This story first appeared in Chomp, our Gators football newsletter. Subscribe here.
Hey, Gators fans!
Let’s get the bad news out of the way: The Gators baseball team suffered an abrupt exit from the NCAA tournament.
But here’s the good news: It appears coach Kevin O’Sullivan isn’t going anywhere (more on that below). As for the football program, the Gators are getting recruits on campus and we’re continuing to see progress on the team’s new facility.
🏗️ Topping out ceremony for football facility
Progress continues on the standalone football facility, which is a plus for the Gators football program and recruiting.
On Tuesday, there was a topping out ceremony for the James W. “Bill” Heavener Football Training Center.
The Gators Football Twitter account posted a video of Mullen signing the last piece of steel to be placed on top of the building. You can watch it here. The account also tweeted out photos showing Steve Spurrier signing the piece of steel.
🏈 Recapping busy recruiting week for Florida
Recruiting visits to Florida were fast and furious last weekend after the recruiting dead period came to a close.
In an episode of Gators Breakdown, host David Waters is joined by Corey Bender, with Rivals’ Gators Territory, to break it all down.
While some have noted there haven’t been any commitments stemming from last week, David pointed out that we didn’t see a flurry of commitments hardly anywhere and these recruits just want to visit places since they weren’t able to last year.
🐊 More visits happening
The tight end position is a huge selling point for the Gators, and this week they are hosting two of the top tight ends in the country, both of them coming off visits to big rivals.
Jaleel Skinner is the top tight end in the country coming off a visit to Florida State, and Oscar Delp is the third-rated tight end in the country who recently visited Georgia. Skinner once named Florida his leader and has a great relationship with tight end coach Tim Brewster. Delp is also paid a visit to Alabama, but Georgia has been viewed as the frontrunner in his recruitment for some time now.
Florida needs more impact players on the offensive line and is hosting four-star offensive guard Qaeshon Sapp on an official visit this weekend after welcoming him unofficially last week. Florida State is the team to beat here.
Gators defensive back commit Julian Humphrey will have his official visit this weekend. He’s fresh off visits to Alabama and Ohio State, both of which also offered him scholarships. That was expected, and David expects him to stick with Florida until he signs.
🏆 CFP expansion to 12 teams reportedly on the table for discussion
The College Football Playoff would expand from four to 12 teams, with six spots reserved for the highest-ranked conference champions, under a proposal that will be considered next week by the league commissioners who manage the postseason system, The Associated Press reported this afternoon.
A 12-team playoff would include the six highest-ranked conference champions in major college football, plus six at-large selections, a person familiar with announcement told The AP.
🍔 Spurrier’s Gridiron Grille to open in July
Spurrier’s Gridiron Grille and Visor’s, its rooftop bar, will not only be Gainesville’s first polished casual dining establishment but also double as a museum (if not shrine) to the greatest Gator of them all.
Read more here.
🐆 Meyer opens up about Tebow’s performance
Well at this point, it wouldn’t be a newsletter if we didn’t have a Tim Tebow update.
As the Jaguars continued organized team activities, coach Urban Meyer talked Tuesday about the performance of the quarterback-turned-tight end with whom he won two national championships at Florida.
“Oh Tim has done a decent job. We all know this is a new position for him. You wish you could see and do [more]. In spring football, you have full pads and scrimmages, and you can really evaluate, but it’s kind of tough right now. But he’s a great teammate. In the locker room, I can see everybody getting along, we have a good chemistry on our team. But he’s picked it up decently,” Meyer said.
Before making those comments, Meyer spoke with NFL Network’s Rich Eisen about Tebow. Meyer acknowledged it’s going to be “difficult” as Tebow works to make the 53-man roster but also said he’s been doing “great.”
“What’s the percentage of making the team? We don’t know, this is uncharted water, this is gonna be very difficult, but he’s been doing great,” Meyer said. “He’s been doing great in practice, he’s learning the offense as you can imagine. He’s working as hard as anybody. I see a good camaraderie amongst the team and Tim, and it’s been good so far.”
See more of Meyer’s comments to Eisen here.
🖊️ Bucs officially sign Trask
Kyle Trask and Tom Brady took the field together for the first time at a Tampa Bay Buccaneers mini-camp on Tuesday.
After that, according to the team, the former Gators quarterback and Heisman Trophy finalist officially signed his rookie contract with the team that selected him in the second round of the 2021 NFL draft.
It’s a four-year deal. According to Spotrac, the contract should come in at $5.53 million over four years, including a $1.385 million signing bonus and a 2021 cap hit just north of $1 million.
Last week, first-round pick Kadarius Toney also signed his rookie contract with the New York Giants.
😞 Season ends for Gators baseball team
The Florida baseball team, which started the season as the consensus No. 1, ended it with an embarrassingly fast exit from the NCAA tournament.
South Alabama beat the No. 15-seed Gators 19-1 in the Gainesville Regional on Saturday, the most runs scored against Florida in 15 years.
The Gators, who lost 5-3 to South Florida on Friday, went two games and out for the first time since 2014, when they also went 0-2 in Gainesville.
The 18-run margin of defeat was the largest for an SEC team in NCAA Tournament history, according to ESPN.
“It’s just one of those days,” O’Sullivan said. “Unfortunately, it’s the last game of the year for us. That’s something we got to live with.”
⚾ O’Sullivan ‘fully committed’ to Gators
Unfortunately, there have been reports that LSU had interest in O’Sullivan filling its baseball head coaching vacancy. While the Tigers are still alive in the tournament, it’s unlikely they’ll announce retiring coach Paul Mainieri’s replacement.
But just hours ago, Lafayette Daily Advertiser reported that sources said O’Sullivan is no longer on LSU’s list. And then O’Sullivan released a statement, saying he is “fully committed” to the Florida baseball program.
“I am the head coach at the University of Florida and remain fully committed to the Gators program. This is where I want to be, and I do not have interest in the head coach openings at any other schools,” said O’Sullivan, whose contract with Florida runs through 2028.
Read his entire statement here.