Florida Gators: vernon hargreaves

SEC All-Freshman team

December, 12, 2013
12/12/13
5:31
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Every SEC team has representation on the SEC All-Freshman team, which was released on Thursday.

The team was selected by the league's coaches, and coaches could not vote for players on their own team. Arkansas, Ole Miss and South Carolina led the way with four players each on the squad. Here it is in its entirety:

Offense:
TE:
Hunter Henry, Arkansas
OL: Laremy Tunsil, Ole Miss
OL: Andrew Jelks, Vanderbilt
OL: Alex Kozan, Auburn
OL: Denver Kirkland, Arkansas
C: Jon Toth, Kentucky
WR: Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss
WR: Marquez North, Tennessee
QB: Maty Mauk, Missouri
RB: Alex Collins, Arkansas
RB: Kelvin Taylor, Florida
AP: Pharoh Cooper, South Carolina

Defense:
DL:
Chris Jones, Mississippi State
DL: A'Shawn Robinson, Alabama
DL: Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss
DL: Darius Philon, Arkansas
LB: Darian Claiborne, Texas A&M
LB: Leonard Floyd, Georgia
LB: Skai Moore, South Carolina
DB: Vernon Hargreaves, Florida
DB: Tony Conner, Ole Miss
DB: Tre'Davious White, LSU
DB: Cameron Sutton, Tennessee

Special teams:
PK:
Elliott Fry, South Carolina
P: Johnny Townsend, Florida
RS: Pharoh Cooper, South Carolina
Here are five matchups to watch when Georgia has the ball in Saturday's game in Jacksonville:

Todd Gurley's impact
[+] EnlargeTodd Gurley, Ahmad Christian
Dale Zanine/USA TODAY SportsDespite an injury-plagued season, Todd Gurley still rushed for nearly 1,000 yards and 10 TDs. He also improved as a receiver and had six TD receptions.
How important is All-SEC tailback Gurley to Georgia's offense? He hasn't played in nearly 15 quarters -- since spraining his ankle in the Sept. 28 win against LSU -- and he's still Georgia's leading rusher by more than 100 yards. Gurley (71-450) will return to the backfield against Florida's stout defense, but will he be the same player he was before the injury? He was averaging 112.5 rushing yards per game but has missed three-and-a-half games, and it's only reasonable to expect some rust on Saturday, particularly when the Gators are allowing just 3.7 yards per carry and 100.7 rushing yards per game (second in the SEC).

Thanks in part to injuries up front, they weren't as dominant in their last two games, both losses, allowing 175 rushing yards to LSU and 205 to Missouri. But with a few key faces returning up front -- including defensive tackle Damien Jacobs and possibly outside linebacker Ronald Powell -- Florida should pose a major test to Gurley and Georgia's rushing attack.

Georgia's depleted receiving corps vs. Florida secondary
By this point, anybody who follows Georgia football with even a passing interest knows about the debilitating injuries that struck the Bulldogs' offense over the last month. They have been especially debilitating for a once-explosive receiving corps, which lost Malcolm Mitchell and Justin Scott-Wesley to season-ending knee injuries and Michael Bennett and Chris Conley to shorter-term ailments.

Conley is still out, but Bennett should be back from a two-game absence on Saturday, possibly bringing some productivity to a group that has struggled mightily in recent weeks. The Bulldogs passed for just 114 yards in a loss to Vanderbilt, with senior quarterback Aaron Murray failing to complete a pass of at least 20 yards for the first time in his career.

Facing Florida's aggressive secondary is no treat for the Bulldogs' passing game. The Gators surrendered an uncharacteristic 295 passing yards to Missouri in their last game, but with ball hawks like Loucheiz Purifoy, Jaylen Watkins and freshman Vernon Hargreaves III leading the charge, Florida leads the SEC and ranks fifth nationally in pass defense at 172.4 ypg.

Murray's composure vs. Gators
Murray largely put to rest questions about whether he was a big-game player in nearly flawless performances against South Carolina and LSU earlier this season. A composed performance against Florida on Saturday would place an additional nail in that particular coffin. The Florida native has never gotten off to a great start against the Gators, starting with his very first play as a freshman in 2010 -- when he threw an interception to Florida's Janoris Jenkins. Murray led a comeback to force overtime in that game but threw a back-breaking interception that helped Florida win 34-31 in the extra session. Georgia won each of the last two meetings against the Gators, but Murray was fairly shaky in both, going a combined 27-for-58 for 319 yards with three touchdowns and four interceptions. Georgia has a chance to build its first three-game winning streak against Florida since 1987-89, but it likely will need Murray to play his best game yet against the Gators for the streak to remain intact.

Will Mike Bobo "let it rip?"
[+] EnlargeAaron Murray
AP Photo/Wade PayneWith a few more weapons to work with, perhaps Aaron Murray and Georgia can open up their offense.
Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said Tuesday that Georgia needs to "let it rip" against Florida's impressive defense. After calling perhaps the most conservative game of his career in the Bulldogs' loss against Vanderbilt, that philosophy might apply to Bobo more than anyone else. The Bulldogs attempted only two passes of 15 yards or more in the loss to the Commodores and played it as close to the vest as possible -- a strategy that blew up in their face when turnovers and a bogus targeting call helped Vandy rally for a late victory.

With Gurley and Bennett back in the lineup, Georgia's offense should have some more punch on Saturday, and that will be necessary against Florida's tough defense. Bobo likely must break out of the conservatism that set in with multiple offensive weapons sidelined and show some aggressiveness if Georgia is to break through against the Gators.

Florida's pass rushers vs. Georgia offensive line
If Powell is able to play on Saturday, that would provide a huge shot in the arm for Florida's pass rush. Powell has Jarvis Jones-like ability, but injuries have been a regular problem for the junior. Even if he doesn't play, Georgia's offensive line -- which has dealt with consistency issues for much of the season -- will have its hands full with buck Dante Fowler Jr., who almost single-handedly kept the Gators afloat against Missouri even when the offense was performing pitifully.

Fowler leads the team with three sacks, eight tackles for a loss and three forced fumbles. He hasn't gotten a ton of help from his comrades up front -- Florida is tied for 10th in the league with 11 sacks -- but getting some line depth back should help. Georgia's line has struggled against speedy edge rushers, particularly in the Clemson and Missouri losses, so keep an eye on the edges Saturday.
It’s Rankings Week at GatorNation. Every day we’ll rank some aspect of the Florida football program heading into the 2013 season. Today we’re ranking the top 10 UF freshmen with the chance of making the biggest impact in the fall. On Friday we’ll rank the Gators’ top needs in recruiting for the Class of 2014, as well as give you the top players the Gators are pursuing at those positions.

Freshmen with the best chance of making an impact


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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Most of the attention has been on the five receivers Florida signed on Wednesday.

But the Gators had a pretty good haul in the secondary, too.

UF signed four defensive backs, including the nation’s No. 3 overall player in CB Vernon Hargreaves III (Tampa, Fla./Wharton), on Wednesday. But more importantly, those players were committed to UF as early as last February and never wavered.


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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- I was unable to get to all the questions on Wednesday’s weekly chat, but since there were so many -- and the angst from Florida’s Allstate Sugar Bowl loss to Louisville was still fresh -- we decided to answer them today.

Dave (New Jersey): Mike you say we are done with our class at 26? Don't we have 8 EEs that can date back to next year giving us another 6-7 spots open in this class? We lost a lot of bodies so the staff must get at least 31 in this class IMO. Thoughts?

The Gators will try and sign several more players, but Muschamp has gone on record before saying he’s not going to sign players just to fill out a class. I anticipate only two to three more commitments, if that. UF is still after DT Jarran Reed, Jay-nard Bostwick, Montravius Adams, Elijah Daniel, Jason Hatcher, Chris Jones, James Clark, Alex Collins, Jalen Ramsey, Kennard Swanson and Quinton Powell. If Muschamp can get some of those guys, fine, but if not, he won’t just sign guys so he can fill out the class.

RemmyR (Maple Shade, N.J.): Just want to say thanks to you for dropping UF science on us every week!!!

You’re welcome. I enjoy interacting with fans. You guys are the lifeblood of what I do so these chats are the least I can do.

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#UAGame practice: Day 4 notebook 

January, 3, 2013
1/03/13
7:08
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- With just a player walk-through Thursday, things were relatively easy in Day 4 of practice at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports. A four-star defensive tackle gave further explanation about his decision to decommit from an SEC school, several players talked about who impressed them the most, and an ESPN 150 safety changed his decision date.


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Florida thrives on unofficial visits

August, 18, 2012
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Some colleges emphasize the importance of receiving official visits from prospects they are recruiting, but for the University of Florida, nothing is more important than getting prospects on campus for unofficial visits.

Just how important are unofficial visits to the Gators? Consider that 17 of Florida's 20 2013 verbal commitments committed to the Gators within a week of unofficially visiting the school.

Five-star cornerback prospect Vernon Hargreaves III, who committed to the Gators after unofficially visiting the school on July 26, said the intimate setting of an unofficial visit allowed him to learn more about what a program is really like instead of when it's on a big official recruiting weekend with several other recruits.

"They were extremely important," Hargreaves said of his multiple visits to Florida. "You really get to see what the program is all about. I look at it as basically an official visit but without the game and you don't spend the night. You really get to see everything else, though, like the locker room and getting to hang out with the other plays. You get to hang out with the coaches. You get to see the academics. It's extremely important.

"You can sit down with the coaches and you can kind of do what you want to do. You can tell the coaches what you want to see and what you want to talk about. I think it would have been hard to commit without taking those unofficial visits to Florida."

For Florida head coach Will Muschamp, it's not just about a prospect getting to know more about his program, but rather it's an opportunity to learn more about what type of player the Gators are recruiting.

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Since cornerback Shaq Wiggins (Tyrone, Ga./Sandy Creek) committed to the University of Georgia in February, the ESPN 150 prospect has been unabashed in his efforts to bring other top recruits to Athens. Several subsequent commitments have mentioned Wiggins as being in their ear, and as the highest rated Georgia commitment to date in the 2013 recruiting cycle, Wiggins is seen by many as the face of the Bulldogs' class.

Flash forward five months, and recent events have fueled speculation regarding Wiggins’ commitment to Georgia. Wiggins has taken several visits to other programs in the last month, with the latest being to Knoxville. He also has indicated that he and several other players intend to commit to the same school.

“I visited Tennessee because once my recruiting really picked up last spring they were my first SEC offer,” Wiggins said. “I had a lot of interest in them when coach Lance Thompson and coach Terry Joseph were there and they were a place I could have seen myself, and I thought about committing. But once they left they lost contact with me until Coach [Derrick] Ansley came in and came by during the spring.”

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ESPN 150 prospects Vernon Hargreaves III (Tampa, Fla./Wharton), Leon McQuay III (Seffner, Fla./Armwood) and Ryan Green (St. Petersburg, Fla./St. Pete Catholic) received invitations Sunday to participate in the Gridiron Kings.

The three prospects will play for Team Southeast and join fellow ESPN 150 prospects Reuben Foster (Auburn, Ala./Auburn), O.J. Howard (Prattville, Ala./Autauga Academy), Alvin Kamara (Norcross, Ga./Norcross) and Shaq Wiggins (Tyrone, Ga./Sandy Creek).

Four-star prospects Will Likely (Belle Glade, Fla./Glades Central) and Sojourn Shelton (Plantation, Fla./Plantation) are also on the Southeast squad.

Gridiron Kings will take place at the Wide World of Sports complex at Disney World on July 27-30.

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