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Two Florida players cleared in Miami booster case

Florida said the NCAA okayed defensive lineman Matt Patchan, a former standout at Armwood, to play this season. His name had come up in reports about a former UM booster. (2008)

Florida said the NCAA okayed defensive lineman Matt Patchan, a former standout at Armwood, to play this season. His name had come up in reports about a former UM booster.

GAINESVILLE — Florida OL Matt Patchan and WR Andre Debose are eligible to play for the Gators this season despite allegations by a former Miami booster who says he had improper contact with the two during recruiting visits to UM.

Florida athletic officials released a statement Thursday saying there are no eligibility issues with either player.

"We have been in communication with the NCAA, and there are no eligibility issues with Andre Debose and Matt Patchan as it relates to recent reports," the statement said. "Andre, Matt nor the University of Florida will have any additional comments regarding this matter."

Former Miami booster Nevin Shapiro, serving prison time for a $930 million Ponzi scheme, told Yahoo Sports he participated in rampant NCAA violations at Miami from 2002-10. Shapiro says Patchan, a former Armwood player, and Debose were among dozens of players brought to him while they were in high school so he could recruit them to Miami.

OPPORTUNITY ARISES: With the loss of freshman TE A.C. Leonard to a meniscus injury, converted TE Gerald Christian is making the most of the opportunity. Christian played tight end last season, moved to linebacker in the spring and has switched back.

"You don't want to wish injuries upon people, but since there have been injuries, I've had to take a bigger role and take more snaps in practice and show what I can do," Christian said. "It gave me more opportunities."

FSU: Third CB happy

TALLAHASSEE — Officially, only two starting cornerback positions are on Florida State's roster. But try telling that to former South Miami standout Mike Harris.

"Even though I'm coming in as a backup, I also view myself as a starter," Harris said.

Last season, the junior college transfer tied fellow CB Xavier Rhodes for the team lead with four interceptions. But with Rhodes and Greg Reid covering the sides, he has been playing third fiddle.

But he combines with Reid and Rhodes to give the Seminoles a formidable three-man, nickel package.

"We just have a great combination with all of us," Harris said.

Coley Harvey, Orlando Sentinel

USF: Landi role grows

TAMPA — Junior Evan Landi, the Bulls' top returning receiver in yards and catches, is getting work as an "inside receiver", a hybrid WR/TE role that makes good use of his 6-foot-3, 221-pound frame.

"He can play anywhere, he's so smart, but we're trying to make him a multifaceted guy," offensive coordinator Todd Fitch said Thursday.

Landi is USF's tallest and biggest receiver, and the move takes advantage of the Bulls' newfound depth at receiver, as well as an overall shortage at tight end. USF has junior Andreas Shields and sophomore Isaac Virgin returning at the hybrid position, but the two combined for just seven catches for 109 yards last season.

"We're trying to do what's best for us as an offense, but also what's best for a young man," Fitch said. "(Landi's) skill set, his body type … you get him matched up with those linebackers and he's what you call a mismatch."

FRESHMAN HAS SURGERY: C.J. Garye, a safety, had minor arthroscopic knee surgery. He is expected to miss three weeks and likely will redshirt.

Greg Auman, Times Staff Writer

UCF: TE is versatile

ORLANDO — Senior TE Adam Nissley, the strongest player on UCF's team, has always had blocking skills. But now the Knights need Nissley to play a bigger role in the passing attack, and he is. "Adam Nissley is doing a great, much improved job in the passing game," offensive coordinator Charlie Taaffe said. "He's catching the ball, so that and the backs involved in the passing game takes some of the pressure off at receiver, where we don't have a lot of depth right now."

Iliana Limon, Orlando Sentinel

Two Florida players cleared in Miami booster case 08/18/11 [Last modified: Thursday, August 18, 2011 10:48pm]
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