Florida Gators Recruiting: 4-Star Running Back Derrell Scott Receives Scholarship Offer

Florida continues it’s hard push to add a running back to the 2014 recruiting class. On Thursday, the Gators offered a scholarship to four-star running back Derrell Scott. The North Carolina native will officially visit Florida on January 17, 2014.

Derrell Scott, Florida Gators

From Havelock, NC (Havelock), Scott is a four-star prospect across the major recruiting services. He has more than a handful of scholarship offers, but seems to have the most interest in Florida, NC State, South Carolina and Tennessee. He visited the other three previously, but the timing of his visit to Florida gives the Gators a chance to take the lead. Scott’s 247 profile contains 34 predictions–all in favor of the Gamecocks–but the last one was made on November 20, 2013. South Carolina is still the safe pick, but Florida will get its chance with him.

At 5’10″, 181 pounds, Scott is a smaller back who uses his agility and breakaway speed to his advantage. He is a shifty runner with good patience and great ability to find the open field. Scott has good field vision, allowing him to quickly find the best path to daylight. Once he breaks away from defenses, he is able to get to another level in terms of speed and finish off long runs without getting caught from behind. He would be a great compliment to a team with a proven power runner already on its roster.

Florida Dismisses Damontre Harris; South Carolina Transfer Never Plays for Gators

Florida has announced the dismissal of forward Damontre Harris. The transfer from South Carolina leaves the program having never played for the Gators. Florida will allow Harris to transfer without any restrictions.

Damontre Harris, Florida Gators

Harris transferred to Florida from South Carolina hoping to play two seasons with the Gators after sitting out during the 2012-13 campaign. He was suspended before the 2013-14 season began and, just recently, head coach Billy Donovan said he didn’t believe Harris would ever play for the Gators. On Saturday, that became true.

At 6’9″, the forward/center was expected to play behind senior Patric Young this season and then take over for him in 2014-15. An SEC All-Defensive Team selection with the Gamecocks, Harris was a welcome addition to the Gators roster. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to put it all together and get himself in Donovan’s good graces.

The timing of Harris’s dismissal is one to note as it will give him the ability to join another program for the spring semester. When he’ll actually be able to play is up to the NCAA.

First Half Lead Evaporates as the Florida Gators Lose 5th Consecutive Game

The Florida Gators won the first half on Saturday against the South Carolina Gamecocks 14-6. Two weeks ago, they won the second half against the Georgia Bulldogs 17-0. The real story, however, lies in the other halves of each of those games. For the second time in the last three games, the Gators couldn’t put together 60 minutes of football and as a result now sit at 4-6 after a fifth-straight loss.

Skyler Mornhinweg - Florida Gators

There was hope in this one. It wasn’t the hope of coming from behind for a change. No, this time around, there was hope because of the lead the Gators had put together. Florida’s offense looked like it had pulled all of the pages out of Navy’s playbook. There was motion everywhere and handoffs left and right to backs going in every possible direction. And for a few moments it actually seemed to work.

Freshman running back Kelvin Taylor had a season-high 21 carries, a season-high 96 yards, and (you guessed it) a season-high two touchdowns. He looked, as he has for most of the season even when running behind a pieced-together offensive line, every bit the star he was projected to be. In a season where good feelings have become a thing of the past, Taylor is a bright light guiding us to a promising future. He was fun to watch when he was in high school and he’s fun to watch in orange and blue.

But all good things must come to an end and Taylor’s productive first half gave way to a second half during which South Carolina’s defense tightened. Not having to worry much about the Gators’ passing game, the Gamecocks could key on slowing the running game. That defense did its job, shutting out Florida for the final 30 minutes. In reality, the Gators last score came with 10:51 remaining in the second quarter. 19:09 – 14 points; 40:51 – 0 points. The seemingly hot start cooled rapidly.

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Year Four of Will Muschamp is a Certainty, But First the Gamecocks

Will Muschamp was given a vote of confidence this week—he will be the head coach of the Florida Gators in 2014. Both athletic director Jeremy Foley and University of Florida president Bernie Machen have come out in support on Muschamp; Foley going as far as to say he is 1,000% convinced Muschamp is the right man for the job. Debates will rage on, but are now as pointless as are those regarding possible future coaches. Will Muschamp will return, as far as we know.

Will Muschamp - Florida Gators

With the votes of confidence from Foley and Machen, Muschamp can focus on what is sure to be a tough run of final games. The regular season, and in all likelihood the entire season, comes to an end on November 30 with a visit from the currently undefeated Florida State Seminoles. One week before that, the Gators host Georgia Southern in what at one time was thought to be an easy victory. Easy victories have become a thing of the distant past. Prior to both of those games, there is Saturday’s trip to Columbia, South Carolina to face an old friend and another ranked opponent.

I will always have a feeling of admiration for Steve Spurrier, and maybe that makes me a different sort of Florida fan. There are those, and they still seem many in numbers, that despise the man that once led the Gators to glorious moment after glorious moment. After all, he left the Gators and that is the sin of all sins. You don’t win and win plenty at the University of Florida and then leave for a new opportunity or because the pressure was too much. The Gators have had two national championship winning head coaches do so, and many fans are not pleased about it and never will be.

There are some of us, though, that have moved on. I don’t blame Spurrier for leaving; I praise him for what he built. You can argue that the Florida Gators were destined for greatness regardless of the man that led them there. The school is large enough and the state in which it resides is plentiful of star high school prospects. While the 1970s had low points, the 1980s had high ones before Spurrier arrived. In 1990, things changed though. Spurrier returned to Gainesville and took the Gators to new heights. No one can predict what would have happened if he hadn’t, but I like to think those 12 seasons and 122 wins helped pave the way for SEC titles and national championships after Spurrier had long left the orange and blue.

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Late Thanksgiving Thankfulness: Thankful The Florida Gators Only Face Jadeveon Clowney Once More

Thanksgiving has come and gone. It wasn’t even last month at this point. It was days and weeks and months ago. But I’m thankful for something I’d like to add to my list from last year. I’m thankful the Florida Gators only have to face South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney once more. He has to leave after his junior season, right? I present to you the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.

Florida Gators 44 – South Carolina Gamecocks 11; Gators Take Control Of SEC East In Big Victory

With a 44-11 win over the South Carolina Gamecocks, the Florida Gators took control of the SEC East. At 7-0 (6-0 SEC), the Gators have two more conference games to get through before a possible trip to Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game. It seemed a year away before the 2012 season began, but after seven games, it’s now a very real possibility.

Florida Gators Fans

Watching the first half, you felt that the Gators had control of the game despite a (beyond) subpar offensive performance. It was an odd feeling, but when the Gators entered the locker room leading 21-6, there was a definite aura of victory. While Florida wasn’t moving the ball particularly well, they were winning by two scores and the defense was playing up to its high expectations. If you told me a team with 29 total yards of offense could lead a football game by 15 after 30 minutes of play, I would have told you that you were out of your mind. But you would have been right and that’s all that matters.

The second half was more kind to the Gators offense. Although, after 60 minutes, Florida was still outgained. The Gators scored an unfathomable 44 points on 181 total yards. Turnovers and special teams will do that for you though. And it doesn’t hurt to have a ridiculously unbelievable statline like this one…

Jeff Driskel – 11/16, 93 yards, 4 touchdowns, 0 interceptions

Amazed? Well, here were the numbers at the half…

Jeff Driskel – 5/7, 15 yards, 3 touchdowns, 0 interceptions

The Gators have passed for less than 100 yards in three-straight games for the first time since before Steve Spurrier roamed the home team’s sidelines. They have also won all three of those games and two against top-10 teams. I’ll say that again to be sure you’ve heard me. The Gators have won three-straight games–two against top-10 teams–while passing for less than 100 yards in each.

In this one, they didn’t run it particular well either. That’s saying something for South Carolina’s defense and not necessarily a lack of production from Florida. The Gators had trouble blocking the Gamecocks front four to no surprise to anyone. It’s a talented South Carolina defense, but Florida managed to do enough to win. I would say just enough by looking at the stats, but then I glance at the final score. A 33-point win classifies as much more than “just enough.”

There you have it Gators fans. Another win–the seventh off the season. During Will Muschamp’s first season as head coach, the Gators won a total of seven games and needed the bowl game to hit that mark. This time around, it took seven games to get to seven. If you’re out tonight celebrating the victory, go ahead and order yourself a seven and seven. You deserve it. We all do. But the biggest congrats goes to the Florida Gators; our Florida Gators. 7-0 is so sweet and it’s always great to be a Florida Gator.

Preview: Florida Gators Vs. South Carolina Gamecocks; SEC East Control Up For Grabs

The Florida Gators host the South Carolina Gamecocks today in what could amount to a battle for control of the SEC East. I’ll keep this short because the die-hards among you have already joined the tailgate of champions. The weather is pretty close to perfect and Fall is here. That makes for a great day of football, not only in Gainesville, but across the SEC.

Jarvis Moss - Florida Gators

As you await kickoff and another matchup between two great programs, build your anticipation for this one accordingly. Yes, I used the word great for the Gamecocks as well. Our once head coach has led them to heights never before experienced in Columbia and good for them. Rivalries are a great part of the sport and this one may never have reached this level without an injection of Steve Spurrier.

There are those among us that still love Spurrier–I’m one of them. There are also those that don’t feel anything positive toward the man. My guess is that second group has calmed its stance slightly after the Urban Meyer situation. Hopefully they realize what Spurrier did for the mighty Florida Gators. Without him, mighty may not be the right descriptor. But today, he’s the enemy. We can praise his accomplishments as a player and a coach at the University of Florida and we can thank him for what he did. One day, I’ll tell my son about the man that propelled the orange and blue to greatness. Not today.

Today, Spurrier is just that man leading the other team. He is Derek Dooley, Les Miles, Nick Saban and Jimbo Fisher. There is no connection today. Today he must be beat. The winner controls the SEC East. Both teams control their own destiny; all they have to do is keep winning to punch their ticket to Atlanta. It’s about who wants it more. We know which side we’re on and we’re ready to see those mighty Florida Gators take care of business once more.

Enjoy the weather. Enjoy the fall. Enjoy another college football Saturday. And, as always, Go Gators!

Talking Florida Gators Vs. South Carolina Gamecocks On WACH Fox With Leftover Hot Dog

I had a chance to talk with Tyler Ryan of WACH Fox out of Columbia, SC and Billy Kohler of the South Carolina blog Leftover Hot Dog. We discussed our thoughts for the game between the Gamecocks and Florida Gators, Marcus Lattimore, and (begrudingly) gave our predictions on the game. Not to worry, they were on location, so you don’t have to stare at my ugly mug; I called in. A big thanks to those guys for asking me to appear and represent the Gators side of things, though the feelings might not be so friendly come Saturday.

Bruised Hip May Limit Marcus Lattimore; Florida Gators Game Plan Shouldn’t Change

When news broke on Wednesday that South Carolina star running back Marcus Lattimore had missed practice with a bruised hip, the outlook of Saturday’s game changed. With their offensive star far from 100%, the Gamecocks’ chances against the Florida Gators took a hit. That is, if he is truly limited.

Marcus Lattimore - South Carolina Gamecocks

At this point, we’re hearing that Lattimore “might not start.” That’s very different than “will be out.” If Lattimore doesn’t start, but is available, it means he can play if needed. If South Carolina takes care of business without him, Steve Spurrier and the rest of the Gamecocks’ staff would be comfortable with him watching from the sidelines. That, though, isn’t desired. South Carolina wants Lattimore to play and may even need him to play.

The Gamecocks are much more than Lattimore and what he brings to the team, but there’s no denying his star status and what he brings to their offense. He has three 100-yards games and has scored each time South Carolina has taken the field this season. If you need proof of what he can do, you can simply go to his stat line from the 2010 game against the Gators: 40 carries, 212 yards, three touchdowns. He was a true freshman at the time and the Gamecocks won by 22.

But, as I said, he isn’t the entire team. South Carolina took care of business in 2011 against Florida without him. Sure, it was a very different Gators’ team just one season ago, but a win is a win is a win and the Gamecocks are 6-1 in games he hasn’t appeared in. Think about that for just a moment. They are 20-7 with Lattimore, but their win percentage is actually better without him. Is he an important part of their offense? Definitely. Can they win without him? They sure can.

For now, his status is uncertain. It shouldn’t matter to the Gators though. In the first half of the regular season, Florida has proven to have one of the better defenses in the nation. The Gators are playing fast (which is nothing new), but are also playing a physical style of football that was missing at times the past two seasons. Marcus Lattimore or not, the Gators’ game plan doesn’t change.

If Lattimore can go, they have to contain him. If he can’t, they shift their attention to Kenny Miles and Mike Davis (yes, that Mike Davis). Miles, a senior, has gone over 10 carries 11 times in his career. Six of those times came way back in 2009. Davis, a freshman, has 13 career carries to his credit. He’s averaging 9 yards per carry, but that number is lifted by a 50-yard gain against UAB. There isn’t a lot to the Gamecocks’ run game from the running backs not named Marcus Lattimore, but the Gators should still stick to their plan. And they will.

This game means too much to Florida to deviate from what works and what they hope to do. Injury reports, whether real or not (as some speculate Spurrier is playing mind games with the Gators), don’t matter much. The Gators are preparing for another hard-fought SEC battle. The Gamecocks without Lattimore are still a very good, talented team. They still have playmakers on offense and a frightening defense. And that describes Florida as well. Lattimore or no Lattimore, the Gators can win this game, if they prepare for it and play it their way.

The Florida Gators Are The Nation’s No. 2 Team, With Ranking Comes Great Expectations

Remember 2006? Of course you do. The Florida Gators would finish the season as the nation’s No. 2 team according to the final BCS standings. And 2008? There were the Gators again at No. 2. How about 2009? The Alabama Crimson Tide held the No. 1 spot in the final rankings. Just last season? Alabama at No. 2. What do those teams have in common? They would each go on to victory in the BCS National Championship Game. But where did they start? And why am I asking you so many questions?

Jeff Driskel - Florida Gators

The Gators were No. 6 in the first set of BCS standings in 2006. In 2008, Florida was all the way down at No. 10. Alabama was No. 2 in 2009 (behind then No. 1 Florida). And the Tide were No. 2 in 2011. So the Gators weren’t in the top two of the first rankings during either of their title years, but the Tide were both times they won it all. Yes, were going somewhere with this.

On Sunday, the first BCS standings of the 2012 season were released and the top two spots were occupied by the programs that have won four of the last six championships. Alabama at No. 1 isn’t a surprise in even the loosest definition of the word. It was inevitable. There really is no debate on that, even if some will try. And even if some of those that would debate it should be our own Florida Gators.

Those Gators, though, they’re right there at No. 2 with the shock you were all looking for. In my own submission in the SB Nation College Football BlogPoll just one day ago, I had Florida at No. 3. I can’t argue the No. 2 ranking and won’t even try, but I did want to put it out there again that I wasn’t as generous. For a number of reasons really, but one in particular.

With high rankings come high expectations and maybe I don’t want to believe it all just yet. I was quite enjoying being the team that’s not supposed to be up there. After a 7-6 season, most of us Florida fans were thinking 9-4 was in the realm of possibility. We could see a perfect storm producing 10 wins, but we could also envision a season that brought eight. There were so many questions to be answered and improvements to be made that we just weren’t sure. And please keep in mind that being an optimistic fan is worlds different than taking a realistic approach of the situation before you. 2012 was to be an improvement on 2011. We could have seen 6-0 coming, but No. 2 was a shock.

You know how it goes, “If the season were to end today, we’d see another all-SEC national title game.” The season doesn’t end today, but yes, if it did, the Gators would face the Tide for the crystal ball. That scares me. It shouldn’t. After all, I’m a Florida fan and have been for most of my life (I’m not sure who I cheered for before I turned 5 years old and discovered the orange and blue), but it scares me because I’m not sure they’re ready. I was thinking everything would come together in 2013 and that would be the season the Gators could really make some noise. All of that came one season early. Or did it?

We’re at the halfway point of the season with games against South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida State still to come. Just two weeks ago, all three of those teams were in the top six. Today, they each have one loss, but they’re still three of this season’s better programs. Florida faces them all. 6-0 could very easily become 9-3. Then again, it could be 10-2. How about 11-1? Does anyone dare go to 12-0? We can ask that question. Not because we have the right to, but because there’s a real chance it could happen. That perfect storm isn’t 10 wins anymore. It’s higher.

South Carolina just lost to a team the Gators beat. Georgia lost to South Carolina. FSU lost to an ACC team they weren’t supposed to lose to. None of those losses guarantee future Florida wins, but they showed that there are ways to beat those teams. Put it all together and it’s all looking mighty bright in Gator Nation.

What happens from here starts on Saturday, but losses now bring an added disappointment. Expectations will do that to you. Before I’m lit up with “ALL LOSSES HURT!!!” let’s look at that statement. Some hurt more than others. Without expectations, they’re awful. With them, they take on an entire new meaning. Tell me, what was worse? Losing to the Seminoles in 2011? Or to Alabama in the 2009 SEC Championship Game? I know my answer.

The expectations aren’t going away and so we must accept them. Maybe even learn to like them. They increased after 3-0 and intensified after the win over LSU. Beat South Carolina and they may just be sky-high. I’ll be fine with that, but nervous. But I’ll take a good nervous over a bad one any day.