Thursday, June 21, 2018
Colleges

Florida Gators recruit football heavily in Tampa Bay area

GAINESVILLE — Florida's 2013-14 football roster is a solid reflection of the Gators' commitment to recruiting in the Tampa Bay area.

At least 19 players from Hillsborough and Pinellas counties and the surrounding areas, including Pasco, will be a part of the upcoming season's team.

Led by the area's most prominent player — Wharton's Vernon Hargreaves III — the Gators signed six players from the area among their 2013 class last week. It is the third consecutive year under coach Will Muschamp that the area has been a key part of Florida's recruiting efforts, and Muschamp said that's by design.

"We have three coaches that recruit in that area, Derek Lewis, Brian White and D.J. Durkin," Muschamp said. "They have all done an outstanding job of mining that area and finding the best fit for the University of Florida."

STILL TOP 10: Florida's loss at unranked Arkansas this past week led to a five-spot drop to No. 7 in this week's Associated Press men's basketball poll (No. 6 in the coaches poll). It was a rough week for Top 10 teams: No. 1 Indiana, No. 2 Florida, No. 3 Michigan, No. 5 Kansas and No. 7 Arizona all lost. But Florida's fall makes it clear that the SEC's struggles will hinder the Gators' strength of schedule, and they will have to continue to win to earn a favorable seed in the NCAA Tournament. The SEC's current RPI is No. 8.

BOUNCING BACK: Billy Donovan removed Scottie Wilbekin from Saturday's starting lineup against Mississippi State because he didn't like the way the junior guard responded after he challenged him following his disappointing performance at Arkansas (5-of-15, four assists, three turnovers). But Donovan said he liked the way Wilbekin has bounced back since.

"My biggest thing with Scottie is I have such a high opinion and a high regard for him as a player and how he can impact and affect our team, that as a coach I think it is my responsibility to hold him to that standard," Donovan said. "And I think Scottie is a guy that is very, very tough on himself. He's very demanding on himself. And I think he has an expectation of himself, how he needs to play and what he needs to do.

"When you get into a situation where you're not living up to an individual standard or playing at the level you need to play at, that happens all the time with every single player. How you respond to it, to me, is much more important. … It wasn't a bad attitude. It wasn't him being disrespectful. He wasn't late. It wasn't a disciplinary action. It was just more of his lack of being who he is."

Wilbekin said he got Donovan's message.

"It was just a wakeup call for him to let me know how I needed to play, and how hard I need to play every day just to be when I'm at my best," he said.

RECORD: Sophomore high jumper Taylor Burke broke the school record in the women's high jump at the Virginia Tech Elite Meet with her personal best of 1.86m/6-1.25. She broke Maria Galloni's record set at the 1992 SEC Championships, the same year the Gators won the NCAA Indoor Championship.

Antonya English can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @TBTimes_Gators.

Comments
Florida State will host Florida Gators to open this basketball season

Florida State will host Florida Gators to open this basketball season

For the first time in almost two decades, Florida and Florida State will open the men's basketball season against each other.The Seminoles will host UF on Nov. 6, both programs announced Wednesday morning. FSU has won four in a row in the series."Any...
Published: 06/20/18
With starting QB Josh Jackson’s status resolved, FSU will open against full-strength Hokies

With starting QB Josh Jackson’s status resolved, FSU will open against full-strength Hokies

Florida State's primetime opener against Virginia Tech looks a little tougher now than it did a few days ago.Hokies starting quarterback Josh Jackson has had his academic eligibility resolved and remains on the team, the Roanoke Times reported Tuesda...
Published: 06/19/18
As USF-Yuengling bond grows, is SEC’s alcohol stance slowly shifting?

As USF-Yuengling bond grows, is SEC’s alcohol stance slowly shifting?

USF's expanded partnership with Yuengling — including naming rights to the Sun Dome — is only the latest part in an evolving relationship between college sports and alcohol, as my colleague, Joey Knight, wrote on the front page ...
Published: 06/18/18
Florida’s Brady Singer voted top college baseball player of year

Florida’s Brady Singer voted top college baseball player of year

OMAHA, Neb. — Florida pitcher Brady Singer has won the Dick Howser Trophy as college baseball's player of the year.Singer, who received the award Friday, carries a 12-1 record and 2.30 ERA into the College World Series, which begins Saturday. T...
Published: 06/15/18
Former Plant QB Rex Culpepper cancer-free; ready to return to Syracuse lineup

Former Plant QB Rex Culpepper cancer-free; ready to return to Syracuse lineup

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Rex Culpepper is back. The smile on his face said it all. The redshirt sophomore quarterback had his first full workout with Syracuse on Friday after overcoming testicular cancer. He said he broke down and cried when he was told he w...
Published: 06/15/18
Willie Taggart comes clean on the origin of ‘Do Something’

Willie Taggart comes clean on the origin of ‘Do Something’

During his question-and-answer session with more than 500 Manatee-Sarasota boosters Monday evening, FSU's Willie Taggart was peppered with the normal inquiries about recruiting, offensive scheme and the Seminoles' quarterback derby.All well and good....
Published: 06/12/18
When Willie Taggart filled in for Tommie Frazier at Manatee High

When Willie Taggart filled in for Tommie Frazier at Manatee High

It would have been easy — expected, even — for Willie Taggart to be nervous when he started in place of the injured Tommie Frazier as Manatee High's starting quarterback in 1991.Nope. Taggart wasn't, even though he was the first...
Published: 06/12/18
FSU football coach Willie Taggart gets local hero’s welcome

FSU football coach Willie Taggart gets local hero’s welcome

SARASOTA — He slithered and scrambled his way into the local consciousness in the fall of 1991.Manatee High's Willie Taggart, 145 pounds in a sopping jersey, suddenly found himself with the keys to the Hurricanes' ruthlessly efficient opti...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/12/18
Florida Gators add West Virginia grad transfer Adam Shuler

Florida Gators add West Virginia grad transfer Adam Shuler

Former West Virginia defensive lineman Adam Shuler announced Monday that he plans to join the Gators as a graduate transfer.Shuler, a 6-foot-4, 268-pound Longwood native, started 10 games for the Mountaineers last season. As a redshirt sophomore, he ...
Published: 06/11/18
Florida State’s Jessica Warren lives ‘every senior’s dream’ with Women’s College World Series title

Florida State’s Jessica Warren lives ‘every senior’s dream’ with Women’s College World Series title

OKLAHOMA CITY — Jessie Warren’s career finished just the way she envisioned it. On Monday night, Florida State’s star third baseman made perhaps the play of her career, a diving catch and throw for a double play that helped preserve a 1-0 win over Wa...
Published: 06/06/18