Former Florida Gators’ Star Percy Harvin Wins Super Bowl with Seattle Seahawks

Percy Harvin didn’t return kickoffs during his time with the Florida Gators. The do-everything weapon was reserved to doing almost everything but returning kicks. Then Harvin went to the NFL.

Percy Harvin, Seattle Seahawks

In four seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, Harvin returned four kickoffs for touchdowns and twice led the league in kickoff return average. His 2012 average of 35.9 yards per return ranks third all-time; not in team history, in NFL history.

Traded to the Seattle Seahawks before the start of the 2013 season, big things were expected from the dynamic Harvin, but we would see him only touch the ball twice during the regular season. Of course, one of those touches was a 58-yard kickoff return. Even hobbled, Harvin is better than most at the football.

The playoffs came and Harvin was healthy once again, giving the Seahawks a threat barely seen during the regular season. Unfortunately, he wouldn’t return a kick during Seattle’s first game against the New Orleans Saints and would be held out of the NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers due to a concussion.

Then came the Super Bowl and a ready-to-go playmaker. Harvin only caught one pass and ran the ball just twice, but oh that kick return. Up 22-0 over the Denver Broncos, the Seahawks hoped to put more points on the board during their first drive of the second half. They wouldn’t have to wait long as Harvin would go 87 yards for the score. It was the fifth touchdown return of his career and by far the biggest of them all.

My obsession with Percy Harvin is no secret. As much talent as there was on the 2006 and 2008 Gators’ national title teams, Harvin was over-the-top special. We may never see such a pure athlete in orange and blue again. There are other names I could mention here that contributed greatly to one or both of those teams, but when Harvin got the ball, you made sure you were watching. Something jaw-dropping was about to happen.

On Sunday night, the oft-injured star made his mark again, this time on football’s biggest stage. Plenty of former Florida players have won the Super Bowl, but last night was Harvin’s moment. Congrats Percy. Go Gators!

2013 NFL Draft Good to Former Florida Gators; Floyd, Elam Selected in First Round

The 2013 NFL Draft was good to the Florida Gators. Good to the tune of eight former Gators selected in the first six rounds. And Florida wasn’t the only school celebrating its draft accomplishments. The SEC set a new record with 63 total players selected. Those of us that consider ourselves fans of the conference still chuckle when outsiders question the SEC’s dominance.

Sharrif Floyd - Minnesota Vikings

Kicking things off for the Gators–albeit later than expected–was defensive lineman Sharrif Floyd. Floyd–an early entrant–was once considered one of the few with a legitimate shot at being selected first overall. He wasn’t that high on every team’s board though and fell into the welcoming lap of the Minnesota Vikings at No. 23. A similar situation occurred just three years ago when Percy Harvin fell to the Vikings. Harvin was recently traded to the Seattle Seahawks, but had enjoyed a successful stint in Minnesota up to that point.

Sneaking into the first round with Floyd was another early entrant, safety Matt Elam. Elam couldn’t have fallen into a better situation; the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens selected him at No. 32. A first round talent, Elam could have been selected anywhere between picks No. 20 and No. 40 and no one would have been entirely surprised. As it stands, the Ravens feel they have found the perfect fit to fill the void left by Ed Reed who signed with the Houston Texans this offseason.

In the second round, the Chicago Bears selected linebacker Jon Bostic with the 50th overall pick. Bostic upped his game during his final season and pushed himself into a position where the Bears thought he was worthy of a second-round pick. With an NFL-ready body and superb on-the-field speed, Bostic could be the heir-apparent to former Chicago middle linebacker Brian Urlacher. Those are large shoes to fill, but the Bears will give him every opportunity.

The third round saw the selection of another early entrant. With the No. 85 pick, the Washington Redskins selected tight end Jordan Reed. There was some debate over Reed. While some thought he could improve his stock with another season at Florida, others believe he was selected where he would have been regardless of it being this year or next. Reed may be looked to early to bail out Robert Griffin III when the dynamic quarterback is pushed out of the pocket.

The Miami Dolphins made quite the splash beginning in the fourth round. The new-look Phins may have become many an orange and blue fan’s favorite team after they selected three former Florida Gators. Linebacker Jelani Jenkins was selected by Miami in the fourth round and was followed by running back Mike Gillislee and kicker Caleb Sturgis in the fifth.

The Gators’s run would come to an end in the sixth round when the Jacksonville Jaguars selected safety Josh Evans No. 169 overall. Evans ended a run of three Gators selected in six slots from picks 164 to 169.

Having eight players selected is nothing new for the Gators–just as recently as 2007 and 2010, Florida saw nine players picked–but it’s a great accomplishment all the same. Consistently putting players in the NFL–or at least preparing them to be drafted into the league–is something recruits notice. Not that Will Muschamp and the Gators need help in the recruiting department, but this is just one of many things that leads to top classes.

With the draft coming to an end, we closed the book on another season for the Florida Gators. The overall picture proves it to be a successful one. We can think of two very clear down moments that resulted in the ‘2’ in the 11-2 record, but the past season was one to build on. With that, we wish the newest NFL employees luck and remind them that once a Gator, always a Gator.

Sharrif Floyd Tops Mel Kiper Jr.’s Big Board; Could The Former Florida Gators DL Go No. 1?

Near the top of most lists for all of this year’s NFL Draft season, former Florida Gators defensive lineman Sharrif Floyd has become the No. 1 player on Mel Kiper Jr.’s Big Board. Floyd has already established himself as a top-five pick in next month’s draft, but as he continues to impress, the chances of him being selected first improve.

Sharrif Floyd - Florida Gators

Fans love to hate Kiper. If he doesn’t believe a player from your school is worthy of a top pick, you can’t stand the man and don’t believe he knows anything about, well, anything. If he does have your favorites among his top players, then it’s no better because that’s his job and he’s just regurgitating what you already knew. Basically, he can’t win.

Regardless, of how you feel about the man and his methods for ‘guessing’ the outcome of the NFL Draft, he does his homework and evaluates each year’s prospects to a level of detail few others do. And, of course, as Florida fans, we can now praise the man for his unmatched expertise and intelligence. There’s a player atop his board with a Gators logo next to his name.

Being atop Kiper’s Big Board doesn’t guarantee that Floyd will be selected No. 1 overall by the Kansas City Chiefs. First of all, the Chiefs are thought by many to be leaning toward an offensive lineman (but they could take the best overall player regardless of position, which they should probably do). Second, this is a year without a definitive top choice. But Floyd does have a chance to be the highest Gator ever selected in the draft and that’s something for us to applaud.

Florida has had three former players go No. 3 overall, but never been able to jump into the top two. Those three are extremely recognizable.

    • 1967 – Steve Spurrier – QB
    • 1978 – Wes Chandler – WR
    • 2001 – Gerard Warren – DT

Floyd could join those three at No. 3, or make a name for himself all alone as the only Florida player to ever be selected in the top two. And—orange and blue glasses aside—he’s worthy. He has the size, speed and overall talent to succeed in the NFL in either 4-3 or 3-4 systems. Throughout his Gators career, Floyd was moved from defensive tackle to 4-3 defensive end to nose tackle to end in the 3-4. His versatility and ability to excel wherever he lined up has made him one of the better players available. Whenever he goes, we won’t be waiting long to hear his name.

Oddly enough, the baseball program’s highest drafted player also went No. 3—Mike Zunino one year ago. The men’s basketball program bests both football and baseball by one spot. Neal Walk went No. 2 overall in 1969.

Pittsburgh Steelers Release Chris Rainey After The Former Florida Star’s Arrest

The Pittsburgh Steelers have released running back Chris Rainey, only hours after his recent arrest. The former Florida Gators’ star was arrested on a simple battery account earlier on Thursday.

Chris Rainey Mugshot

Witnesses saw Rainey pull his girlfriend from a vehicle and then slap her. She ran away, but Rainey chased her to retrieve his cell phone. Upon catching up with her, both were knocked to the ground. According to police, Rainey admitted to attempting to get his phone back, but denied hitting his girlfriend. He went on to say she fell out of the car when he reached for her purse which contained his phone. Witnesses had a different account of the situation.

Rainey was mostly used as a kick returner during his rookie season in the NFL. The Steelers were quick to act, stating that Rainey’s actions were disappointing and he was no longer a member of their organization.

Joe Haden Dismissed From Cleveland Browns Practice

Former Florida Gators star Joe Haden was kicked out of Cleveland Browns practice on Wednesday. The third-year pro was dismissed for being too rough with rookie wide receiver Travis Benjamin. Call it what you want, but the Browns deemed Haden’s play too intense for practice and told the former orange and bluer he needed to leave.

In the end, it was a non-issue as Browns’ head coach Pat Shurmur* said the matter was resolved quickly and everyone will move on from the situation. Haden has developed into a reliable defensive back in the NFL and will be counted on to be a leader in Cleveland; you know, when he isn’t beating up on rookie receivers.

*Now taking bets on the number of games Shurmur remains with the Browns. We’ll set the over/under at 24.

Jeff Demps Signs With New England Patriots

The trend of Bill Belichick picking up Florida Gators is continuing Friday. Jeff Demps – the Gators’ former speedster – decided to sign with the Patriots after much interest in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Demps will join his former teammates Jermaine Cunningham, Aaron Hernandez and Brandon Spikes in New England. The Patriots look to be Super Bowl contenders again after losing to the New York Giants last year. Demps should be used in many ways by the offensive mastermind that is Belichick and his speed will fit well on an already quick roster.

It’s unlikely that Demps has been chosen to replace Wes Welker at the slot position obviously because of the wide skill gap, but Demps should play some roles in the receiving game.

Bill Belichick should find some ways to use Demps that we never had imagined, and it will be interesting to watch Demps in his transition back from track to football.

Jeff Demps Likely To Sign With NFL Team Today

Former Florida Gators running back Jeff Demps is about to resume his playing career, according to the agency that represents Demps.

The former speedster Demps had quite an off-season this year, as he won a Silver medal in the London Olympics for the Stars and Stripes as a reserve. After the Gators’ football season last year, reports were that Demps was going to pursue a track career. Now, that objective seems to have shifted back to football.

It isn’t yet clear as to which team Demps is going to sign with. Some say the in-state Tampa Bay Bucs are interested. Others say a possible reunion with his Gators teammate Tim Tebow may be in order with the New York Jets.

Demps played his entire Gators career as a running back, but that’s not necessarily his NFL position. His speed could translate into being a slot receiver, especially because he may be too injury prone to handle the wear and tear of the NFL running back.

Demps’ decision should come out soon, and his decision should first be announced on this Twitter account.

Tim Tebow Pokes Fun At Brady Quinn, Notre Dame; Internet Loses Its Mind

Tim Tebow can do just about anything and turn it into news. That should be rephrased. Tim Tebow can do just about anything and we turn it into news. We’re all guilty, as much as we want to blame the “large” news providers. Everything he does generates a discussion. Such is the life of someone in the spotlight that generates so much love, but equal amounts of hate.

Tim Tebow and Brady Quinn, Denver BroncosThe latest has Tebow poking fun at former Denver Broncos teammate Brady Quinn and Notre Dame. If you can even call it that. It seemed like a harmless joke on Tebow’s part. Some believed it was actually an attack.

“I had a teammate at Denver who played the same position as me and he went to the University of Notre Dame. He would brag about his university, how great it was. Most of us in the locker room were like, ‘C’mon, we all had opportunities. We chose not to go there.’ … But he talked so much about his university that it became easy. I’d say, ‘Your whole team had one guy who ran under a 5.0 40. Our kicker ran under 5.0.” – Tim Tebow, New York Jets Quarterback

The former Florida Gators star said the above. Most of you are thinking it’s harmless. The rest of you want blood. Just take a look at the comments on this piece about the mystery of the disappearing story that originally had this quote. On second thought, don’t. Your brain will hurt.

It had been some time since Tebow was at the forefront of the news cycle, but thanks to us he’s back. At some point during Tebow’s career, we all took a side. He can do no wrong. He’ll never make it in the NFL. He’s the greatest college football player of all time. It’s all an act. I LOVE HIM! I HATE HIM! Honestly, it’s exhausting.

I’m a Tebow fan. I don’t deny that. I’ve questioned his ability to play quarterback in the NFL full time. Many have. That doesn’t make me less of a fan of the man that did so much for the Gators. I’m interested in his career progression and I’ll be watching New York Jets games during the 2012 NFL season. Tebow isn’t my favorite former Gator, but he’s up there. When I first read the quote about Quinn, I laughed. Then I discovered the world’s reaction. We’ve all lost our minds.

Can we all just agree on one thing? Florida kickers are fast.

Will Hill Fighting To Make New York Giants Regular Season Roster

The 2012 NFL regular season is still months away, but that’s exactly where former Florida Gators safety Will Hill hopes to be this year. Hill – undrafted after declaring for the 2011 NFL Draft after his junior season at Florida – is currently with the New York Giants and battling to extend his stay.

When mentioning Hill, the word “bust” comes into play more often than not. He never lived up to his enormous potential at Florida, but there were many reasons for it. Initially, he couldn’t crack the lineup full-time; then there was the trouble and suspension. None of it went as expected for either party and Hill parted ways with one season of eligibility remaining.

NFL teams would pass over Hill and he wound up in the Arena Football League with the Arizona Rattlers. One season later, he’s getting another chance to play in the NFL.

The Giants like Hill’s potential, but need to see more. With a number of other safeties competing for roster spots, Hill will need to be better than he ever was with the Gators. He’ll need to prove he can perform at high levels consistently and that any past trouble is behind him. It’s an uphill battle for Hill, but he’s getting another chance. It’s up to him what he does with it.

For starters, he should focus on delivering hits in the field of play.

Florida Gators Video Of The Day: Why People Hate Tim Tebow

It’s the summer break. While that doesn’t mean much besides warmer air and more annoying kids outside for all of you year-long workers, summer means more free time for students. We hope that you will be spending more time reading The Bull Gator, as I will be spending more time posting at it. That means it’s time for a new series at TBG. The Gators Video of the Day (GVOD for short) will feature, you guessed it, videos relating to the Florida Gators. They could be Gators athletes or homemade videos made by fans like ourselves. And if you have any suggestions for GVOD, email me at evandagator@gmail.com or TBG at onegameback@gmail.com. We will try our best to live up to the “of the day” part of the title.

Why do people hate Tim Tebow? That’s what YouTube vlogger Scooter Magruder asks. It’s a valid question. Often we, as Florida fans, wonder how it would even be possible to hate Tebow. Well, wonder no more. Scooter Magruder has the answer.

If you have not seen any of Magruder’s videos, get used to them at GVOD, as he is a former Gator himself. We hope for more Gators’ videos from him. Check out his YouTube channel.

What do you think? Do you agree? Why do you think people hate Tebow?