackles in the 7-30 loss to Baltimore. Davis had two tackles for a loss, a sack and one QB hurry in the game also. He is second on the team with 47 tackles on the season and leads the team with nine tackles for a loss.

Linebacker Mike Peterson of the Atlanta Falcons started for the Falcons and recorded seven tackles in a losing effort against the undefeated New Orleans Saints. Peterson is third on the team with 47 tackles on the season, including a team-leading four tackles for a loss.

Receiver Jabar Gaffney of the Broncos started and made three receptions for 43 yards. He is currently second on the team with 21 catches for 285 yards on the season.

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