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QB Weatherford back with Gators

Roughly four months after transferring to Tampa Catholic, junior quarterback Stevie Weatherford has re-enrolled at Land O'Lakes and participated in the Gators' spring practice Tuesday afternoon.

Gators athletic director Chuck Moehle confirmed that Weatherford had been cleared to practice with Land O'Lakes this spring. The third Weatherford sibling to play quarterback for the Gators, Stevie led the team on its jog to the practice field Tuesday.

"We're delighted to have Stevie back because he's a wonderful kid, he's a Land O'Laker and he's where he belongs," said veteran LOL defensive coordinator Al Claggett, who is helping run spring drills as the administration searches for a coach.

Tampa Catholic coach Bob Henriquez said Weatherford had missed both spring practice sessions, and had not been at school. Claggett said he didn't learn Weatherford had re-enrolled until Tuesday morning.

"I got a message (Monday) from his mother saying she wanted to talk to me and apologized for not handling it better," Henriquez said. "It's probably done. It's a private family situation they're going through. I think they're trying to sort it out.

"It's been a very strange situation from the beginning. All I can do is wish the best for the young man."

Weatherford transferred to Tampa Catholic in January, which marked the start of a series of blows to the Gators football program. Second-string quarterback Tanner Stocker transferred to Wharton.

Longtime coach John Benedetto soon learned his teaching contract would not be renewed for a 39th year, and was informed he could reapply for the coaching position. He declined and left Land O'Lakes four wins shy of 200 for his career.

Moehle said a search for Benedetto's replacement is ongoing. The school has received 50 applicants from an advertisement posted on the FHSAA Web site. The school also will post an ad locally.

As a sophomore, Weatherford threw for 1,254 yards, 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions before breaking his collarbone in a Nov. 7 win against Ridgewood, which ended his season last year.

QB Weatherford back with Gators 05/05/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 5, 2009 11:22pm]
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