Chomp: Gators from Jacksonville-area hit the field as spring practice starts; Anthony Richardson breaks records at NFL combine

Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Saturday, March 4, 2023. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy) (Michael Conroy, Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

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

Hi, Gators fans.

Between Florida starting spring football practice and the NFL combine, it has been a busy past week.

Let’s break it all down.

🐊 Gators start spring practice

The Gators football team began its second spring practice under head coach Billy Napier over the weekend.

“Reality is, you’ve heard your entire life that practice makes perfect, and the reality is practice makes permanent, right? So good practice will help you improve, bad practice — you can regress and go backward. I thought for the most part today, the focus was there, the energy was there. a lot of new faces. And certainly I think we’ve done ourselves well with the new group we’ve added,” Napier said Saturday. “So, each person in the organization right now, in particular the players, need to be thinking about what do I need to do to become a complete player, right? And certainly, my role in the organization in terms of what I do to contribute to the team, how can I prove, and how can I improve, and how can I be a complete person relative to that role? So good first day.”

With new players and coaching staff, there are many storylines and position battles to watch this spring. One of the storylines Gators Breakdown host David Waters is following the nine Jacksonville-area Gators hitting the field — from true freshman to players who have been on the team and are looking to break through.

Early enrollee defensive back Sharif Denson for Bartram Trail is getting his first taste of college football, along with running back Treyaun Webb from Trinity Christian. Linebacker Jaden Robinson and offensive lineman Roderick Kearney from Orange Park are also on campus early.

And two edge rushers — Bryce Capers from Riverside and Jack Pyburn from Bolles — are looking to break through on this Gators roster.

There are also local players who have been on campus for a little while and are looking to continue their ascension: offensive lineman Austin Barber from Trinity Christian, wide receiver Marcus Burt who’s also from Trinity Christian, and another offensive lineman, Kingsley Eguakun from Sandalwood.

Watch here as David discusses the local Gators. You can also watch David’s video on News4JAX’s YouTube channel.

Players from the Jacksonville area hit the field as the Gators start spring practice.

In the latest episode of Gators Breakdown, David discusses more roster changes for 2023, as some players find themselves in new positions, and coaching updates. He also shares some insider practice notes.

It was also announced last week that the Orange and Blue Game on Thursday, April 13, is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Admission to the Gators’ spring game will be free, but if you can’t make it to Gainesville, UF said details about how to watch the game “live on ESPN streaming platforms will be announced in the coming weeks.”

🏈 Richardson has strong performance at NFL combine

Quarterback Anthony Richardson put on an impressive show Saturday at the NFL’s annual scouting combine at Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium.

Richardson had a 4.43-second 40-yard dash, the fourth-fastest by a quarterback since 2003. The Gainesville native also broke the modern combine position record with a 40 1/2-inch vertical jump, and his 10-foot, 9-inch broad jump tied Matt Jones of Arkansas for the best mark by a quarterback since 2003.

READ MORE: Bryce Young’s height, Anthony Richardson’s workout all the rage at NFL combine

If you missed Richardson’s strong performance, you can see clips of him and other Gators at the NFL combine on Florida Gators Football’s Twitter feed.

The NFL draft is April 27-29.

🏀 Men’s hoops snaps 3-game losing streak, gets 2 wins before SEC tourney

The Florida men’s basketball team ended the regular season strong with two wins last week over Southeastern Conference teams.

Guard Will Richard hit five 3-pointers and finished with 24 points, guard Myreon Jones had a double-double, guard Riley Kugel added 19 points and Florida beat Georgia 77-67 last Tuesday to snap a three-game losing streak. This secured the Gators a first-round bye in the SEC Tournament beginning this week.

Then, this past Saturday, Kugel scored 21 points, Richard added 18 points, and the Gators defeated LSU 79-67 after trailing by 12 points in the second half. It was their fourth double-digit comeback win of the season.

“I’m really proud of our team, our program. Obviously had a big hill to climb losing [forward Colin Castleton] down the stretch. It would’ve been really easy for our guys to pack it in and say let’s get to the finish line and figure out what we got. With [guard Kyle Lofton] and Myreon being great leaders and Colin staying engaged with the team and holding that standard high, I felt like our guys have done a great job,” coach Todd Golden said on Saturday night. “Obviously, we weren’t winning early on after that stretch, but to go on the road and beat Georgia by double figures, then come back and win this thing by 12 when it didn’t look great for the first 24 minutes or so of the game, it says a lot about their resiliency as a group but also where we’re headed as a program. We’re not going to be OK just getting to the finish line. We’re not going to be OK with decent effort.”

GAME RECAPS: Richard his 5 3s, scores 24 as Florida beats Georgia | Kugel leads Florida’s second-half rally to topple LSU 79-67

Kugel’s performances last week earned him SEC Freshman of the Week honors, the conference announced Monday. The 6-foot-5, 207-pound player from Orlando averaged 20 points, 4.5 rebounds and two assists in the pair of wins.

Later on Monday, the SEC announced that Castleton was named first-team All-SEC and SEC All-Defensive Team and that Kugel earned a place on the SEC All-Freshman Team.

The SEC Tournament begins Wednesday in Nashville. The Gators will play Mississippi State on Thursday, with tipoff at 1 p.m.

✉️ Send us your Gators thoughts & 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.

🎙️ Listen to more Gators Breakdown

You can catch up on previous episodes of Gators Breakdown at or click one of the following to tune in: Megaphone | Apple Podcasts | YouTube | Google Podcasts | Stitcher

About the Author:

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