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Sunshine State Report

The latest on college sports in Florida

Report: UCF's George O'Leary could stay AD, leave coaching

George O'Leary was named the school's interim AD over the summer and is in his 12th season as the Knights' coach.

AP photo

George O'Leary was named the school's interim AD over the summer and is in his 12th season as the Knights' coach.

UPDATE, 3:09: O'Leary told the Orlando Sentinel that he plans to keep doing both jobs well and that his new contract expires in 2020. Here's the Sentinel's story. 

 

UCF football coach George O'Leary would like to become the school's full-time athletic director and end his coaching career after the season, according to a report from USA Today.

O'Leary was named the school's interim AD over the summer and is in his 12th season as the Knights' coach.

According to USA Today, offensive coordinator Brent Key would be the most likely replacement for O'Leary as head coach.

This isn't the first time rumors have circulated about O'Leary's future. Although he did tell the Orlando Sentinel in the winter that he might retire before his coaching contract expires in 2017. 

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TC alum Corey Martinez named Florida State's starting center

While Monday's focus at Florida State was on Everett Golson being named the starting quarterback, the Seminoles made another noteworthy announcement: Tampa Catholic product Corey Martinez will start at center for the season opener.

"That's a position like quarterback - you can snap it or you can't," coach Jimbo Fisher told reporters. "Getting those guys all there is very critical."

"Those guys" means redshirt freshman Alec Eberle and redshirt sophomore Ryan Hoefield. Eberle is out with an injury, and Hoefield started the first four games last year. Both could challenge Martinez at the position in the coming weeks.

Martinez is a 6-foot-4, 295-pound redshirt freshman and a four-star recruit. 

 

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Everett Golson named FSU's staring quarterback

Everett Golson, left, pictured next to linebacker Reggie Northrup, will be Florida State's starting quarterback to start the season.

AP photo

Everett Golson, left, pictured next to linebacker Reggie Northrup, will be Florida State's starting quarterback to start the season.

Florida State's month-long quarterback competition ended Monday evening when coach Jimbo Fisher officially named Everett Golson the starter.

Golson, a graduate transfer from Notre Dame, beat out redshirt junior Sean Maguire to earn the right to start Saturday's season opener at Texas State.

The 6-foot, 199-pound Golson is familiar with Doak Campbell Stadium. The last time he took a meaningful snap there, he threw for 313 yards in Notre Dame's 31-27 primetime loss to FSU.

In Golson's 25 games at Notre Dame, he threw for 5,850 yards and 41 touchdowns. He also rushed for 581 yards and 14 scores.

Despite the close battle, Fisher said Golson won't be in danger of losing his starting spot quickly.

"I'm not going to short-leash anybody," Fisher said during Monday's weekly news conference. "When I played, I don't want somebody looking over my shoulder every mistake I made. I don't coach that way. In the end, I'll put the guy in the game that I think can win the football game."

And Saturday, that will be Golson.

 

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Everett Golson or Sean Maguire? FSU not ready to say yet

Jimbo Fisher won't say whether Notre Dame transfer Everett Golson or redshirt junior Sean Maguire, pictured, will start Saturday's season opener.

AP photo

Jimbo Fisher won't say whether Notre Dame transfer Everett Golson or redshirt junior Sean Maguire, pictured, will start Saturday's season opener.

Florida State remains mum on its quarterback battle.

Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher said he has a "good idea" whether Notre Dame transfer Everett Golson or redshirt junior Sean Maguire will start Saturday's season opener, but he wouldn't say which way he was leaning.

We'll know here very soon," Fisher said in his weekly news conference in Tallahassee.

Fisher said he will tell the team before he announces his decision publicly. He said he has been pleased with both players and that some of his decision will come down to how the other 10 offensive players work around the quarterback.

Stay tuned.

 

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Florida Gators' Antonio Morrison (knee) will play Saturday

Linebacker Antonio Morrison, right, sustained a serious knee injury in the Birmingham Bowl.

Getty Images

Linebacker Antonio Morrison, right, sustained a serious knee injury in the Birmingham Bowl.

Florida's defense will get a big, perhaps unexpected boost Saturday.

Linebacker Antonio Morrison is listed as the starting middle linebacker and will be able to play, eight months after sustaining a serious knee injury in the Birmingham Bowl.

"It's unbelievable what he's done," Gators coach Jim McElwain said. "Really proud of what he's done."

Morrison was a second-team all-SEC selection last fall and a team captain. He led UF with 101 tackles - the first Gators linebacker with that many since 2007.

McElwain said UF will limit Morrison, so he won't play the full game as he continues to recover.

In other injury news, five-star freshman lineman Martez Ivey (leg) and starting safety Keanu Neal (leg) won't practice today, but neither has been officially ruled out for Saturday's season opener. 

 

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2016 recruit Zach McCloud signs agreement with Miami Hurricanes

Four-star recruit Zach McCloud has signed a grant-in-aid agreement with Miami, the Hurricanes announced Monday morning.

McCloud, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound linebacker, had almost 120 tackles as a junior for Santaluces High in Palm Beach County.

 Three other 2016 recruits have also signed such agreements - which aren't binding like national letters of intent: quarterback Jack Allison, linebacker Shaquille Quarterman and linebacker Michael Pinckney. 

 

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Florida Gators release depth chart for season opener

Florida released its depth chart for Saturday's season opener against New Mexico State, but - spoiler alert - there's no news at quarterback.

Sophomore Treon Harris OR redshirt freshman Will Grier will start, but the Gators still aren't saying who will take the first snaps. Both will likely see playing time.

The starting offensive line: LT Mason Halter, LG Trip Thurman, C Cam Dillard, RG Antonio Riles and RT David Sharpe.

Antonio Morrison is listed as the starting middle linebacker, despite the serious knee injury he sustained during the Birmingham Bowl. Pasco High alum Joey Ivie is listed as a starting defensive lineman, along with end Jon Bullard, tackle Caleb Brantley and rush Bryan Cox Jr.

Keanu Neal, who has been sidelined with a leg injury, is listed as a starter at safety.

 

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Miami Hurricanes' Gus Edwards out for the year

Miami junior running back Gus Edwards is out for the season with a left foot injury, the Hurricanes announced late Sunday evening.

"Gus worked extremely hard for the last nine month to prepare for this moment," UM coach Al Golden said in a statement. "He set a high standard and did a great job leading and being unselfish. We are tremendously disappointed for him, but we will be there with him on the road to recovery and anxiously await his return."

The 6-foot-2, 241-pound Edwards averaged 5.7 yards per carry as a sophomore, rushing for 349 yards. He scored 11 touchdowns in his first two seasons with the Hurricanes.

With Edwards out, Joe Yearby and Mark Walton are listed as the top two backs on UM's depth chart.

 

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Report: Florida Gators to host Colorado State in 2018

Florida will host Colorado State on Sept. 15, 2018, according to a report from the Coloradoan newspaper.

A reporter from USA Today dubbed it the Jim McElwain Buyout Game, because it was part of the agreement when McElwain and the Gators bought out his contract as Colorado State's coach.

UF will pay the Rams $2 million for the game. 

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Introducing the new Sunshine State Report blog

You can probably tell from the new name and logo, but we're making a few changes around here. So let me welcome you to the Sunshine State Report, our new college sports blog.

The Sunshine State Report takes the place of our Gators blog. That doesn't mean we're abandoning our coverage of Florida (the university); it means we're revamping our coverage of Florida (the state).

We will still cover UF and the first season of new coach Jim McElwain. But we're going to cast our net wider, with more Florida State information, as well as Miami, UCF and anything else that pops up. The content and colleges will vary, based on the season, the week and the day's big stories, but this will be a landing spot for news, information, analysis and links.

Like anything new, this won't be perfect. We'll tweak the blog and our overall approach as necessary, so your feedback is welcome and encouraged. Hit me up on Twitter (@MBakerTBTimes) or via email (mbaker@tampabay.com). 

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Gators' Keanu Neal remains sidelined, status 'to be determined'

Florida safety Keanu Neal remains sidelined with a leg injury he sustained during Friday's scrimmage.

"To be determined," coach Jim McElwain said Tuesday night.

Neal, who started eight games last year, didn't practice Tuesday. Receivers Raphael Andrades and Valdez Showers were also held out, McElwain said, while offensive linemen Travaris Dorsey returned to practice.

A few other observations from Tuesday's practice:

* Treon Harris and Will Grier continue to split first-team reps at quarterback as they battle for the starting spot. It doesn't sound as if the Gators are any closer to making a decision; McElwain said last week that both could play in the Sept. 5 season opener against New Mexico State.

McElwain said the offensive line is starting to come together as it replaces four starters. Mason Halter will be able to play many spots in the rotation, McElwain said, and true freshman Martez Ivey continues to looks at left tackle. "You don't think of him really as a freshman right now, just with the way he's playing," McElwain said. "That's great to see. We kind of thought that when we recruited him. sure enough, that's kind of how it's been." …

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Tampa native Michael Frazier officially joins Lakers

Former Florida and Plant High guard Michael Frazier officially signed with the Lakers on Tuesday. The sides agreed to terms last week on a two-year deal worth $1.4 million, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Frazier, a 6-foot-4 guard, left UF after his junior season and went undrafted. He averaged 9.9 points and 3.5 rebounds over this three years with the Gators.

He spent the NBA's summer league with the Warriors, averaging 4.5 points and 2.7 rebounds in six games.

Here's our profile of Frazier leading up to the NBA draft. 

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Vernon Hargreaves III among five Florida Gators honored by SEC football coaches

Florida defensive back and former Wharton High standout Vernon Hargreaves III was named by the SEC's coaches as a first-team all-conference selection, the Gators announced Tuesday.

Hargreaves, a junior, led the SEC with 13 pass breakups last season and enters the season as one of the country's top defensive players and a potential top-five NFL draft pick.

Senior defensive lineman Jonathan Bullard and senior linebacker Antonio Morrison were both second-team honorees. Morrison continues to recover from a knee injury he sustained in the Birmingham Bowl but recorded a team-high 101 tackles last season. Bullard totaled 52 tackles last fall as a junior.

Receiver Demarcus Robinson and running back Kelvin Taylor were both named to the coaches' third team as juniors. Robinson led the Gators in catches (53), yards (810) and receiving touchdowns (seven), while Taylor is poised for a breakout season after rushing for 565 yards last season.

 

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Florida Gators to host basketball tip-off event on Oct. 2

Florida will host its Gators Madness basketball tip-off event at 9 p.m. on Friday Oct. 2 at the O'Connell Center, the school announced Tuesday afternoon. 

The event is free and will give fans a chance to hear from new men's basketball coach Mike White, in addition to the rest of the men's and women's teams.

The event is also the night before UF hosts Ole Miss in football at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. 

 

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Alvin Bailey giddy after former teammate Matt Jones' first NFL touchdown

Washington Redskins running back Matt Jones dives past Detroit Lions defensive tackle Jermelle Cudjo (63) to score a touchdown during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Thursday in Landover, Md.

AP photo

Washington Redskins running back Matt Jones dives past Detroit Lions defensive tackle Jermelle Cudjo (63) to score a touchdown during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Thursday in Landover, Md.

When former Armwood High and Florida running back Matt Jones scored the first touchdown of his NFL career Thursday night for Washington, one of his former teammates was ecstatic.

"I couldn't hold it in," said Alvin Bailey, who played with Jones in high school and with the Gators. "I just jumped up, screaming."

Bailey said he and Jones are practically brothers, ever since they grew up near each other in east Tampa. They both wanted to go to the NFL, and they have tried to keep each other on the path to get there. Bailey, a redshirt sophomore, said his plan is to follow Jones to the league. Seeing Jones, a third-round pick, score Thursday night "made it really real," Bailey said.

"It was just crazy," Bailey said. "Everybody was calling. Then he got out of the game, he called me. It was just crazy." 

 

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