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Florida Gators hire Summers as offensive line coach

FRESHMAN HONOR: Gators cornerback and Wharton High product Vernon Hargreaves (1) is named to a national all-freshman team.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

FRESHMAN HONOR: Gators cornerback and Wharton High product Vernon Hargreaves (1) is named to a national all-freshman team.

GAINESVILLE

Florida's search for a new offensive line coach has ended.

The Gators have hired veteran coach Mike Summers to replace Tim Davis, who was fired in December. Summers was the run-game coordinator and O-line coach at Southern Cal this past season, and the hiring reunites him with former colleague Joker Phillips, the Gators' wide receivers coach.

A 34-year coaching veteran, Summers has 15 years' experience as an offensive coordinator and has coached at both the collegiate and NFL level (Atlanta Falcons). From 2010-12, he was the run-game coordinator and offensive line coach at Kentucky under then-head coach Phillips. His SEC experience also includes one season at Arkansas as the assistant head coach and offensive line coach.

"I'm honored to be joining Coach (Will) Muschamp and his staff," Summers said. "Having been in the SEC, I have always held the Florida program in high regard, and I'm looking forward to getting right to work."

The hiring means Muschamp has filled all the vacant positions on his staff, including offensive coordinator.

"He has a diverse background and has experience in the NFL," Muschamp said of Summers. "He will be a great addition to our staff."

POWELL BIDS FAREWELL: Florida LB Ronald Powell will not return for his senior season, opting to leave early for the NFL draft. During his Gator career, Powell suffered two ACL injuries. He missed the entire 2012 season due to one of those injuries but played in 11 games with eight starts in 2013. He led the team with four sacks and was second on the team with seven tackles for loss. In his career, Powell totaled 84 tackles with 19 tackles for loss and 11 sacks.

He said the decision to forgo his senior season was not easy.

"I never thought it would be this hard to make this decision; most people think it's easy — go for the money," Powell said. "It's hard to leave my brothers behind, but we've shared so much more than our time on the field. We've lived our lives together, and we are truly a family. … I wouldn't trade anything I've experienced because they have all helped me grow."

Powell is the third underclassman to declare for the 2014 draft, joining DBs Loucheiz Purifoy and Marcus Roberson.

Powell and Muschamp talked extensively before Powell made his decision, and Muschamp said he wished Powell the best.

HARGREAVES ALL-AMERICAN: Florida CB Vernon Hargreaves was named to the Football Writers Association of America Freshman All-America team. Hargreaves, a Wharton High alumnus, was on a team selected by a 10-person panel of nationally prominent writers. Both true freshmen (21 players) and redshirt freshmen (seven players) were eligible.

BONDS' BIG WEEK: Senior G Jaterra Bonds was named SEC player of the week on Monday. She averaged 20.5 points and four rebounds in two wins last week, including 23 points in Sunday's upset victory at No. 6 Kentucky.

WALKER IN, BUT OUT: Freshman F Chris Walker is enrolled and began attending classes on Monday, but he is still not eligible to play, coach Billy Donovan said.

"Based on our admissions and what they looked at with his transcript and the work he's done in August, September, October, November academically, he made himself a qualifier," Donovan said. "But in order for him to be eligible to play, the NCAA has to clear him all the way through on those things. I feel pretty good about his academic things."

Antonya English can be reached at english@tampabay.com.

Florida Gators hire Summers as offensive line coach 01/06/14 [Last modified: Monday, January 6, 2014 9:57pm]
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