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Florida CB Hargreaves piles up superlatives

Florida cornerback and former Wharton High star Vernon Hargreaves returns an interception Sept. 7 against Miami.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Florida cornerback and former Wharton High star Vernon Hargreaves returns an interception Sept. 7 against Miami.

GAINESVILLE — Every week this season, Florida players have had to search for new ways to describe how impressive freshman CB Vernon Hargreaves has been.

Four games in, Hargreaves is making a name for himself in the SEC.

Monday he was named the league's freshman of the week for his performance in Saturday's 24-7 win over Kentucky.

Hargreaves, a Wharton alum, intercepted a pass by Maxwell Smith in the end zone in the third quarter, negating a potential touchdown.

It was his third interception in four games, the most by an SEC freshman and the third-most nationally among freshmen.

He also leads the Gators in interceptions, playing in a manner that has veteran teammates in awe.

"Extremely impressed," senior CB Jaylen Watkins said. "That was a play on the ball that I haven't seen in a while. He leaped up. He has great ball skills. We saw that all through camp and he's performing the way he performed in camp in the games."

Carter to play: Transfer Eli Carter , a basketball guard, was granted a waiver by the NCAA that will let him play this season. Carter transferred from Rutgers amid the fallout from the scandal that led to the firing of coach Mike Rice. Had the NCAA not granted Carter's waiver request, he would have sat out this season per transfer rules. Carter averaged 14.3 points in two seasons at Rutgers. He had 94 career 3-pointers and started 46 of 56 games. He adds depth to a UF backcourt hit hard by graduation and the indefinite suspension of senior guard Scottie Wilbekin.

Rare occurrence: Night games at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium have been rare of late. When the Gators host Arkansas at 7 Saturday, it will be the first night game at the Swamp since Florida State in 2011. Florida players are excited about the opportunity.

"It means a lot, especially because it's my last year," Watkins said. "Last year we didn't get a game at night in the Swamp. I'm happy I'm able to get one in my final year."

Easley done at uf: Senior DT Dominique Easley decided to move on to the NFL after this season, coach Will Muschamp said. Easley tore an ACL last Tuesday in practice and is out for the season. He will not seek a medical redshirt.

"He's a guy that's had two ACLs," Muschamp said. "I think that's the best move for him right now."

Muschamp said he doesn't believe a severe injury will negatively affect Easley's NFL prospects. Several analysts had him pegged as a first-round pick before the injury.

"He'll have plenty of interest," Muschamp said. "He'll be a productive guy on the next level. He's a really good football player. He's extremely intelligent. He gets the game. His tape speaks for itself and how he plays the game and approaches the game. He'll be fine. There will be a lot of organizations that want him in their organization."

Injury update: RB Valdez Showers (knee) is expected to return to practice this week and could play Saturday. DT Leon Orr (shoulder) played fewer than 20 snaps Saturday, but is expected to play this week and CB Marcus Roberson (knee) will also return.

LSU kickoff set: The Oct. 12 game at LSU will kick off at 3:30 p.m. The game will be televised on CBS (Ch. 10 locally).

Antonya English can be reached at english@tampabay.com. Follow her on Twitter @TBTimes_Gators.

Florida CB Hargreaves piles up superlatives 09/30/13 [Last modified: Monday, September 30, 2013 7:13pm]
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