Saturday, July 21, 2018
Sports

NFL draft: Browns take UF's Caleb Brantley, with no appetite for error

TAMPA — Tentatively, Caleb Brantley is a Brown.

The former Gators defensive lineman, facing a criminal investigation into a complaint that he punched a woman and knocked her unconscious this month, was drafted Saturday by Cleveland with the first pick of the sixth round.

But Sashi Brown, the club's executive vice president of football operations, offered a disclaimer of sorts shortly afterward.

"This may be something we don't get comfortable with," Brown said. "We will continue to investigate on our end, and provided we can get comfortable, we'll keep him on the roster. If we can't, we'll move on."

Brantley was regarded as an early round pick after earning second-team all-SEC honors as a redshirt junior. He had 31 tackles (9½ for a loss) and was the most disruptive player on UF's line.

But his draft stock took a twist when he was involved in an early morning fight near a Gainesville bar on April 13. The facts remain in dispute and are the subject of an investigation by the State Attorney's Office.

IVIE'S BITTERSWEET DAY: Former Gators and Pasco High defensive tackle Joey Ivie capped a bustling weekend for local draft prospects when the Cowboys picked him in the seventh round with the 228th overall pick.

The oldest of five siblings, Ivie's selection came almost two years to the day after losing his sister. Jordan Ivie died April 26, 2015, from injuries sustained in a car accident on Dade City's rural outskirts.

"Oh man, if only she was here," Ivie said Saturday. "But I know she's looking down and I know she's happy and smiling. I know she's a Cowboy up in heaven."

Ivie had his best college season last fall, registering 26 tackles and 21/2 sacks despite missing two games with a broken thumb. He followed that with a strong week of practice before the East-West Shrine Game and an impressive pro day in Gainesville.

His selection continued one of the most bizarre — and obscure— streaks in draft history. According to Pasco coach Tom McHugh, every Pirate who ever has played in the NFL — including siblings Darren and Troy Hambrick — has played for Dallas.

BULLS IN TRIPLICATE: USF's most prosperous draft day in four years ended with three players — tailback Marlon Mack, slot receiver Rodney Adams and offensive lineman Kofi Amichia — getting selected.

Mack, the Bulls' career rushing leader projected by some to be drafted in the first three rounds, had an agonizing wait end Saturday when the Colts drafted him in the fourth round with the 143rd overall pick.

The 15th running back drafted, Mack became the first USF player taken before the fifth round since Kayvon Webster in 2013. Twenty-seven picks later, Adams, whose 67 catches in 2016 were a Bulls season record, was drafted by the Vikings in the fifth round.

"I just started crying," Adams told the Vikings' website. "I knew what the phone call was about."

Amichia, who didn't miss a start despite dislocating his right kneecap at Temple in mid October, capped things when the Packers drafted him in the sixth round with the 212th overall pick. Amichia's next position coach at Green Bay will be his sixth in as many seasons.

Former Bulls outside linebacker Nigel Harris, a Hillsborough High alumnus, signed a free agent deal with the Chargers shortly after the draft, according to his father.

BUMPER CROP FOR THE BAY: Admiral Farragut alumnus Rayshawn Jenkins started what evolved into a memorable day for local draft prospects. A fifth-year Miami safety, Jenkins was drafted by the Chargers early in the fourth round, 102 picks before 'Canes career passing yardage leader Brad Kaaya (Lions, sixth round). … Another safety, former USC and Armwood star Leon McQuay III, was taken by the Chiefs in the sixth round, becoming the third Hawks alumnus drafted. … Adams was the second Lakewood alumnus drafted this weekend, joining UCF defensive back Shaquill Griffin (Seahawks, third round). … Nature Coast alumnus Matt Breida, who ran for more than 3,700 yards at Georgia Southern, went to the 49ers as an undrafted free agent. UCF defensive back T.J. Mutcherson, a Freedom High alumnus, signed a free agent deal with the Texans. … Samford receiver Karel Hamilton, from Strawberry Crest, signed a free agent deal with the Bengals.

NOT SO BUMPER: FSU, which didn't have a first-round pick for the first time in five years, had only four players drafted. The Seminoles, who had 29 total players drafted (six first-rounders) from 2013-15, have had six in the past two years.

PINELLAS WEST: The Chargers' selection of Jenkins began a surreal run by the West Coast franchise on Pinellas County alumni.

Shortly after the draft's conclusion, two former East Lake stars — receiver Artavis Scott (Clemson) and offensive lineman Dillon DeBoer (FAU) — signed free agent deals with the Chargers. So did former Indian Rocks Christian standout Sean Culkin (Missouri). Toss in USF's Harris, and that's five bay area products headed to Los Angeles.

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