This story first appeared in Chomp, our Gators football newsletter. Subscribe here.
Hey, Gators fans!
The NFL draft is exactly one week away, and I know I’m excited to see how many Gators are picked in the first round. We expect there will be at least one with tight end Kyle Pitts considered a lock to be a top-10 pick.
This past weekend, I had FOMO watching all the spring games going on around the country while Florida opted not to hold one for the second year in a row. But we just learned we’ll finally get a look at the Gators’ spring practice.
📺 Florida spring football show debuts next week
FloridaGators.com announced Thursday that the Florida Football Spring All-Access show will debut at 9 p.m. Monday on SEC Network.
The two-hour special will provide a behind-the-scenes look at spring practice and include interviews and facility tours.
🏟️ SEC spring games
Seven SEC teams had spring games this past Saturday, including the team that the Gators will face in their first conference matchup of 2021: Alabama. Quarterback Bryce Young showed why he’s regarded as the frontrunner to replace Mac Jones. Young, the highest-rated quarterback signee of the Nick Saban era, completed 25 of 44 passes for 333 yards and a touchdown in the A-Day spring game. He also lost a fumble that was recovered for a touchdown.
Meanwhile, there’s no quarterback controversy at Georgia. After only four starts with the Bulldogs last season, JT Daniels’ status as the starter is unquestioned. Daniels, who transferred from Southern California, passed for 324 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in the G-Day spring game. While Daniels is back, George Pickens likely will miss the season after suffering a knee injury in spring practice.
🐊 What will define Gators in 2021?
Neil Blackmon with Saturday Down South recently took a look at five things that will define the Gators on each side of the ball. Offensively, a lot will depend on QB Emory Jones. Defensively, one thing is the line should be improved.
In the latest episode of Gators Breakdown, Blackmon joins host David Waters and Will Miles with Read and Reaction to discuss what will define Florida in 2021. They dissect the versatility of Florida’s offense and how important the defensive line is to the rest of the defense.
🏈 Will we see Trask’s name called day one of the NFL draft?
After saying last week he’s “starting to think” quarterback Kyle Trask goes in the first round of the NFL Draft, Peter King may have another observation.
In his latest Football Morning in America column, King said: “Kyle Trask could go anywhere from the bottom of the first round to the fourth.”
👽 ‘Kyle Pitts is truly an alien’
The love for Pitts continues to grow just one week out of the NFL draft.
On the NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football,” Peter Schrager raved about the tight end: “Kyle Pitts is truly an alien. I’ve never heard a TE spoken about this way coming out of college. I don’t think this is some “next wave”, either. I think he’s one of one.”
In another video, the Gators Football Twitter account shared part of Pitt’s legacy at Florida.
🕹️ Senior Bowl director calls Toney’s playmaking potential special
Jim Nagy, Executive Director of the Senior Bowl, hyped-up wide receiver Kadarius Toney by sharing his “favorite slo-mo clip of 2021 draft cycle.”
Nagy also said he doesn’t see any way Toney makes it out of the first round of the NFL draft.
🎂 Happy (belated) birthday, HBC!
I know you all will join me in wishing Steve Spurrier a happy 76th birthday!
While the HBC’s birthday was Tuesday, how could we not recognize the Gators legend?
During his playing career at Florida, he won the Heisman Trophy. He returned as head coach in 1990 and went on to win six SEC championships (while he’ll say seven including 1990) and the Gators’ first national title.
🏀 Johnson awaits medical clearance, hopes to play
Florida forward Keyontae Johnson said he’s “patiently waiting” on medical clearance while planning to prepare for the upcoming season.
In a post on social media, Johnson, who collapsed on the court in December and spent 10 days hospitalized, also said he has decided not to enter the 2021 NBA draft.
“Thank you for the prayers and concern that you all have shown to me during these trying few months. It is extremely touching and very much appreciated to have the support of Gator Nation and the world standing by my side.
“I am progressing & steadily making progress daily in my health. I am patiently waiting on medical clearance. While speaking with my Family, Doctors, Coaches, and Athletic Trainer I’ve decided not to enter my name into the 2021 NBA Draft.
“I plan to keep working to prepare for the upcoming season. My story continues to be written & driven by God! Go Gators! All Love, Keyontae.”
🆚 Incoming Gators vs. outgoing
Chris Harry at FloridaGators.com details statistics the Gators basketball team is losing compared to the four transfers coming in. He explains the 2021-22 team “will be a proven and balanced bunch.”
🔴 Darris Nichols named head coach at Radford
Florida assistant coach Darris Nichols has been named head coach at Radford, the school announced Wednesday. Nichols, a native of Radford, Virginia, has been on the Florida coaching staff since 2015 when he came to Gainesville with head coach Mike White.
All three assistant coaches from White’s initial coaching staff at Florida have now ascended to head coaching positions, as Jacksonville hired Jordan Mincy in March and Dusty May became Florida Atlantic’s head coach in 2018.