Florida Gators: Tavarres King

SEC sends several RBs to NFL combine

February, 19, 2013
2/19/13
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Several of RecruitingNation's SEC sites will look this week at the players headed to the NFL combine, which begins Friday in Indianapolis. Today: Quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers.

LSU Tigers


Perhaps it says something about LSU's offense in 2012 that among a record 13 players invited to the NFL combine from the Tigers, only two are offensive skill players who are generally considered, at this point, marginal talents. Running backs Spencer Ware and Michael Ford are the only skill players invited to Indianapolis, which is understandable when one considers LSU was 10th in the SEC in total offense. It's also a sign of youth. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger, fullback J.C. Copeland, running back Jeremy Hill and all of LSU's primary threats at wide receiver will return in 2013.

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Game preview: Florida vs. Georgia

October, 26, 2012
10/26/12
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No. 2 Florida (7-0, 6-0 SEC) vs. No. 10 Georgia (6-1, 4-1)
Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET
EverBank Field, Jacksonville, Fla.
CBS

Gators to watch

RB Mike Gillislee: Since running for 146 yards against LSU, Gillislee has totaled just 104 yards in UF’s victories over Vanderbilt and South Carolina. Teams are making it their top priority to stop Gillislee, so it’s going to be tough going again against the Bulldogs on Saturday.

[+] EnlargeKyle Christy
AP Photo/John RaouxSophomore punter Kyle Christy has been one of the Gators' best players this season.
P Kyle Christy: He leads the nation in punting average (47.9 yards per punt) and is coming off a game in which he averaged a school-record 54.3 yards on seven punts. Christy’s ability to flip the field, whether that’s getting Florida out of trouble or pinning opponents deep, is critical to UF’s success.

CB Loucheiz Purifoy: Purifoy is UF’s most physical corner and will present problems for Georgia WRs Tavarres King and Malcolm Mitchell. Purifoy is also a force on special teams as a gunner on punts and on kickoff coverage. He forced two fumbles against South Carolina last week -- one on defense on a blitz and another on a kickoff return. Purifoy is also spending some time at WR, too.

Bulldogs to watch

LB Jarvis Jones: Jones wrecked the Gators in last season’s meeting, recording four sacks and a forced fumble in the Bulldogs’ 24-20 victory. He’s dealing with an ankle injury that kept him out of last week’s victory over Kentucky. Georgia coach Mark Richt said Jones should play. How much will his ankle affect him, though?

RB Todd Gurley: He’s one half of the “Gurshall” combination (Gurley and Keith Marshall) that has rushed for 1,110 yards and 14 touchdowns. He’s the bigger of the two backs (6-foot-1, 218 pounds) but also presents a problem in the return game. He’s averaging 34.7 yards on seven kickoff returns and has a 100-yard return for a touchdown.

QB Aaron Murray: He led the Bulldogs to a come-from-behind victory last season by hitting a pair of fourth-down touchdown passes, but he also completed less than 50 percent of his passes. In two games against the Gators, Murray has thrown for five touchdowns and four interceptions (three in 2010) and has completed 46.5 percent of his passes (33-for-71).

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Five storylines: Florida vs. Georgia 

October, 25, 2012
10/25/12
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- No. 2 Florida plays No. 10 Georgia on Saturday in Jacksonville, Fla. The Gators (7-0, 6-0 SEC) have won 18 of the past 22 meetings, but the Bulldogs (7-1, 4-1) won in 2011 and are trying to win back-to-back games in the series for the first time since winning three in a row from 1987-89.

Here's five storylines for the game:

1. All the marbles: The SEC’s Eastern Division title is on the line for both teams, but the only the Gators can clinch the title with a victory on Saturday. The Gators wouldn’t be mathematically eliminated with a loss, but they’d need Georgia to lose another game, and the Bulldogs close the SEC season by playing Ole Miss (4-3) and Auburn (1-6). Florida last won the division in 2009. Georgia won it last season and got routed by LSU in the SEC Championship Game.

DawgNation links: King vs. UF

October, 22, 2012
10/22/12
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Note: During this rivalry week, GatorNation will offer you a peek behind enemy lines with links to DawgNation stories.

David Ching writes: WR Tavarres King tends to play big against rival Florida. Georgia might need it again this year against the nation's undefeated No. 2 team.

Ching Insider: Kentucky was shockingly successful running against Georgia on third-and-long in the Dawgs’ narrow win Saturday.

Kipp Adams writes Insider: Naim Mustafaa, a UGA commit, visited Tennessee on Saturday and said he spent time with Vols defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri.

Ching Insider: Aaron Murray moves to the top of the Georgia 10 player power rankings.

Nabulsi Insider: Juco DL transfer Chris Mayes will enroll at UGA in January.

Scouting report: Georgia

October, 22, 2012
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- No. 2 Florida can clinch the SEC’s Eastern Division title by beating Georgia on Saturday at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Fla. Here’s a look at the Bulldogs:

GEORGIA

Record: 6-1 (4-1 SEC).

Coach: Mark Richt, 12th season (112-41).

Series record: Georgia leads 47-40-2 (NOTE: Georgia records indicate Bulldogs lead 47-39-2).

Top players: QB Aaron Murray (120-199-4, 1,194 yards, 16 TDs); RB Todd Gurley (622 yards, 9 TDs); LB Jarvis Jones (36 tackles, 5.5 sacks); S Bacarri Rambo (25 tackles).

Scouting the offense: The Bulldogs are stacked at the skill positions with Murray, Gurley, Keith Marshall and WRs Malcolm Mitchell and Tavarres King. Georgia is averaging 486.9 yards and 39.6 points per game. The two-headed ground attack of Gurley and Marshall complements the passing attack that is averaging 281.7 yards per game.

Scouting the defense: Jones rivals South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney as the league’s best defensive player. Jones is a phenomenal pass rusher who also plays the run pretty well. The defense, however, has not been as good as expected this season, giving up 367 yards per game. Part of that is due to the fact that several players missed games because of suspension and injury and the unit has yet to completely play together for long.

Three keys to victory
  • Murray might be one of the league’s top quarterbacks, but don’t be fooled. The Bulldogs are a physical team that wants to run the ball behind Gurley and Marshall. They’ve done a good job of it so far (205 yards per game). Any defensive game plan has to start with stopping the Bulldogs on the ground. Florida is coming off a game in which it limited South Carolina to 36 yards rushing.
  • Florida has won 18 of the past 22 meetings and Georgia hasn’t won back-to-back games in the series since the Bulldogs won three in a row from 1987-89. Don’t think that isn’t something that weighs on the Bulldogs. They’re under a lot of pressure to beat the Gators, especially because they weren’t able to take control of the series during the Gators’ down years under Ron Zook and the past two seasons.
  • Florida’s special teams have delivered big play after big play the past two weeks, and the Gators have an advantage here over the Bulldogs, especially with P Kyle Christy and K Caleb Sturgis and their coverage units.

The SEC East now has the 'Big Three'

September, 24, 2012
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video
With all due respect to the SEC West, the East has it going on this year.

I said before the season that the West had the muscle, but the East would be more fun to watch.

Well, after four weeks, it looks like the East doesn’t just have a more exciting race on its hands but the Big Three now reside on that side of the conference.

Now, before my Twitter feed gets spammed and I have to go into hiding in some bunker located in or around the city of Atlanta, hear me out.

Alabama and LSU are still the cream of the crop. They are the two best teams in the SEC, and might be the two best teams in the nation. Don’t let LSU’s ugly win over Auburn fool you. The Tigers are still extremely talented and that defense is just as fierce.

But after that, the East has the West beat. Arkansas, which was a part of the West's talented trio, has fallen to the bottom of the division and could be struggling to make a bowl. Mississippi State has looked good, but those lackluster wins against overmatched teams make me nervous.

Your new Big Three, ladies and gentlemen: Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. And each has to be taken seriously when it comes to winning the SEC.

I'm not saying they're better than Alabama or LSU, but they have a legitimate chance of ending the West’s reign of terror.

I’ll start with the Bulldogs:

GEORGIA (No. 5, 4-0)
  • The Bulldogs have the SEC’s best offense. Georgia leads the league with 530 yards of offense a game and is as balanced as they come. Aaron Murray is passing for 273 yards a game and has tossed 10 touchdowns to two interceptions. Tavarres King, Marlon Brown and Michael Bennett all have double-digit catches on the season and have combined for eight touchdowns.
  • Freshmen running backs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall have turned into quite the rushing duo, combing for 670 yards and nine touchdowns. Gurley currently leads the SEC with 406 rushing yards and is averaging 9.2 yards per carry.
  • Where Georgia could have issues is with its run defense. The Dawgs are eighth in the SEC in rush defense (135.5 yards per game) and Alabama and LSU love to run the ball and wear down opponents. Georgia should know. But that should improve with the return of Bacarri Rambo and Alec Ogletree. They will fill some of the holes we’ve seen on defense and help take some of that bend away.
SOUTH CAROLINA (No. 6, 4-0)
  • We’ve seen a lot more balance out of the Gamecocks’ offense in the past couple of weeks and it looks like Marcus Lattimore is getting stronger. He has the ability to wear down those defensive lines and open up the passing game for Connor Shaw. We’ll find out how much Lattimore is needed when South Carolina travels to LSU on Oct. 13.
  • Shaw might have a fracture in his shoulder, but he’s shown that he’s extremely tough and South Carolina will need that. He also showed against Missouri that he’s got what it takes to really sling the ball, as he completed his last 20 passes for 249 yards and two touchdowns. Balance will be key, and this offense is full of it.
  • The secondary still has questions, but it’s getting better every week. South Carolina gives up a good chunk of yards through the air, but the Gamecocks have five interceptions and have allowed just three passing touchdowns. The play up front has really helped the secondary, as the Gamecocks are second in the SEC with 15 sacks. Jadeveon Clowney leads South Carolina with 4.5 sacks and is starting to find his groove.
FLORIDA (No. 11, 4-0)
  • The Gators finally have an offense. They still struggle some in the first half, but the Gators have outscored opponents 78-13 in the second half and haven’t allowed any points in the fourth quarter. Alabama can’t even say that! That’s a credit to Florida’s conditioning and solid halftime adjustments.
  • Florida also has a true downhill runner in Mike Gillislee, who is second in the SEC with 402 rushing yards, and have a budding star in quarterback Jeff Driskel. He can hurt teams with his legs and arm and has shown tremendous poise in harsh road conditions. This team has to find another consistent receiving threat outside of Jordan Reed.
  • Florida has shown some bend in its rush defense, and was pounded on the ground by Alabama and LSU last year. The Gators have to be tougher up front if they want a chance at claiming the SEC. Play in the box is crucial, and the Gators didn’t do very well at all in this area last year when they were clobbered by the Tide and Tigers. Florida’s date with LSU in the Swamp on Oct. 6 will tell us what that front can really do.

None of these teams are perfect, but they’re all pretty good. Georgia is probably equipped with the most talent in the East, but South Carolina and Florida aren’t far behind.

Watching these three beat each other up this fall is gonna be fun, but watching one of them try to take down one of the big dogs on the other side of the tracks will be especially entertaining.

Don’t sleep on the East this year.
Justin Hunter and Da'Rick RogersAP Photo/Wade PayneJustin Hunter (11) and Da'Rick Rogers (21) are considered to be the best receiving duo in the SEC.
Our SEC position rankings continue with a look at schools' wide receiver and tight end groups.

Past rankings:
On to the league's wide receiver/tight end groups:

1. Tennessee: The Vols are equipped with two of the top wideouts in the league with Da'Rick Rogers, who was second in the SEC in receiving last year, and Justin Hunter, who might be the SEC's top deep threat. It sounds like Hunter will be 100 percent this fall after his ACL injury last year. Junior college transfer Cordarrelle Patterson is big, fast and possesses the big-play gene. The speedy Zach Rogers is back and is so is talented tight end Mychal Rivera.

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Gators game preview: Georgia

June, 27, 2012
6/27/12
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ESPN’s GatorNation brings you the 30 things you need to know about Florida’s upcoming 2012 season. For 30 weekdays we’ll preview games, talk about trends, spotlight players and positions, and give you pretty much everything you need to know to be ready for the season before the Sept. 1 opener against Bowling Green.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- GatorNation is previewing each of Florida’s 2012 opponents. Today is Georgia (Oct. 27 in Jacksonville, Fla.).

GEORGIA

Mark Richt and Will Muschamp
AP/Photo Stephen MortonGeorgia coach Mark Richt and Florida coach Will Muschamp exchange pleasantries before their first game last year in Jacksonville, Fla.
2011 record: 10-4 (7-1 SEC), lost to Michigan State 33-30 (3 OT) in Outback Bowl.

Coach: Mark Richt, 12th season (106-40).

Series record: Georgia leads 47-40-2 (Note: Georgia records indicate Bulldogs lead 47-39-2).

Top returners: QB Aaron Murray (238-403-14, 3,149 yards, 35 TDs); RB Isaiah Crowell (850 yards, 5 TDs); LB Jarvis Jones (70 tackles, 13.5 sacks); S Bacarri Rambo (55 tackles, 8 INTs).

Did you know? Murray needs just 14 more TD passes to surpass David Greene's school record (72).

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ESPN’s GatorNation brings you the 30 things you need to know about Florida’s upcoming 2012 season. For 30 weekdays, we’ll preview games, talk about trends, spotlight players and positions, and give you pretty much everything you need to know to be ready for the season before the Sept. 1 opener against Bowling Green.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Let’s face it, the Florida-Georgia rivalry had gotten boring.

Florida’s lopsided victories in the 1990s and relatively uneventful games in the early 2000s had turned what was once one of the most bitter rivalries in college football into just another game.

[+] EnlargeGeorgia touchdown
Palm Beach Post/ZUMA Press/Icon SMIThe entire Georgia team rushed the field after scoring the opening touchdown against Florida in 2007.
But things have heated up again over the past five years -- thanks in part to some questionable actions -- and now the rivalry between the SEC schools is as intense as ever. Players danced, eyes were almost gouged, and the infamous choke sign made an appearance.

Oh, yeah, and there’s the matter of Florida’s coach having played at Georgia, too.

Can’t wait to see what happens this year when the teams meet at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Fla., on Oct. 27.

THE INTENSITY IS BACK

Why has the Florida-Georgia rivalry heated up again? How about these five reasons:

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Now that you've seen the recruiting needs for the SEC Western Division teams, it's time to check what teams in the East needed to focus on when it came to recruiting for the 2012 class:

FLORIDA

Offensive line: There's no getting around how much Florida's offensive line struggled in 2011. Florida doesn't lose a lot from its line, but the Gators need more talent. There are a lot of questions surrounding this position and getting qualities bodies is a must.

Running back: Florida loses seniors Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps, and will enter the fall with unproven players in Mike Gillislee and Mack Brown. As Florida continues to move closer to a more traditional/pro-style offense, the Gators also need to add size to the position.

Wide receiver: Again, this is a position in which the Gators need to improve in the talent category. Florida lost just one senior from last year's squad, but unproven players lurk. What Florida needs to get in this class is a true playmaker at receiver. There is hope that Quinton Dunbar, Andre Debose and Frankie Hammond can step up, but some solid competition won't hurt.

GEORGIA

Offensive line: Georgia loses three starters in Cordy Glenn, Ben Jones and Justin Anderson. The Bulldogs would like to add a few more big bodies up front in this class to help with all that unproven depth.

Linebacker: In Todd Grantham's 3-4 defense, linebackers are extremely important. The Bulldogs will likely lose a couple bodies at outside linebacker next year, including star Jarvis Jones, and would like to add a couple of true playmakers at that position in this class.

Wide receiver: Come 2013, Georgia will have taken some hits at its wide receiver depth. There is young talent in Malcolm Mitchell, Chris Conley and Michael Bennett, but veterans like Tavarres King, Marlon Brown and Rantavious Wooten will be gone. Adding a couple standouts at wide receiver in this class would be nice.

KENTUCKY

Offensive playmakers: Whether it comes at quarterback, wide receiver, running back or tight end, the Wildcats need to find players who can make plays when they get the ball in their hands. Kentucky's offense was hard to watch all season because there was no one who could consistently move the ball.

Offensive line: Kentucky loses three starters -- Chandler Burden, Stuart Hines and Billy Joe Murphy -- from its offensive line and needs to load up here in this class. There is a handful of young players at each offensive line position, but the Wildcats need to think about adding more for the future.

Defensive back: Veterans are leaving the Wildcats' secondary, so it's time to stock up. Winston Guy, Taiedo Smith, Randall Burden and Anthony Mosley will all be gone, meaning the Wildcats are in need of adding some depth to both the cornerback and safety positions.

MISSOURI

Running back: Leading rusher Henry Josey suffered a severe knee injury toward the end of the 2011 season and the Tigers have some veterans jam packed at the top of the depth chart at the position. Getting help to add to future rosters would really help this offense as it moves to the SEC.

Defensive line: The Tigers are losing three starters along the defensive line and 10 players from 2011 will be gone by the end of next season. There are some youngsters there, but it's time to getting into restocking mode along the defensive line. Also, this is where games are won and lost in the SEC. Finding more athleticism here is crucial.

Offensive line: Like the defensive line, Missouri will lose three starters here. There are some bodies to fill in for now, but you can never have too many offensive linemen and now that the Tigers are headed to the SEC, getting some bigger, more athletic linemen will be key to survival in this jungle.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Defensive line: The Gamecocks have gotten a ton of production from here lately, but South Carolina will lose two starters in Melvin Ingram and Travian Robertson. South Carolina might want to add to defensive end the most, with Ingram leaving and Devin Taylor getting ready to depart in a year.

Linebacker: Over the next two years, the Gamecocks will lose some quality players at linebacker and even the spur position. A handful of veterans occupy the depth chart at linebacker, so that means South Carolina needs to add a few quality bodies for the future.

Defensive back: South Carolina's depth in its defensive backfield could be considered thin. The Gamecocks are down two starters at cornerback and will lose solid players in D.J. Swearinger and DeVonte Holloman in 2013.

TENNESSEE

Running back: The Vols never figured out how to run the ball last year and will now turn to a group of unproven running backs. Marlin Lane has the talent to excel, but he needs to be more consistent. Finding a couple talented backs in this class would help this position tremendously.

Defensive tackle: The Vols need some help inside, and now that they are moving to the 3-4, getting quality nose guards is a must for Tennessee. Adding some girth inside will be very important in order to improving this position.

Defensive back: Tennessee will say goodbye to quite a bit of their defensive backs in the next couple of years, so getting a head start on adding to players to both safety and corner would be a plus.

VANDERBILT

Offensive line: The Commodores return the bulk of their offensive line next year, but after that, Vanderbilt will be pretty thin and very young up front. Adding four or five bodies to the offensive line would go a long way for Vanderbilt.

Linebacker: Vanderbilt loses one starter, in Chris Marve, here for next season, but the year after will see a lot of turnover at the position, with four rising seniors on the roster.

Defensive end: Two starters — Tim Fugger and T.J. Greenstone — are gone and Vanderbilt will lose a handful more after the 2012 season. Getting some help at this position is another must for coach James Franklin.

The 2011 SEC All-Bowl team

January, 13, 2012
1/13/12
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[+] EnlargeVick Ballard
AP Photo/Mark HumphreyMississippi State's Vick Ballard rushed for 180 yards against Wake Forest in the Music City Bowl.
We're taking one last look at the SEC's postseason by putting together our All-SEC bowl team:

OFFENSE

QB: Connor Shaw, South Carolina: Shaw didn't seem to feel the pressure of a bowl game, completing 11 of 17 passes for 230 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for 42 yards and another score in the Gamecocks' win against Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl. He even gave South Carolina the momentum going into the second half with a touchdown on a Hail Mary to end the first half.

RB: Vick Ballard, Mississippi State: Ballard ended his career with the Bulldogs with one of his best performances, as he rushed for 180 yards and two touchdowns on just 14 carries in Mississippi State's win against Wake Forest in the Music City Bowl. His touchdowns went for 72 and 60 yards.

RB: Onterio McCalebb, Auburn: As the Tigers' lead back in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, McCalebb had a game-high 109 rushing yards, including a long of 60. He also recorded a three-yard touchdown run and caught two passes for 53 yards, including a 25-yard touchdown in Auburn's win against Virginia.

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Top SEC bowl performers

January, 3, 2012
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The SEC still has three bowl teams left, but we're going to take a look at some players who have already seen their seasons come to an end.

It was a fun weekend of football and a good weekend for the SEC. The conference went 4-2, with Georgia and Vanderbilt being the only teams to come up short.

With those games came some pretty good performances from players.

Here are some top performers:
  • Vick Ballard, RB, Mississippi State: He saved one of his best performances for last, as he rushed for 180 yards and two touchdowns on just 14 carries. His touchdowns went for 60 and 72 yards.
  • Archibald Barnes, LB, Vanderbilt: He was all over the field for the Commodores, leading the Liberty Bowl with 10 total tackles. He also blocked a field goal in the fourth quarter that gave Vandy some life late.
  • Emory Blake, WR, Auburn: Blake made his day in the Georgia Dome look easy as he caught six passes for 108 yards in the win over Virginia in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
  • Jon Bostic, LB, Florida: He was one of the most active players on defense this past weekend, recording eight tackles, including four for loss.

(Read full post)

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