Chomp: Tebow flashes at camp; SEC vote on Texas, OU expected; Florida picked 2nd in East

Jaguars coach Urban Meyer talks to tight end Tim Tebow on July 28 at training camp. (Jamal St. Cyr, News4Jax)

This story first appeared in Chomp, our Gators football newsletter. Subscribe here.


Hey, Gators fans!

There’s no doubt the start of the college football season is right around the corner with all the news we have this week.

We’re wrapping up SEC media days coverage before the Gators start fall camp next week, we’re following all the developments surrounding conference realignment and Tim Tebow is back in the headlines.

Oh, and we got a commit!


👀 Tebow flashes at Jaguars training camp

The Jaguars opened training camp Wednesday, and News4Jax sports reporter and anchor Jamal St. Cyr said Tebow was the second-best tight end on the field on day one.

“He really flashed. Tebow caught two nice passes down the seam. Now, the passes were a bit of a body catch, but that doesn’t change the fact that Tebow was able to create space and make the play,” Jamal wrote.

Before camp began, coach Urban Meyer, who coached the former star quarterback to a pair of national championships at Florida, said: “It’s one of 90 trying to make the team.”

How Tebow’s comeback story ends will be determined in the coming weeks.


✒️ Vote expected on Texas, Oklahoma’s admittance

It has been a whirlwind week as Texas and Oklahoma made a request Tuesday to join the Southeastern Conference, and it looks like they could be getting an answer soon.

A day after Oklahoma and Texas notified the Big 12 that they would not be extending a grant of media rights agreement past its 2025 expiration date, the schools publicly stated Tuesday for the first time they want to join the SEC.

Oklahoma and Texas sent a joint letter to Sankey, requesting “invitations for membership to the Southeastern Conference starting on July 1, 2025.” Here’s what they said in the letter.

SEC university presidents and chancellors are scheduled to meet later Thursday, and they’re expected to vote to extend invitations to the conference to Texas and Oklahoma, according to reports. Eleven of the 14 members would need to vote in favor of inviting a new member, and it appears that won’t be a problem.

Texas A&M officials had voiced their displeasure last week with the possibility of rival Texas joining the SEC, but Texas A&M’s Board of Regents on Wednesday directed University President Katherine Banks to vote in favor of the Longhorns and Sooners coming aboard.

In the meantime, Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby accused ESPN of encouraging other conferences to pick apart the league so Texas and Oklahoma can move to the SEC more quickly and without paying a massive buyout.

The Big 12 has sent a cease-and-desist letter to ESPN. Here’s more of what that letter said.


🙃 Florida picked to finish 2nd in SEC East

Surprise, surprise: Like most of the preseason college football magazines, a poll of media covering SEC media days last week selected Florida to finish second in the East Division this season with seven first-place votes, coming up behind Georgia, which got an overwhelming 124 first-place votes.

Even less surprising: Alabama was picked to win the SEC West (130 first-place votes) and was selected to win the 2021 SEC Championship with 84 votes, while Georgia was second with 45 votes.

In an episode of Gators Breakdown, host David Waters gives his reaction to the predictions and reveals how he voted.

See the vote totals here.


🐊 4 Gators named to preseason All-SEC Teams

Four Gators were named to the 2021 Preseason Media Days All-SEC Teams.

Defensive lineman Zachary Carter and cornerback Kaiir Elam made the first-team defense, while linebacker Ventrell Miller joined the second-team defense.

The only player on Florida’s offensive to be selected was wide receiver Jacob Copeland, who was on the third-team offense.

View all of the teams here.


🙌 2023 TE commits to Florida

The Gators got the first commitment of their 2023 class when four-star tight end Mac Markway announced his pledge to Florida.

The 247Sports Composite has Markway, who attends De Smet Jesuit High School in St. Louis, as the country’s No. 4 tight end.

According to 247Sports, the 6-foot-4, 250-pound Markway had 27 offers and chose the Gators over his other finalists of Alabama, LSU, Notre Dame and Ohio State.


🤔 Can expectations still be high in a ‘rebuilding year’?

“Rebuilding year” mostly has a negative connotation when discussing an upcoming season for a team. While the Gators have a talented roster, many are still questioning the Gators’ ceiling going into coach Dan Mullen’s fourth season.

Join David and Will Miles in this episode of Gators Breakdown as they discuss expectations and perception in a “rebuilding year” for the Gators.


🏟️ It’s official: Florida, UCF agree to 2-for-1 series

While this had been reported by the Orlando Sentinel’s Mike Bianchi, Florida officially announced that it has agreed to a two-for-one series with UCF.

The Gators will host the Knights in Gainesville in 2024 and 2033, and Florida will travel to Orlando in 2030.

UCF is the latest in Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin’s push to upgrade Florida’s nonconference schedule, which already includes future games with Utah, Miami, Cal, North Carolina State, Colorado, Arizona State, Texas and Notre Dame.


🏆 It’s award watch list season

Elam on 2 more award watch lists

It’s unofficially, officially Kaiir Elam award watch list season, as the cornerback’s name has been added to two more lists.

Elam was named Monday to the Jim Thorpe Award Preseason Watch List, which includes 40 of the nation’s best defensive backs.

The next day, he was named to the Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List.

Elam’s two preseason nods this week come after he was added to the Chuck Bednarik Award Watch List last week.

Elam started all 12 games in 2020, finishing the season with 39 tackles (28 solo), 1.0 tackle for loss, two interceptions, 11 pass breakups and one fumble recovery.

Miller repeats on Butkus Award Watch List

Linebacker Ventrell Miller was named Monday to the Butkus Award Watch List for the second straight season.

Miller led Florida in tackles last season with 88.

The Butkus Award honors linebackers at three levels while supporting causes important to the Butkus family.

Christmann named to Lou Groza Watch List

Kicker Jace Christmann was named Wednesday to the Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award Watch List.

The Mississippi State transfer finished tied fourth all-time in career scoring for the Bulldogs at 223.

The award is named for National Football League Hall of Fame kicker Lou “The Toe” Groza, who played 21 seasons with the Cleveland Browns.

Carter earns spot on Wuerffel Trophy Watch List

Defensive lineman Zachary Carter was named Thursday to the Wuerffel Trophy Watch List, named in honor of former Gators star Danny Wuerffel.

It was the fourth day in a row that a Florida play was named to a National College Football Awards Association watch list.

Carter played in all 12 games in 2020, leading the Gators in sacks (5.0) and tackles-for-loss (9.5).

The Wuerffel Trophy honors college football players who serve others, celebrate their impact and inspire greater service in the world.


🏀 Gators men’s basketball learns SEC opponents

Florida men’s basketball learned Wednesday its SEC opponents for the 2021-22 season.

The Gators will face Auburn and Ole Miss twice in addition to their permanent rivalry series against Georgia, Kentucky and Vanderbilt.

For its one-time, regular-season opponents, Florida will host Alabama, Arkansas, LSU and Mississippi State and visit Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas A&M.


🏈 Former Gators RB hired to coach high school alma mater

Former Florida running back Ciatrick Fason was named the head coach of his alma mater Fletcher High School on Monday.

Fason was a Rivals five-star recruit and committed to Florida as a junior. He held to that pledge despite a coaching change (Steve Spurrier had resigned and the Gators hired Ron Zook) and became a first-team All-SEC player during his final season in 2004.

Fason finished with 1,783 career rushing yards and 14 touchdowns and 368 receiving yards and five scores. He entered the NFL draft in 2005 and was selected in the fourth round by the Vikings.


🥇 Dressel wins 2nd gold medal of Tokyo Olympics

University of Florida graduate Caeleb Dressel has his second gold medal of the Tokyo Olympics after winning the 100-meter freestyle on Wednesday evening and nabbing his first individual gold medal. Dressel set a new Olympic record with a time of 47.02, winning by .06.

While Dressel had two golds entering the games and one in Tokyo this year, all had come on relay events. Dressel finished sixth in the 100 free in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.

Dressel won his first gold in Tokyo on Sunday night swimming the lead leg of the 4x100 freestyle relay team.

His medal pursuit continues this week. Here’s a look at what’s next for Dressel in Tokyo.


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David and I want to hear from you. Do you have any thoughts or questions about the Gators football program? Agree or disagree with something we’ve said? Let us know here and we’ll share our responses to your questions.

David and I want to hear from you. Do you have any thoughts or questions about the Gators football program? Agree or disagree with something we’ve said? Let us know here and we’ll share our responses to your questions.


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About the Author:

Jacksonville native and proud University of Florida graduate who joined News4JAX in 2016.