This story first appeared in Chomp, our Gators football newsletter. Subscribe here.
Greetings, Gator Nation!
I don’t know about y’all, but I’m starting to get a bit antsy for fall. I just picked up some 2021 college football preview magazines, so you know what I’ll be doing this weekend...
We’re also learning more about how Tim Tebow is fitting in with his new NFL team.
And the Gators men’s tennis team is the 15th Florida sport to win a national title.
🏈 Tebow catches TD passes
During his first week of organized team activities with the Jaguars, Tebow caught touchdown passes from quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence and Gardner Minshew on Thursday.
The quarterback-turned-tight end didn’t drop a pass and made a couple of plays.
“It’s 1 in 90 trying to make the team,” Jaguars coach Urban Meyer said. “He has improved. It’s all new for him. … That position’s trending upward; they’re doing a nice job.”
Meyer declined to provide much insight into how he plans to potentially use Tebow, but there has been speculation.
👏 Lawrence praises Tebow
Lawrence also opened up on the AP Pro Football Podcast about what it’s like to have Tim Tebow as a teammate.
Surprisingly, the Jaguars’ No. 1 overall pick revealed he hadn’t met Tebow until recently.
“I never met Tim until last week so I didn’t really know him but I was intrigued by his character, his work ethic and what he’s been able to do throughout his life on the field and off the field,” Lawrence said. “All those things are really interesting so I was excited to meet him. When it was official, I saw him in the locker room and had a few good conversations and I really like him.”
Unsurprisingly, Lawrence described the former Gators star as “a guy you want to be around.”
“Character is awesome. Had a few conversations with him and I can already tell, and just a hard worker. No one is going to work harder than him. Those are the kind of guys you want in your locker room and you want to be around every day. And then I’m excited to see what he can do on the field as well. We got in a few days and he looks great. He’s in awesome shape.”
▶️ Video captures Tebow being Tebow
So of course we know Tebow is a great guy, and he continues to show us that.
News4Jax viewer Burne Hill posted a video on his Facebook page showing Tebow speaking with a man in a wheelchair. Tebow took the gold cross from around his neck and gave it to the man.
Tebow said that on the back of the cross, it says: “Love. Because everyone who wears one or buys one, we want them to know they’re loved.”
You can watch the video here.
💵 Details of Tebow’s deal emerge
Tebow will make the veteran’s minimum and his contract with the Jaguars doesn’t include any guaranteed money.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported last week that Tebow’s one-year deal with the Jaguars is worth $920,000 and there is no signing bonus or any other guaranteed cash in the deal.
The NFL minimum for a player with Tebow’s three years of NFL experience is $920,000, so Tebow is making what any NFL veteran would with his service time.
Should Tebow earn a spot on the team’s practice squad this year, he would be in line to earn $14,000 a week as a veteran on the squad.
🐆 Any harm in giving Tebow a shot with Jaguars?
News4Jax sports editor Justin Barney shared his thoughts on Tebow signing with the Jaguars, saying it’s a low-risk move for coach Urban Meyer and the team.
“If Tebow makes it on to the Jaguars 53-man roster, that’s significant. That would be quite the comeback story. If he doesn’t, what have the Jaguars really lost?” he wrote.
Read Justin’s entire commentary here.
📺 Alabama at Florida kicks off 2021 ‘SEC on CBS’ schedule
The “SEC on CBS” will kick off at 3:30 p.m. on Sept. 15 when Florida hosts Alabama in The Swamp.
Of course, the Florida-Georgia game on Oct. 30 is set for 3:30 p.m. on CBS.
The remaining Saturday SEC games on CBS will be determined during the season.
CBS will have a doubleheader of SEC matchups at 3:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Oct. 9 -- the same day Alabama is set to play at Texas A&M.
I find it disappointing that Alabama-Florida won’t be a night game, especially considering how close the Gators played the Crimson Tide in last year’s SEC championship game. Plus, Jimbo Fisher’s Aggies have yet to keep the game close when they’ve played Bama.
This year’s SEC championship game is scheduled for 4 p.m. Dec. 4.
🕛 More game times announced
We also learned the kickoff times for Florida’s first two games this season.
The Gators will host Florida Atlantic at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 4 in the season opener before traveling for a Week 2 game at noon against South Florida on Sept. 11.
📈 Unproven WRs must step up again
For the second season in a row, a good portion of Florida’s receiving core must be replaced. There wasn’t much issue of finding new pieces in 2020, thanks to Kadarius Toney and Kyle Pitts.
In an episode of Gators Breakdown, host David Waters is joined by Will Miles with Read and Reaction for a look at who might step up to catch passes in a new-look offense.
🐊 ‘We got a commit’ x 2
The Gators on Thursday got their second defensive back commit within a week.
On Thursday, cornerback Julian Humphrey committed to Florida over Texas A&M and Penn State. The four-star cornerback from Houston (Clear Lake) is one of the top cornerbacks in the class of 2022. The 247Sports Composite ranks Humphrey as the 135th player in the country and the 16th cornerback in the country, while Rivals ranks the 6-foot, 175-pounder as the No. 55 player in the country and the eighth-best cornerback in the nation. Humphrey also runs track where he’s posted a hand-timed 10.27, and laser-timed 10.43, in the 100-meter dash.
And over the weekend, former Missouri cornerback Jadarrius Perkins, committed to the Gators. Perkins is a former junior college All-American who had about 40 offers coming out of Gulf Coast Community College, according to Gators Territory. He signed with Missouri in January and went through spring practice with the Tigers before entering the transfer portal in April.
⚾ Gators face Crimson Tide in Hoover
As I send this newsletter, the No. 6 seed Florida baseball team is playing No. 10 seed Alabama in the third round of the SEC Tournament in Hoover.
Florida snapped a four-game losing streak Tuesday when it beat No. 11 seed Kentucky 4-1 in the first game of the tournament.
On Wednesday, Florida opened the second round with a 13-1 win over No. 3 seed Mississippi State in seven innings.
🎾 Florida men’s tennis wins 1st natty
Top-seeded Florida rallied to beat Baylor 4-1 on Saturday night to claim the men’s tennis program’s first national championship.
No. 2 seed Baylor took a 1-0 lead when Constantin Frantzen/Sven Lah beat Florida’s Duarte Vale/Johannes Ingildsen 6-2 and the Bears’ Finn Bass/Charles Broom beat Brian Berdusco/Will Grant 6-1 to win the doubles point. But the Gators won four consecutive singles matches to seal the national title.
Ben Shelton, the son of Florida coach Bryan Shelton, clinched the title with a 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 win over Broom at No. 5 singles.
It’s the 42nd national title for the University of Florida’s athletics department.
🏀 White adds Oklahoma State’s Erik Pastrana to staff
Coach Mike White has added Oklahoma State assistant Erik Pastrana, a Miami native with lifetime ties to the state, to his staff.
“Having grown up in Florida, I am fully aware of the tradition and passion that comes with being a part of Florida Basketball,” Pastrana said. “I don’t take this opportunity lightly and can’t wait to help continue the success this university and its fans deserve.”
Pastrana spent the past two seasons as an assistant who also served as Oklahoma State’s recruiting coordinator. The Cowboys signed the fourth-ranked recruiting class in 2020.