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Gator Report

Antonya English

Gators DL Byran Cox undergoes surgery, will miss Birmingham Bowl

Florida DL Bryan Cox, Jr.. will not play in the Jan. 3 Birmingham Bowl due to an injury.

Cox underwent surgery on Monday to repair a hip problem, Gators interim coach D.J. Durkin said.

"Bryan Cox had surgery and will be out for the bowl," Durkin said. "It's a hip injury, something that was deteriorating over time that he needed to have done."

Cox, a redshirt sophomore, played in all 11 games this season with 29 tackles, including four sacks.

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Gators' D.J. Durkin denies reports of new job

Florida interim coach and defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin today denied reports that he has accepted another job.

Rports out of Texas Thursday morning said Durkin is scheduled to be hired as the new defensive coordinator at Texas A&M. But Durkin said the only job he has as of right now is with the Gators.

"I have not accepted any sort of job anywhere, here or anywhere else other than the job as interim coach for the bowl game," he said.

Durkin, who has been with the Gators five years, said he's focusing solely on getting the Gators ready to play in the Jan. 3. Birmingham Bowl and is looking forward to the challenge of being the head coach - even if only for one game. …

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Gators Vernon Hargreaves to be honored with All-American brick on UF campus

Florida sophomore cornerback Vernon Hagreaves III has been named a First Team All-America selection by the Sporting News, which means his accomplishment will forever be commemorated on the UF campus.

Hargreaves, a Tampa Wharton alum, will receive a brick outside the Gators' football facility to be placed among the numerous All-Americans that have come before him.

The Gators recognize players with a brick when they are first team All-Americans selected by one or more of the following organizations: Sporting News, Associated Press, Walter Camp, Football Writers Association of America and the American Football Coaches Association.

Also today, freshman CB Jalen Tabor was named to the Sporting News Freshman All-America team. DL Dante Fowler, a Lakewood alum, was named to the All-America Second Team.

Fowler, who has said he will not return for his senior season and declare for the NFL Draft, is currently projected by Mel Kiper as the No. 7 pick in the 2015 Draft.


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Jim McElwain's first Gator commitment is TE Daniel Imatorbhebhe

About 24 hours after his introductory press conference on Dec. 6, new Florida coach Jim McElwain hit the recruiting trail.

On Tuesday, he received his first oral commitment as the Gators' head coach.

Georgia TE Daniel Imatorbhebhe announced via Twitter that he plans to attend Florida.

Imatorbhebhe, who is 6-4, 227 pounds, said on his Twitter account: "Thank you to all the people/coaches that have supported me and given me an opportunity to play at their schools. . . . I'm extremely proud to announce that I will be attending the University of Florida!!!! #GatorNationWhatUP"

Imatorbhebhe is a 3-star recruit who is ranked No. 24 among tight ends. He is expected to enroll in January.

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Gators cornerback Vernon Hargreaves selected to AP All-America second team

The awards continue to come for Florida sophomore CB Vernon Hargreaves III.

Today, Hargreaves was named to the Associated Press All-America second team - the only Gator to be named to the first, second or third teams.

This past week, Hargreaves was selected for the AP All-SEC first team and was a first team All-SEC selection by the league's coaches.

Hargreaves led the SEC with 13 pass breakups on the year, and also had two interceptions and two recovered fumbles.

You can check out the full list of the AP All-America teams here

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Mississippi State defensive coordinator Geoff Collins to join Gators staff

Florida coach Jim McElwain has hired Mississippi State defensive coordinator Geoff Collins to become the new defensive coordinator at Florida.

Collins, 43, was Mississippi State’s defensive coordinator and linebackers coach the past four years. He was a 2014 Broyles Award nominee for the best assistant coach in the nation.

“His defenses have been successful everywhere he has been,” McElwain said. "It was important to maintain some of the same philosophies and concepts that have made the defenses around here successful with this hire and our players will continue to progress under his direction.”

Collins will be McElwain's first hire since he was hired on Dec. 4. He spent his first full week on the job recruiting - the only time he had to try and win players over before the NCAA dead period began this week. Several recruits said McElwain told them last week he plans to retain offensive line coach Mike Summers, but the status of the other Florida assistants remains unknown. …

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Will Muschamp to earn $3.7 million from Florida and Auburn

Auburn will officially introduce Will Muschamp as its new offensive coordinator today, 28 days after he was fired as the Gators' head coach.

"I'm excited to welcome Will back to Auburn as our new defensive coordinator," Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said in a statement. "Will is a one of the top defensive minds in college football who has great passion and energy for the game. He is a tremendous addition to our staff."

A news conference is scheduled for this morning in Auburn, Ala. Muschamp, who coached Auburn's defense in 2006 and 2007, will reportedly earn $1.6 million annually.

That will make him the highest paid assistant coach in college football.

And while he's working for Auburn, he's also going to be getting paid from Florida.

Muschamp's contract with the Gators does not have a clause in it that deducts future salary in the event he found another job - often a standard clause in coaches' contracts.

So for at least the next three years, Muschamp will earn $3.7 million between his salaries from Auburn and Florida. Florida owes Muschamp approximately $6.3 million to be paid in installments over the next four years. …

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Gators adjusting to life without Will Muschamp

Two weeks after former Florida coach Will Muschamp coached his final game for Florida, the Gators are adjusting to life without him.

Florida is preparing for its Jan. 3 game against East Carolina in the Birmingham Bowl, and interim coach D.J. Durkin said the Gators are working hard despite all the outside distractions they've been through during the past month. But, he said, it hasn't been easy.

“Change is always a difficult thing, but it is a part of life – not just football, but a part of life," Durkin said. "Our guys are going through the process and responding well to it. I told the team that life does not stop for anyone. You have to keep going, and our guys understand that. We had a great practice (Thursday) and they are going to be ready to go.”

Durkin is part of a Gators' staff in transition for the second time during his tenure - he was on Urban Meyer's staff when Meyer abruptly resigned. But he said he doesn't consider his role as the interim coach added pressure. …

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Gators expect Eli Carter to return vs. Texas Southern

Florida G Eli Carter is expected to play Friday night when the Gators host Texas Southern, but how much and the extent to which he'll be able to contribute is unknown.

Carter, a redshirt junior, suffered a mid-foot sprain on Nov. 20 and has played sparingly since. He has not played in the past two games (Kansas and Yale). The injury, which was originally feared to be more serious, has kept him out of the lineup for the past six games.

"He practiced (Wednesday)," Florida coach Billy Donovan said today. "He’s still having some soreness and some pain, but he wanted to give it a go. He’s going to practice again today. He’s cleared, and I would expect him to play and be available to play tomorrow. I don’t know how much yet. But he pretty much did everything in practice. I still think he’s not moving as well as I’d like to him to move. I don’t know if that’s him being cautious or him feeling some pain there, but he feels like he can go. Like I said, he’s cleared and it’s really on him now and he’s at a place where he wants to do it."

The Gators are 4-4 entering Friday night's game.

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Gators Treon Harris, Jalen Tabor named to SEC All-Freshman Team

Treon Harris, the Florida freshman QB who began preseason as the third string QB, but eventually won the starting job, has been named to the SEC All-Freshman Team, the league announced today.

Also joining him on the team, which is selected by the SEC's coaches, is Gators DB Jalen Tabor.

Harris was inserted into the Oct. 4 game at Tennessee late in the third quarter and went on to lead the Gators to a come from behind win.

He eventually led Florida to three wins and an upcoming appearance in the Jan. 3 Birmingham Bowl after he took over the starting job in the Nov. 1 game against Georgia.

Harris, a Miami native, passed for 896 yards and seven touchdowns with a quarterback rating of 142.36. He also rushed for 297 yards and three touchdowns, including two TD's against Vanderbilt.

Tabor has played in all 11 games for the Gators, with four starts. He had 28 tackles (19 unassisted) with four tackles-for-loss, two sacks and seven pass breakups.

Here is the full list of the SEC All-Freshman Team.





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Gators Vernon Hargreaves named to CBS Sports All-America team

Florida sophomore CB Vernon Hargreaves III has been selected to the CBS Sports All-America team, chosen by the college football staff at

Hargreaves is the only Gator player to be named to the team.

The Wharton alum led the SEC with 13 pass breakups this season, and also had two interceptions and two recovered fumbles.

Earlier this week Hargreaves was named to the AP All-SEC team and was a first-team selection on the Coaches All-SEC team.

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Gators Dante Fowler, Vernon Hargreaves among four All-SEC Coaches Team selections

The AP writers may not have been all that impressed with Dante Fowler's performance this season, but the SEC coaches were.

One day after Fowler was named an honorable mention selection on the AP All-SEC team, he was selected to the All-SEC Coaches First Team.

He was joined on the first team by Florida sophomore CB Vernon Hargreaves, who also was an AP first team selection on Monday.

Two other Gators were named to the All-SEC Coaches Second Team - C Max Garcia and LB Antonio Morrison.

Fowler, Hargreaves and Morrison were an integral part of the Florida defense that is currently ranked No. 9 in the nation, allowing 311.0 yards per game. The Gators allowed just 4.45 yards per play in the regular season, fifth best in the nation and No. 1 in the SEC.

Morrison leads the team in tackles (98). Fowler had a team-leading 12 tackles for loss and 15 QB hurries. Hargreaves led the SEC with 13 pass breakups on the year, and also had two interceptions and two recovered fumbles.

In his first season at the center position, Garcia started every game and graded out at 97 percent on 757 total plays. He was a two-time SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week. …

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East Carolina coach expects Gators to be motivated

The Florida Gators are in transition with a new head coach, while being led by an interim coach and a staff unsure of whether they'll have jobs in a few weeks.

Yet East Carolina coach Ruffin McNeill said he expects the Gators to be highly motivated when the Gators and East Carolina meet in the Jan. 3 Birmingham Bowl.

McNeill told The East Carolinian he doesn't the the firing of Will Muschamp and the hiring of Jim McElwain over the past three weeks will affect the Gators in the bowl game.

Here's the full story with McNeill addressing the Gators, coaching changes and how a good performance for the Gators migh ultimately help the rest of the staff.

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Gators guard Michael Frazier fine after injury scare

Florida junior guard Michael Frazier said after Monday night's game against Yale he is fine after an injury forced him to miss nearly 10 minutes of the game.

The Gators defeated Yale 85-47.

Frazier was hit in the face and left the game with 17:43 remaining in the second half Monday night at the O'Connell Center. He returned with 8:04 remaining in the game.

"They took me back to get some concussion tests, but I came back all right," Frazier said. "It stung me a little bit, but once Duke (Werner, athletic trainer) told me my nose wasn't broken, I knew I was good."

Frazier hit a season-high four 3-pointers in the game and now has 190 career 3-pointers which places him in ninth place on the Florida all-time list.

He had a game-high 18 points and said he believes the team is beginning to head in the right direction.

“It definitely feels good,” Frazier said. “We’re on the right track. We’re getting better, but we still have a long way to go. We can’t be satisfied.”


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Vernon Hargreaves III named First Team All-SEC by Associated Press

Florida sophomore CB Vernon Hargreaves III was named to the Associated Press All-SEC First Team today.

Hargreaves played in all 11 games for the Gators with 45 tackles (26 unassisted) and had two interceptions, 13 pass break ups and two recovered fumbles.

Hargreaves is among five Gators named to the team, but he is the only first team selection. LB Antonio Morrison and punter Kyle Christy were selected to the second team.

Gators DT Dante Fowler, Jr. was an honorable mention selection, which comes as a surprise. Fowler had just five sacks but was a dominating force at the position all season for the Gators. Return specialist Andre Debose was also honorable mention.

Alabama WR Amari Cooper was the AP Offensive Player of the Year; Missouri's Shane Ray was the Defensive Player of the Year and Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen was the Coach of the Year. Georgia RB Nick Chubb was the Freshman of the Year.

Here is the full list of players on the AP All-SEC teams.


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