This story first appeared in Chomp, our Gators Football newsletter. Subscribe here.
Hey there, Gator fans! I hope you don’t mind this edition of Chomp coming out a little earlier this week, but, once again, there’s a lot going on in Gator Nation.
Gators Breakdown host David Waters takes a look at the second spring scrimmage and how the Florida defense is trending up going into the final week of spring camp. And good news: We got two more commits!
Plus, March Madness begins this week.
🌟 Defense shines again in 2nd spring scrimmage
For the second scrimmage in a row, Florida’s defense came away as the most impressive side of the ball. With Ventrell Miller out this spring, young linebackers Derek Wingo and Ty’Ron Hopper are taking advantage. The pair just might have been the best players on the field in the first two scrimmages.
Another scrimmage and still word is coming out that the Gators quarterbacks are struggling. It’s still too early for panic mode right now, though. I think it is worth bringing up again that we don’t know the exact situations.
Dan Mullen mentioned this week that they are still in the evaluation stage right now. They’re working and installing the offense to see what they do well and will adjust from there. Mullen said they don’t really know the strengths yet because they’re still evaluating and figuring that out and how they’ll put it together within the package. There are lots of things he likes, but they’re still evaluating.
Nick de la Torre with Gators Territory joined the latest episode of Gators Breakdown to take a look at the defense’s new attitude, the offensive struggles and the recent surge in recruiting.
🙌 Gators add 2 recruits to 2022 class
Offensive tackle Tony Livingston from Tampa Carrollwood Day committed to Florida. An interesting angle here: He has played tight end so far in high school and is rated a four-star prospect for that position, but he’s projected to be an offensive tackle in college. At 6-foot-6 and 285 pounds, he also plans to play basketball as a preferred walk-on for Florida and he has offers from Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia, LSU, Notre Dame, Oregon, Miami, Florida State, Michigan and more.
Florida also received a commitment from tight end CJ Hawkins. The 6-foot-7, 220-pound three-star recruit is also from the Tampa area (Berkeley Prep). His size is just something you can’t teach, and Hawkins is a matchup nightmare just waiting to happen. There is a lot of work here as Hawkins has only played a year of football. The tight end is a fast-rising prospect and was just recently offered by Florida, and he didn’t wait long to become the Gators’ fifth commit of the 2022 class. Hawkins also drew offers from the likes of Alabama, Georgia, Miami, Florida State and Texas, just to name a few.
📝 Notes from media availability
There was also media availability with linebacker Amari Burney and running backs Malik Davis and Nay’Quan Wright this week.
Burney said he is working on getting downhill faster. “Sometimes I can see the plays, but I’ve got to get into position to make the plays,” he said.
Burney was also asked one word to describe Florida’s 2021 defense. He said: “Exciting.”
Davis also had praise for the Florida defense. “The linebackers are making it a lot harder to run the ball this spring,” he said.
As for their roles this season, both Davis and Wright will help where needed.
“I’m willing to do whatever the team needs for us to win,” Davis said. “If that requires me going out, flex out, then so be it.”
“I’ve been playing running back my whole life, so I feel comfortable playing running back,” Wright said. “But if my role is to go to the slot or whatever, that’s where I’m gonna go.”
📺 Coming to a TV near you
Florida announced Wednesday that there will be a two-hour spring access show featuring content from camp. It will air on SEC Network, but the date was not immediately announced. Since Florida won’t be holding a spring game for the second year in a row, this will provide fans a glimpse of the team.
There will also coverage of Pro Day, which is set for March 31, on SEC Network.
🏀 Gators earn No. 7 seed in NCAA Tournament
The Gators are going dancing.
After Florida dropped its SEC tournament quarterfinal to Tennessee, the Gators (14-9) earned the No. 7 seed in the South Region in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament and will face 10th-seeded Virginia Tech (15-6) at 12:15 p.m. Friday.
The Gators are in a packed South Region with No. 1 Baylor (22-2), No. 3 Arkansas (22-6) and No. 8 North Carolina (18-10).