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Gator Report

Antonya English

Gators guard Michael Frazier to bypass final season, enter NBA Draft

Michael Frazier II has decided to bypass his senior season and enter the 2015 NBA Draft.

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Michael Frazier II has decided to bypass his senior season and enter the 2015 NBA Draft.

Michael Frazier II has played his final game for the Gators.

The junior guard has decided to bypass his senior season and enter the 2015 NBA Draft.

The decision comes at the end of an injury-filled season that was marred by disappointment and the Gators' failure to make it into the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 2008-09 season.

Frazier played in 26 games this season, but missed seven after suffering a high ankle sprain on Feb. 7, then returned for the final three games, including two in the SEC Tournament, but was not at full capacity.

Despite the injury, he finished as the team's second leading scorer with 12.1 points per game.

He will finish his career with 998 points - two shy of the 1,000 point mark.

Frazier, who is from Tampa, graduated from Montverde Academy.

Last season he set the Florida record for 3-pointers made in a season (118) and in a game vs. South Carolina (11). He was named to the All-SEC Tournament team and the All-NCAA Tournament South Regional team as a sophomore.

With Frazier's depature, the Gators will return senior Eli Carter, and also have redshirt freshman Brandone Francis and incoming freshman KeVaughn Allen at the guard position.

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Gators track and field star Marquis Dendy earns national honor

One week after winning national championships in the long and triple jump, Florida track and field athlete Marquis Dendy has been named the  2015 USTFCCCA (United States Track and Field Cross Country Coaches Association) National Indoor Field Athlete of the Year.

Dendy previously earned SEC and USTFCCCA South Region Field Athlete of the Year honors.

Dendy, a senior who is on The Bowerman Award Watch List, has now swept both jumps at the last three championship meets: the 2014 NCAA Outdoors, 2015 SEC Indoors and 2015 NCAA Indoors.

He's accomplished those in historic fashion. In Eugene last spring, Dendy was the first athlete since 2002 to sweep both jumps, and at the SEC Indoors meet this year, he was the first since Gator Christian Taylor did so in 2009. 

The Middletown, Del., native PR (and school record) jumps at indoor nationals in the long (8.28m/27-2) before hitting a world-leading 17.37m/57 leap to win his fifth individual national title, third indoors, last Saturday.

Dendy’s triple performance is the third-best jump in collegiate indoor history and was the best mark for a collegian since 1986.

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Gators will put on the pads for first time this spring

Jim McElwain and the Gators staff will get a better idea of how well spring practice is going when the Gators finally put on pads for the first time today.

“We get to start to do something that resembles football out there (today)," McElwain said. We’ll be looking forward to some of the things. We’ll get some of our combo concept run game in, which will be good. Wor- heavy, play action stuff as we get with that first day in pads.”

McElwain said one of the things he and the staff will be evaluating is how players compete once the pads are on.

"I know the guys get excited when we put pads on," he said. "And yet it will be controlled. At the same time we’ll be able to see how some guys react. There are guys sometimes that are no-pad All-Americans. When you put the pads on, they slow down a little bit or something. We’ll find out about that on Friday.”

With depth issues at offensive line, and in an effort to keep players relatively healthy, McElwain said the staff will do everything possible to simulate real game situations, but not conduct full-bore practices. …

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Gators Treon Harris embracing QB competition

When he was inserted into the lineup late in a game on the road against Tennessee last season, nobody was more stunned than Florida QB Treon Harris. …

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Beefed up and confident, Gators Joey Ivie looking to make strides this spring

Joey Ivie (91) played in all 12 games last season as a member of the defensive line rotation. He earned his first start in the Birmingham Bowl.


Joey Ivie (91) played in all 12 games last season as a member of the defensive line rotation. He earned his first start in the Birmingham Bowl.

When he arrived in Gainesville three years ago, Pasco alum Joey Ivie was about 257 pounds. He eventually got up to about 270, then last year he played at 285.

As spring practice began on Monday, the 6-foot-3 Ivie is at his highest weight and feeling the best he has in his career. Along with the experience he gained this past season, he's hoping it's a combination that will make him even more valuable on the defensive line for the Gators in 2015, capable of providing a lot of versatility.

“Well, I’m 295 right now," Ivie said. "I’ve put on a lot of weight and I’m moving like the same with it. And so I’ve been playing a lot of inside and they really like me inside. And with my weight, I’m going to be more inside, 3-tech mode, maybe like a 3-4 end. Whatever they need me to play. I’m a team guy, I’ll play whatever they need me to play.”

Ivie played in all 12 games last season as a member of the defensive line rotation. He earned his first start in the Birmingham Bowl.

Ivie said he was pleased with his progress last season, but with a new coaching staff the Gator players must now prove themselves all over again to new coaches. For Ivie, that's not a major concern. …

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Jim McElwain pleased with Gators' first practice

Florida opened spring practice under new head coach Jim McElwain on Monday to pleasant results, the coach said.

McElwain said even without pads in the first several days, there is "a lot" that can be discovered about this team.

"You can see how guys communicate," McElwain said. "That's first and foremost. I was excited to hear the guys actually communicating with each other, because if you're all on the same page, even if it's not maybe the exact thing that you wanted, but at least all 11 are working the same way. So from a communication standpoint, that was really good to see."

McElwain said the defense, which returns many of its veteran players and has continuity, is not surprisingly ahead of the offense. …

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Comeback? Tim Tebow reportedly works out for Eagles

Former Gators quarterback Tim Tebow, who hasn't played in the NFL since 2012, reportedly took a small step toward a comeback Monday, working out for the Philadelphia Eagles, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Tebow, who worked last season as an analyst for the SEC Network, hasn't played since his one season with the Jets in 2012, when he threw only eight passes in a limited role. The 2007 Heisman Trophy winner, who helped the Gators to national titles in 2006 and 2008, is still only 27 years old. He hasn't been on an NFL roster since the preseason of 2013, when he was cut by the Patriots.

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Dante Fowler changes agents

Former Florida DL Dante Fowler, Jr. has severed ties with NFL agent Jimmy Sexton and signed with a new firm.

According to Darren Heitner in an article for Forbes, Fowler has terminated his relationship with Sexton's Creative Artists Agency (CAA) and signed with Relativity Sports - a CAA rival.

Fowler, a St. Petersburg native, is a potential Top 5 pick in the April NFL Draft.

Here is the full story on Fowler's decision to change agents one month prior to the draft.

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Gators not trying to "replace" Dante Fowler

When Florida begins spring practice on Monday, the Gators will be in search of new players to help formulate a dominating pass rush next fall.

What they won't be in search of, first-year coach Jim McElwain said, is a "replacement" for projected NFL first round draft pick Dante Fowler, Jr.

It's just not going to happen, McElwain said.

"I'm a believer in this: "You don't replace a Dante Fowler. The guy is going to be a top 10, whatever, a top-five pick in the National Football League. That's a pretty good league, by the way. So you don't replace that guy."

What the Gators want is to find players who will step up and be able to make a similar contribution. …

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Gators coach Amanda Butler gets two year contract extension

Florida women's basketball coach Amanda Butler has signed a two-year contract extension that will run through the 2019 season, Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley announced today.

Butler just concluded her eighth season at Florida. The Gators finished 13-17 this past season, ending their season with a 71-49 loss to Auburn in the first round of the SEC tournament.

"Clearly, the results of last season were not what anyone, including coach Butler, had hoped," Foley said. "That said, I continue to strongly feel that Amanda is the right person to get Florida women's basketball to be a contender in this league and nationally. She's a Gator and will keep working tirelessly to elevate this program."

Butler is the second-winningest coach in program history. The Gators have averaged 19 wins per season during her tenure, and earned a postseason berth seven times. …

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Gators coach Jim McElwain to speak in Tampa April 27

As part of nine speaking engagements on the annual Gator Gathering spring speaking tour, first-year
Florida coach Jim McElwain will speak to the Tampa/Pinellas Gator clubs on April 27.

McElwain will make his first two stops in Gainesville. He will also speak across the state and in Georgia.
Several of his assistants will also make four appearances.

Here is the full schedule for the spring speaking tour:

APRIL 7: Jim McElwain. Gainesville QB Club, Gainesville

APRIL 14: McElwain. Titletown Gator Club, Gainesville

APRIL 21: McElwain,  Polk County Gator Club, Lakeland

APRIL 22: JMcElwain, Central Florida Gator Club, Orlando

APRIL 27: McElwain, Tampa/Pinellas Co. Gator Clubs, Tampa

APRIL 27: Geoff Collins, Volusia County Gator Club, Daytona Beach

APRIL 28: McElwain, Gator Club of Jacksonville, Jacksonville

APRIL 28: Mike Summers, Emerald Coast Gator Club, Fort Walton Beach

APRIL 29: McElwain, Atlanta Gator Club, Atlanta

MAY 4: McElwain, Marion County Gator Club, Ocala

MAY 5: Randy Shannon, Gator Club of Miami, Miami

MAY 6: Chris Rumph, Sarasota/Manatee Co. GC, Sarasota

MAY 28: McElwain, Fightin' Gator TD Club, Gainesville

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Lack of depth at O-line again an issue for Gators

Two years ago, Florida had so little depth at offensive line it forced then coach Will Muschamp to alter the Gators' Orange and Blue spring game from a traditional game.

New head coach Jim McElwain may now be facing a similar situation.

The Gators will open spring practice on March 16 with just seven scholarship offensive lineman.

McElwain announced Tuesday that probable starting center Trip Thurman is out for the spring with a shoulder injury, and it's unclear if he'll be able to play when the season begins.

“He’s not going to do anything in practice,” McElwain said. “He’s still with the team. That shoulder is such that if we can get an eight-month cycle off of it, then maybe we’re able to piece some things together with him next fall."

Of scholarship linemen, only sophomore OT Rod Johnson has experience. Three are redshirt freshman — Travaris Dorsey, Kavaris Harkless and Andrew Mike.

McElwain said the only positive is that the young players will get plenty of experience.

“The way I look at guys not being able to go in spring is it now gives the other guy an opportunity to get valuable reps," he said. "So, that’s what we really try to accomplish with them.” …

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Gators Dorian Finney-Smith, Devin Robinson named to All-SEC teams

Two Gators earned All-SEC honors for men's basketball, the league announced today.

Redshirt junior Dorian Finney-Smith was named to the All-SEC second team, and F Devin Robinson was named to the All-Freshman team.

Finney-Smith is the Gators' leading scorer with 13.1 points and six rebounds per game. He also leads in both categories in SEC play, with averages of 12.9 points and 6.4 rebounds. This is his second SEC honor after being named 2014 SEC Sixth Man of the Year.

Robinson started 10 of Florida’s 18 SEC games and averaged 6.8 points and 2.8 rebounds per game in league play. He ranks 10th among SEC freshman in both scoring and rebounding in SEC games.

Kentucky coach John Calipari was named the SEC Coach of the Year after leading his team to a 30-0 regular season record.

More SEC Superlatives:

SEC Coach of the Year: John Calipari, Kentucky
SEC Player of the Year:  Bobby Portis, Arkansas
SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Levi Randolph, Alabama
SEC Freshman of the Year: Karl-Anthony Towns, Kentucky
SEC Sixth-Man of the Year: Devin Booker, Kentucky
SEC Defensive Player of the Year: Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky


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Gators Jim McElwain "excited" to begin spring practice

Florida will open spring football on March 16, and coach Jim McElwain met with the media today to preview the upcoming practices.

Here are his thoughts on many issues, including the QB's, injuries, lack of depth at O-line, and whether the Gators can have a "traditional" spring game.

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NFL Network profiles former Gator Dante Fowler, Jr.

Former Gator Dante Fowler Jr.'s stock continues to rise as he prepares for the upcoming NFL Draft.

Fowler, a St. Petersburg native, is projected by several NFL analyst to be drafted as high as No. 3.

The NFL Network offered this profile of Fowler as part of its First Draft series.

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