Florida looks to continue streak of first-round picks as NFL draft arrives
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Looking at Gators’ strengths coming out of spring
Florida has some impressive streaks going as it pertains to the NFL draft.
The Gators have had at least one player selected in every NFL draft since 1952, marking the longest streak in SEC history, and they’ve had a defensive player taken in the first round each of the last five years.
Defensive tackle Taven Bryan is looking to join that list, following linebacker Jarrad Davis (2017), cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III and safety Keanu Neal (2016), defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. (2015), defensive tackle Dominique Easley (2014) and defensive lineman Sharrif Floyd and safety Matt Elam (2013).
Bryan is the only Florida prospect projected to go in the first round, which starts at 8 p.m. ET Thursday and can be seen on NFL Network, Fox and ESPN.
Here’s a roundup of Bryan’s standing in the latest mock drafts:
- NFL.com’s Peter Schrager has Bryan going No. 19 overall to the Dallas Cowboys.
- ESPN.com’s NFL Nation reporters held a collective mock draft and has Bryan going No. 20 to the Detroit Lions.
- USA Today’s Nate Davis also tabs Bryan at No. 20 to the Lions.
- As does the New York Post’s Steve Serby, No. 20 to the Lions.
- NFL.com’s Mike Mayock projects Bryan No. 26 to the Atlanta Falcons.
- ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay combined for a mock draft, with McShay also attaching Bryan to the Falcons at No. 26.
- The Sporting News’ Vinnie Iyer also has Bryan going No. 26 to the Falcons.
- Ditto for Bleacher Report’s Chris Simms, No. 26 to the Falcons.
- The Ringer.com’s Danny Kelly slots Bryan at No. 30 to the Minnesota Vikings.
- CBSSports.com’s R.J. White has Bryan falling to the Miami Dolphins in the second round with the 42nd overall pick.
With that said, here’s more news and breakdowns on Florida’s draft prospects:
- Follow SEC Country’s Florida Draft Tracker the rest of the week for all the updates.
- 5 things to know about Bryan, Florida’s top draft prospect.
- 5 things to know about Florida wide receiver Antonio Callway.
- Callaway discussed his diluted drug test from the NFL combine with NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport on Wednesday.
- Florida’s Eddy Pineiro and Johnny Townsend are looking to become the first kicker and punter from the same school to get drafted in the same year since the NFL draft settled at seven rounds in 1994. Read more here.
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In other Florida football news
- Projecting how Florida’s 2018 defensive depth looks heading into the summer.
- On Tuesday, SEC Country did the same for the Gators’ offensive depth chart.
- SEC Country’s Zach Abolverdi writes that Florida is making a push for Miami linebacker commit Jesiah Pierre.
- Abolverdi also recaps the Gators’ spring recruiting efforts to this point.
2 of college baseball’s best pitchers face off Thursday night
- No. 1 Florida (34-9 overall, 14-4 SEC) hosts Auburn (30-12, 9-9) in a three-game series at McKethan Stadium, starting Thursday at 7 p.m. The pitching matchup for the opener happens to feature two of college baseball’s best arms, Florida RHP Brady Singer (8-1, 2.77 ERA) and Auburn righty Casey Mize (8-1, 2.25). Entering the season, Baseball America had Singer ranked as the top 2018 draft prospect and Mize ranked fourth.
- Gators coach Kevin O’Sullivan said: “It will be exciting. Not very often do you get a game with two guys who are probably going to go really [high] in the draft. It should be exciting. It should be a really good challenge for both offenses and will probably be a low-scoring game. It should be fun to watch.”
- The opener Thursday night will be broadcast on ESPNU.
- The teams play at 6:30 p.m. Friday (available on SEC Network+). Florida RHP Jackson Kowar (7-1, 2.40) and Auburn RHP Tanner Burns (3-4, 2.29) are set to take the mound.
- And the finale Saturday is set for 2 p.m. (available on SEC Network+). Florida freshman RHP Jack Leftwich (3-1, 3.40) will make his first weekend start, replacing sophomore Tyler Dyson in the rotation. Auburn has not named a starter for Saturday yet.
Longtime Florida swimming and diving coach Gregg Troy retires
- Gregg Troy led Florida swimming and diving to a national championship, eight SEC titles and coached 47 athletes who went on to compete in the Olympics. He announced his retirement from college coaching on Wednesday to focus on working with swimmers preparing for the Olympics. “I’ve been fortunate to spend 20 years here at the University of Florida, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to coach so many remarkable and talented Gator athletes,” Troy said in a statement. “I’ve experienced countless memorable moments here at Florida, and it’s now time for me to step away from collegiate swimming. Moving forward, I plan to help individuals meet their goals at the 2020 Olympics as the high performance coach for Gator Swim Club with Robert Pinter.”
- Troy coached the Florida men’s and women’s programs, and during his tenure, the Gators claimed 43 individual national championships, 177 SEC titles and 1,145 All-America honors. He led the women’s team to the national championship during the 2009-10 season.
- FloridaGators.com staff writer Chris Harry has a closer look at Troy’s impact on the Gators.
— Scott Stricklin (@ScottStricklin) April 25, 2018
In Florida basketball news
- Orlando Sentinel columnist Mike Bianchi writes that former Gators basketball coach Billy Donovan shouldn’t regret leaving Florida, no matter what happens this postseason — and to his tenure — with the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder.
- The Commission on College Basketball released its recommendations. Get caught up here.
- InsideTheGators’ Jake Winderman profiles point guard prospect Kyle Sturdivant, a Gators target.
Elsewhere around campus …
- The Florida softball team improved to 42-7 with a 5-1 win over Florida State on Wednesday night in Gainesville. Kelly Barnhill was dominant as usual, allowing just 1 run on 2 hits and 2 walks through seven innings. She had 10 strikeouts to improve to 22-1. Read more here.
- Three Florida women’s tennis players earned first-team All-SEC honors: Anna Danilina, McCartney Kessler and Josie Kuhlman. Read more here. Read more here.
- The Florida women’s golf team is seeded No. 4 out of 18 teams at the NCAA regional in Austin, Texas. Read more here.
- Florida men’s golfer Andy Zhang is tied for 18th after the first round of the SEC Championships on St. Simons Island, Ga. Zhang shot a 1-over-par 71. The Gators collectively are tied for 12th with a 13-over 293. Read more here.
What they’re saying on Twitter
- Bryan, Florida’s projected first-round draft prospect, is ready to learn his NFL draft fate:
— Taven Bryan (@tavenbryan93) April 26, 2018
- Florida director of football strength and conditioning Nick Savage announced the birth of his son with a little humor (look closely):
Our lives are forever changed! My wife is a rockstar! Welcome the newest Gator fan. 💪🐊💪🐊 pic.twitter.com/M7IiPkaXZ7
— Nick Savage (@CoachSavage) April 25, 2018
- Gators defensive standout CeCe Jefferson offered his congratulations to Savage:
Nothing like it! Congrats coach 💯 https://t.co/LdSHWCWJkO
— CeCe (@cecejeferson7) April 25, 2018
- Freshman cornerback Trey Dean announced he’s switching from No. 35 to No. 21, which belonged to former teammate McArthur Burnett, who is transferring:
🔥#21 it is Go Buy Your Jersey’s 🔥
— Trey Dean (@__TD3) April 25, 2018
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