Clarity and clues, taking stock of Florida’s suspended football players
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Another suspended player leaves while status still uncertain for 5 Gators
The credit card fraud saga that hung over the 2017 Florida football season like a dark cloud still has loose ends to tie up as it relates to the future of several players.
But that list continues to dwindle as a fourth indefinitely suspended player is reportedly leaving the program.
The Gainesville Sun’s Graham Hall reported Monday that defensive lineman Richerd Desir-Jones, who missed his redshirt sophomore season due to the suspension, is transferring to Coffeyville Community College in Kansas.
Desir-Jones came to Florida as a 3-star offensive lineman from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and got into two games off the bench in 2016 before transitioning to the defensive line.
He follows the departures of three other players suspended in the credit card fraud matter after wide receiver Antonio Callaway declared for the NFL draft and offensive lineman Kadeem Telfort and defensive lineman Jordan Smith announced intentions to transfer.
If there is any common thread to be taken from that group, Callaway (too many off-the-field distractions), Telfort (too many recommended third-degree felony charges) and Smith (ditto on the volume of charges) always seemed the least likely to return, while Desir-Jones would be facing an uphill battle for a role on the team going forward even if he was cleared to return.
So, in other words, no surprises so far.
Meanwhile, there’s been no official update on the other five suspended players: former starting running back Jordan Scarlett, freshman linebackers Ventrell Miller and James Houston, wide receiver Rick Wells and veteran defensive end Keivonnis Davis, who was in a serious scooter accident last fall and faces health obstacles to any potential return in addition to the other factors.
Each of those players received pre-trial intervention that will allow their charges to be dropped if they meet requirements set forth by the State Attorney’s Office, but it has been conveyed throughout the process that the suspended players must be cleared for return at the university level before it becomes a football matter.
It’s not clear where that process stands.
But for fans looking for clues, it was interesting that Scarlett — the most notable of the remaining suspended players — was not among the list of early entrants who declared for the NFL draft. That doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll play again for the Gators, but it at least seems to indicate he hopes to return.
His Twitter bio continues to list him as a Florida running back, and he tweeted this Monday morning:
— Jordan Scarlett (@ScarlettFever25) January 22, 2018
Meanwhile, Miller has been tweeting regularly, recently posting a photo of himself working out in Gators attire and posting a photo of an opened Bible over the weekend.
If y’all was wondering what I was doing 🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/BjwhPHrdhs
— Ventrell Miller (@ventrell_miller) January 21, 2018
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In other Florida football news
- SEC Country continued its early look-ahead at Florida’s roster with a breakdown of the running backs on Monday. It’s a group with both uncertainty (including Scarlett’s future) but also impressive depth. Last week, we started the series with a look at the Gators’ QB competition.
- Former Florida safety Keanu Neal made the Pro Bowl in his second season with the Atlanta Falcons.
- FootballScoop.com continues to report that Florida assistant coach Ja’Juan Seider, the only holdover from former coach Jim McElwain’s staff, is still interviewing for other jobs. Seider was moved from running backs coach to tight ends coach, an unfamiliar position for him, as new Gators coach Dan Mullen set his staff.
- Scott Carter, of FloridaGators.com, wrote a profile on new Florida QBs coach Brian Johnson.
- SEC Country’s Zach Abolverdi reports that Florida has a strong chance to flip 4-star cornerback Noah Boykin, a Maryland commit, after his recent visit to Gainesville. Boykin, from Washington, D.C., is ranked the No. 33 cornerback in the Class of 2018 by the 247Sports composite. Here’s what Boykin said about his visit to Florida over the weekend.
- Abolverdi also takes a closer look at the impact of 4-star wide receiver Justin Watkins’ recent commitment to Florida. He’s ranked the No. 15 WR in the Class of 2018 by the 247Sports composite.
- John Dunmore, a 4-star wide receiver in the Class of 2019, has de-committed from Florida. He tweeted a long message about his decision, thanking McElwain, Mullen and Seider while writing, “I understand that this will burn bridges and create so much tension between me and the people of Florida, but what I hope is that you find it in your heart to understand that I have people that depend on me for their well-being.”
- The latest Chomp Chat podcast reflects on the news and notes of the last recruiting weekend for Florida.
- David Baldwin, a 6-foot-4 dual-threat QB in the Class of 2019, announced Monday he has received a scholarship offer from Florida. Baldwin, who transferred from Upland High School in California to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., is rated a 3-star prospect and ranked the No. 8 dual-threat QB in his class by the 247Sports composite. According to 247, Baldwin said Florida State and Oregon are his “dream schools.”
- Sam Howell, a 4-star 6-foot-1 pro-style QB in the Class of 2019, also announced he has been offered by the Gators. Howell, from Monroe, N.C., is ranked the No. 5 pro-style QB in his class by the 247Sports composite.
- Marcus Crowley, a 3-star Class of 2019 running back from Jacksonville, also tweeted about receiving an offer from the Gators. Crowley is committed to Miami and ranked the No. 52 running back nationally in next year’s recruiting class by the 247Sports composite.
- Trent McDuffie, a 3-star Class of 2019 “athlete” from Bellflower, Calif., also announced he has received an offer from Florida.
- As did Class of 2019 “athlete” Jerjuan Newton, from Clearwater, Fla.
- And Jesiah Pierre, a 3-star Class of 2019 outside linebacker from Mount Dora, Fla. Pierre, ranked the No. 38 OLB in his class, is committed to Miami.
- Along with Class of 2019 Superior Collegiate Academy (Clearwater, Fla.) teammates Ethan White, a 6-foot-5, 315-pound offensive tackle, and Chris Scruggs Jr., a wide receiver.
- And Howard Allen Jr., a 6-foot-5, 266-pound Class of 2019 offensive tackle from Jacksonville.
- And La’Darius Henry, a Class of 2019 safety from St. Petersburg, Fla., who is committed to USF. Henry tweeted that Florida is the first SEC program to offer him.
- And Class of 2020 running back Jayion McCluster, from Largo, Fla. He called Florida his “dream school” in his tweet announcing the offer.
- As well as Keyvone Lee, a Class of 2020 “athlete” from Clearwater.
- And Class of 2020 defensive tackle Jerzhan Newton from Clearwater.
More on Eddy Pineiro’s act of bravery
It came out over the weekend that former Florida kicker Eddy Pineiro, who declared for the NFL draft last month, had received a Police Service Award certificate from the Gainesville Police Department for “selfless acts and extreme bravery” in breaking up an assault of a woman.
Carter, of FloridaGators.com, spoke to Pineiro for more details on the incident and his role in helping the woman to safety.
“It was the worst thing I have ever experienced,” Pineiro told Carter of seeing a man choking and attacking the woman.
Pineiro tweeted about the situation on Sunday.
Everyone please read this! This is a perfect example of why you should never put your hands on a woman! You will go to jail for a long time! Treat women with respect! pic.twitter.com/T0PD37NqXt
— Eddy Piñeiro (@eddypineiro1) January 21, 2018
On the hardwood
- The Florida men’s basketball team returned to the AP Top 25 poll on Monday, checking in at No. 20 after its 66-64 win at Kentucky on Saturday night.
- Gators guard Jalen Hudson, who scored a game-high 17 points Saturday night, was named Co-SEC Player of the Week, the conference announced Monday. Hudson averaged 19.0 points in two games last week against Arkansas and Kentucky.
- Here’s a look at where that momentous win in Lexington, Ky., ranks among coach Mike White’s biggest victories in his two and a half seasons with the Gators.
- Overshadowed by the glow of that big win over the weekend, the Florida women’s basketball team picked up a 61-60 victory over Ole Miss on Sunday. The Gators have now won two straight SEC games after starting 0-5 in conference play.
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What they’re saying on Twitter
Florida point guard Chris Chiozza paid his tribute to former Gators kicker Eddy Pineiro:
— Chris Chiozza/ FLASH (@Chiozza11) January 23, 2018
UNLV posted an official welcome to former Florida linebackers coach Tim Skipper, who left the Gators this month to become the Runnin’ Rebels’ defensive coordinator:
— UNLV Football (@unlvfootball) January 22, 2018
The Gators’ official account recognized Florida’s former players heading to the Super Bowl:
— Gators Football (@GatorsFB) January 22, 2018
New Florida linebackers coach Christian Robinson, a former LB at rival Georgia, is fully embracing his newfound connection to the Gators:
— Christian Robinson (@crob45) January 22, 2018
Former Gators punter Johnny Townsend tweeted from the Senior Bowl:
— Johnny Townsend (@johnnytownsend1) January 22, 2018
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