Florida Gators Reel In Big Fish

The Florida Gators got a nice surprise early Wednesday morning when Rivals Top 100 defensive end Antonneous Clayton gave them his verbal pledge. 

Clayton (6-4, 220) is a pass rushing specialist who has been considered a Gator lean since naming them his leader following his visit for the Tennessee game.

He has a long frame, good speed, and a knack for getting to the ball carrier.

Head coach Jim McElwain tweeted out his now familiar bat signal, a fun way to announce a new commitment without breaking NCAA rules.

Defensive line coach Chris Rumph, Clayton’s position coach and lead recruiter joined in the fun as well.

His commitment brings the current total to 21 in this years Gator recruiting class with a number of top rated guys left on the board.

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A Rough Week For Gator Football Continues: DB Porter Arrested, Charged With Four Felonies

  
And the hits continue for Gator football.

Just a few days removed from the Florida Gators first AP top ten ranking since preseason 2013, the upheaval for the program continues.

Redshirt freshman defensive back and special teams star Deiondre Porter was arrested and charged with four felonies two days after starting quarterback Will Grier was suspended for the season.

The charges are one count of aggravated battery, two counts of aggravated assault with a weapon, and one count of firing a missile into a building. An additional misdemeanor count of criminal mischief/property damage was also filed.

According to the complaint, on September 29, Porter showed up at his girlfriend’s apartment upset with her accusing her of having an affair with an unnamed teammate.

The victim, who reportedly is pregnant, denied the affair and tried to contact the teammate unsuccessfully. Porter at some point grabbed a handgun and placed it against the victim’s head. 

After arguing about the situation some more, Porter reportedly fired a shot that hit the wall beside the victim. 

Although the alleged incident occurred on September 29, the victim waited until October 12 to report the crime because she said she was fearful as he was a member of the football team.

Porter has been suspended from the team indefinitely as a result of the charges and head coach Jim McElwain stated that he is no longer with the team perhaps hinting that he is gone for good.

Florida Gators Starting QB Will Grier Suspended

  
One day after jumping into the top ten for the first time in over two years, the Florida Gators learned that starting quarterback Will Grier has been suspended for using an over-the-counter substance banned by the NCAA. 

It was apparent something was going on when head coach Jim McElwain’s Monday morning press appearance was postponed until the afternoon.

When he took the podium he looked concerned and announced the suspension due to failing an NCAA mandated test.

Will Grier also took the podium and gave a brief statement. 

“I took an over-the-counter supplement that had something in it,” Grier said shakily. “I’m really, really sorry to everyone. Just really sorry.”

“We feel for him. We feel his pain,” McElwain said.

Grier is out for this weekend’s game at LSU and is likely out for the season.

Barring some kind of successful appeal, Grier will be out for a full calendar year which is called for under NCAA rules.

“For this football team, it means next guy up,” McElwain said. “This is a mistake we’ll learn from.”

For the Gators, that “next guy” is sophomore Treon Harris who started the first game this season and several last year. 

Harris split time with Grier in the first two games and had some success. He’s smaller than Grier and not nearly strong armed but like Grier is a coaches son and he won consecutive state titles as a high school quarterback.

The backup according to coach Mac will be graduate transfer Josh Grady who played both quarterback and receiver at Vanderbilt and has split time in practice this season at both slots.

The staff will be working overtime getting Harris ready for a top ten road matchup in Baton Rouge, the biggest game of the season for these upstart Gators.

Florida Gators Continue Meteoric Rise, Move Into Top Tenย 

  
Fresh off a workmanlike road victory over SEC east rival Missouri, the Florida Gators jumped into the top ten on Sunday for first time since the 2013 preseason poll. 

The Gators used a strong defensive effort to beat the Tigers 21-3 good enough to move them up to #8 in this week’s AP poll. 

The Gators are this season surprise team making a meteoric rise from unranked to top ten in only three weeks. Last week they leaped from #25 to #11 after being unranked since 2013. 

The Gators got off to a fast start against Missouri taking a 14-3 lead in the first quarter before the offense went into a funk largely the result of a strong Tiger defensive effort.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Will Grier, who torched the Ole Miss secondary last week for four touchdowns, looked more like a freshman against Missouri finishing 20-33 for 203 yards and no touchdowns.

While Grier didn’t play bad, he wasn’t spectacular either missing on some open receivers and making some poor decisions with his legs.

The best part for Grier, perhaps, was he didn’t make any bad mistakes. The Gators were turnover free which is a necessity on the road in the SEC.

Offensively, the Gators were carried by junior running back Kelvin Taylor who is looking more and more like his famous father, former Gator and NFL RB Fred Taylor.

Taylor finished with 28 carries for 99 yards and both of the Gators offensive touchdowns.

The real star of this game, however, was the Gator defense which held Missouri to 257 yards and paltry 1-14 on third down.

The Gators played well against the run and kept the Tigers in third and long all evening where they teed off on freshman quarterback Drew Lock. 

Constant pressure and hits kept Lock off balance and the Gators defensive backfield kept the Tiger receivers in check. They harassed him into a 16-39 effort for 151 yards and two interceptions. 

Sophomore corner back Jalen Tabor had a great game with several pass break ups, some big tackles, and a pick six that gave the Gators some cushion room at 21-3.

While the score remained close throughout and was somewhat boring for fans, the Tigers were never really in it. The Gator defense continues to show that they are one of the better defenses in the nation.

The Gators moved to 6-0 making new head coach Jim McElwain only the third Florida coach to begin their tenure with six straight victories joining Charlie Bachman (1928-32) and Galen Hall (1984-89).

The victory sets up a huge top ten matchup next week when the Gators travel to Baton Rouge to take on #6 LSU. 

To the victor will go a likely top five berth and entry into the playoff conversation.

Crazy talk for a team that most expected to win 6 or 7 games this season.

See the full AP Poll here.

Florida Gators Pick Up Huge Commitment

  
Fresh off a dominating shellacking of former #3 Ole Miss on Saturday night, the #11 Florida Gators picked up a huge commitment from four star wide receiver Freddie Swain (6-1, 188) from North Marion (Citra, FL) on Friday afternoon. 

In a testament to the old adage good things come to those who wait, Swain chose the Gators over USC and Tennessee, who was considered to be the leader before Florida finally offered a couple of months ago and started pressing.

The Gators were thought to be his favorite school but for whatever reason they had others higher up on the board and many questioned whether the Gators would give him a committable offer. 

That is, until the camp season when his stock soared after an impressive showing at The Opening, a NIKE showcase for top high school athletes.

Swain was one of the biggest surprises at the event showing advanced route running and great hands. He proved to be an elite wide receiver and soon after got the offer from Florida he had been looking for.

Here’s a great Bleacher Report article on Swain’s impressive Opening display. 

He becomes the Gators 21st commitment for the 2016 recruiting cycle and he is the fourth wide receiver in the class joining Joshua Hammond, Rick Wells, and Isaiah Johnson. 

It’s apparent the product that head coach Jim McElwain and company are putting on the field is drawing widespread interest from top recruits and the Gators are poised to land a top ten possibly top five class by signing day.

The Monday Morning Quarterback: Mac Attack Is Whack, Gators Are Back

  
Wow!

Can you believe it?

From cardiac Gators to pure domination in one week?

Last week The Monday Morning Quarterback wrote that the Gators grew up against Tennessee.

Against Ole Miss they showed no growing pains whatsoever playing like a mature, experienced team. 

Especially quarterback Will Grier who played with poise and threw with precision despite dealing with the effects of a virus that had been described as a flu bug by head coach Jim McElwain but reported as a stomach bug by various media outlets.

Grier finished 24-29 for 271 yards and 4 td’s. And best of all he had zero turnovers.

“We’re growing up offensively,” McElwain said. “We’re getting a little bit better. That’s what we want to do.”

That might be the understatement of the year!

Since the ten minute mark of the fourth quarter of the Tennessee game, Grier is 35-47 (74.4 completion percentage) for 412 yards and 6 td’s.

That’s not only efficient, it’s Montana-esque as in hall of famer Joe Montana.

So much for the quarterback competition in Gainesville.

It wasn’t all Grier, however, as the work-in-progress offensive line played their best game by far.

While they still have work to do in the run game they played masterfully in the passing game holding off what many considered a stout Ole Miss defensive line giving Grier time to make throws to open receivers.

And defensively, they played their best game all season as well. The defensive line was disruptive rarely letting quarterback Chad Kelly get comfortable in the pocket.

The defensive backs shut down a potent Ole Miss receiving corps led by All American candidate Laquon Treadwell who finished with pedestrian numbers (5 catches, 43 yards, and no td’s). 

The offensive play-calling was masterful as well keeping the Ole Miss defense off-balance throughout using their aggressiveness against them with misdirection bootlegs, screens, and draw plays.

The Mac Attack is whack baby! 

And this team is growing up right before our eyes, much quicker than anyone expected.

The Monday Morning Quarterback believes that the Gators are truly back and have an opportunity to have a very special season.

Was Ole Miss overrated like so many other teams fans have claimed after the Gators big win?

The Monday Morning Quarterback doesn’t believe so after Ole Miss beat Alabama on the road and then Alabama demolished Georgia this past weekend. 

The poll voters don’t believe so either as the Gators made the third highest one-week leap in AP poll history jumping from #25 last week to #11 Sunday. 

Regardless, with Missouri, LSU, and Georgia left on the October schedule we’ll sure get a chance to see if this team can maintain focus and continue to improve. 

If so you’ll see a top five team come November. 

I’m the Monday Morning Quarterback and I’m out!

Florida Gators Moving On Up, Jump To #11 In AP

  
Two weeks ago the Florida Gators were unranked. They hadn’t even been ranked in the AP poll for two years. 

After upsetting formerly #3 Ole Miss in dominating fashion, however, they’re knocking on the door of the top ten.

The Gators jump 14 spots to #11 in this week’s AP poll by far the quickest riser in quite some time.

The Gators, who needed a late game two touchdown performance from Will Grier to eke out a victory over Tennessee last week, was in control from the start in this game.

Grier continued his hot play throughout this game finishing 24-29 for 271 yards with four touchdowns and no turnovers. 

The result was a dominating 38-10 victory over an Ole Miss team that scored 43 in a victory over Alabama.

This was a vastly difference defense than Alabama’s. 

The Gator pass rush was relentless against the Rebels offensive front piling up four sacks on the evening and pressuring quarterback Chad Kelly on almost every drop back.

The Gators harassing defense also forced four Rebel turnovers. The effort was so dominating that the high-flying Rebels were never really in the game.  

Laquon Treadwell, the Ole Miss superstar wide receiver, had a very pedestrian night finishing with 5 catches for only 42 yards. 

The Gators fired in all cylinders Saturday night with suffocating defense, efficient offense, and competent special teams (besides onsides kick coverage and a botched extra point).

It was impressive enough to voters to push the Gators up to the cusp of the top ten. 

At 5-0 and upcoming games against LSU and Georgia, the Gators could very well find themselves in the top five if they can win out.

The AP Top 25 Poll

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Home ยป The AP Top 25 Poll

(###) Number of first place votes

1 Ohio State 

Ohio State (38)

Big Ten

Record: 5-0

PV Rank

1

Points

1,444

2 TCU 

TCU (5)

Big 12

Record: 5-0

4

1,371

3 Baylor 

Baylor (10)

Big 12

Record: 4-0

5

1,364

4 Michigan State 

Michigan State

Big Ten

Record: 5-0

2

1,291

5 Utah 

Utah (7)

Pac-12

Record: 4-0

10

1,254

6 Clemson 

Clemson

ACC

Record: 4-0

12

1,217

7 LSU 

LSU

SEC

Record: 4-0

9

1,212

8 Alabama 

Alabama

SEC

Record: 4-1

13

1,026

9 Texas A&M 

Texas A&M (1)

SEC

Record: 5-0

14

1,009

10 Oklahoma 

Oklahoma

Big 12

Record: 4-0

15

976

11 Florida 

Florida

SEC

Record: 5-0

25

935

12 Florida State 

Florida State

ACC

Record: 4-0

11

922

13 Northwestern 

Northwestern

Big Ten

Record: 5-0

16

753

14 Mississippi 

Mississippi

SEC

Record: 4-1

3

731

15 Notre Dame 

Notre Dame

Division I FBS Independents

Record: 4-1

6

721

16 Stanford 

Stanford

Pac-12

Record: 4-1

18

617

17 USC 

USC

Pac-12

Record: 3-1

17

498

18 Michigan 

Michigan

Big Ten

Record: 4-1

22

452

19 Georgia 

Georgia

SEC

Record: 4-1

8

441

20 UCLA 

UCLA

Pac-12

Record: 4-1

7

415

21 Oklahoma State 

Oklahoma State

Big 12

Record: 5-0

20

332

22 Iowa 

Iowa

Big Ten

Record: 5-0

254

23 California 

California

Pac-12

Record: 5-0

24

233

24 Toledo 

Toledo

Mid-American

Record: 4-0

87

25 Boise State 

Boise State

Mountain West

Record: 4-1

65

Others Receiving Votes:

Oregon 39, Duke 31, Houston 31, Temple 23, Memphis 19, Navy 19, Arizona St. 15, Mississippi St. 11, West Virginia 8, Texas Tech 4, BYU 3, Kansas St. 1, Missouri 1