Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Gators' Hargreaves a Thorpe semifinalist

Former Wharton standout Vernon Hargreaves trips up LSU’s Jeremy Hill. The freshman has 19 tackles and a Gators-best three interceptions.

Getty Images

Former Wharton standout Vernon Hargreaves trips up LSU’s Jeremy Hill. The freshman has 19 tackles and a Gators-best three interceptions.

GAINESVILLE — For weeks Florida coaches and players have been praising the work ethic and game performance of Vernon Hargreaves. Now the freshman CB is starting to garner national attention.

Hargreaves, a Wharton alum, on Monday was named one of 15 semifinalists for the Jim Thorpe Award, presented to the nation's top defensive back. Hargreaves is the only freshman among the semifinalists.

He has played in all seven games, with five starts. He leads Florida and is tied for second in the SEC with three interceptions, including a touchdown-saving grab against Kentucky. Hargreaves leads the SEC in passes defended (10) and has 19 tackles.

"He works extremely hard," coach Will Muschamp said. "He's extremely bright. … A really talented player who's having a really good year."

FSU's Lamarcus Joyner is also a Thorpe semifinalist.

TAYLOR TO START: After weeks of talk on Twitter and message boards about wanting to see more of freshman RB Kelvin Taylor, Gators fans will get their wish. Muschamp said Taylor will probably start Saturday against Georgia, and several players said Monday that Taylor has been getting the bulk of practice reps.

In five games, Taylor has 172 rushing yards.

"He's continued to improve throughout the season, week to week," Muschamp said. "He's always been a very instinctive, natural runner. It's very obvious. Again, with assignments and different things, I think he's done a nice job and deserves the opportunity."

Junior FB Hunter Joyer said you can sense a difference in Taylor now that he realizes his role is changing.

"He looks a little more focused than he did early in the year," Joyer said. "He understands that we're kind of relying on him now and he has to grow up and produce for us."

Georgia coach Mark Richt is a big fan of Taylor and his dad, former Gator and NFL RB Fred Taylor.

"Fred Taylor's boy is a special player," Richt said. "I recruited Fred when I was at Florida State, and I thought I had him and Reidel Anthony. And at the very end, they took one last visit, just for fun. And sure enough they visited Florida and that was it, they were going there. Fred was a great player and his son is outstanding."

INJURY UPDATES: Senior LB Ronald Powell's sprained ankle continues to be an issue, and Muschamp said as of Monday he's questionable for Saturday. LB Darrin Kitchens (shoulder) is doubtful along with TE Colin Thompson (foot). QB Tyler Murphy did not throw during any practice of the bye week but is expected to be full speed today.

"I'm pretty healthy, other than the shoulder," said Murphy, who hasn't thrown since the Oct. 19 Missouri game. "It's been fatigued a little but other than that it's fine."

NO CHANGES: The bye week gave the Gators an opportunity to work on a multitude of problems, but don't expect massive changes — especially on defense.

"No changes," sophomore DL Dante Fowler said. "I feel like it's not going to be no changes at all. We're still the same team, we've just got to bounce back. I feel like our defense is still a great defense. Once you lose a game or two you kind of lose your confidence. And all we've got to do is just get our swagger back. I feel like once we get our swagger back, and get our confidence back up, we're going to be back to how we were at the beginning of the season."

DID YOU KNOW: For the first time since 2010, Florida and Georgia are both unranked for their game.

Gators' Hargreaves a Thorpe semifinalist 10/28/13 [Last modified: Monday, October 28, 2013 9:42pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays journal: Blake Snell looking to continue turnaround

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Blake Snell the Rays are seeing now is the one they envisioned heading into spring training when the left-hander was supposed to be one of the bright spots in the rotation.

    CUBS UP QUICKLY: Rays starter Chris Archer awaits a new ball after Kyle Schwarber homers in the second inning.
  2. Rays video tribute to ex-manager Joe Maddon upon return with Cubs


    Here is the Rays video tribute to former manager Joe Maddon, who returned to the Trop for the first time on Tuesday with his Cubs team:

  3. After Irma disruption, Miami eager to face Toledo


    LAKE BUENA VISTA — Like thousands of other evacuees, Miami defensive coordinator Manny Diaz headed north to escape Hurricane Irma with his family, two suitcases and the anxiety of not knowing what would happen to everything he left behind.

    Miami coach Mark Richt watches during a victory over B-CU in the Sept. 2 opener. The Hurricanes haven’t played since.
  4. Joe Maddon on being back at Trop, Cash, a new stadium


    More to come later, but a couple of quick early highlights from former Rays manager Joe Maddon's return to the Trop with the Cubs:

    Joe Maddon, right, speaks with Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey before Tuesday's game at Tropicana Field.
  5. Former Lightning forward Brian Boyle diagnosed with cancer, expects to keep playing

    Lightning Strikes

    New Jersey Devils forward Brian Boyle has been diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia, a type of bone-marrow cancer that the team's doctor said can largely be treated with medication.

    Brian Boyle has been diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia, a type of bone-marrow cancer that the team's doctor says can be treated with medication, the Devils announced Tuesday. [AP photo]