Jordan McPherson/SEC Country
Scott Stricklin, in his first year as Florida athletics director, thanked fans for welcoming him and his family.

First-year athletics director Scott Stricklin sends out letter thanking Florida fans as season nears end

Welcome to another installment of Good Morning, Gators, SEC Country’s daily morning column covering Florida athletics with beat writer Jordan McPherson. Here’s a look at what you might have missed on Thursday.

A message from Scott Stricklin

While staying in Omaha, Neb., for the College World Series, Florida athletics director Scott Stricklin penned a letter to Florida fans breaking down the school’s success both on the field and in the classroom. He also provided a brief facility update. An excerpt from that letter:

“The end of June marks the eighth month for me to be a part of the Gator Nation, and on behalf of my wife Anne and our two daughters (who are now full-time Gainesville residents!!!) I would like to thank each of you who have gone out of your way to welcome us to the Orange and Blue. … There has been a lot of fun packed into a short period of time, and that fun is directly attributable to our remarkable student-athletes, coaches, staff and fans.”

Eddy Pineiro: The rising kicker

Florida kicker Eddy Pineiro spoke on the SEC Network on Thursday about his first year with the Gators and how his football career arose. His introduction sums it up pretty well: “My name’s Eddy Pineiro,” he says, “and I can kick the ball really, really far.” Pineiro was named a second-team preseason All-American by Athlon Sports earlier this week.

More details about Justin Fields’ visit

Our Zach Abolverdi reported Thursday that 2018 5-star quarterback prospect Justin Fields met with both Steve Spurrier and quarterback Malik Zaire during his two-day trip to Gainesville earlier this week. Abolverdi also broke down what’s next for Fields in his daily podcast.

New football numbers

The Florida football team’s freshman class has been assigned its jersey numbers. Here’s a full breakdown.

Where is he now: Chris Rainey

Former Florida football running back Chris Rainey. dominated as a football player and track star with the Gators from 2007-11. He’s currently continuing his football career in the Canadian Football League.

Florida once again shut out in NBA draft

It has now been four years since the Florida Gators had a player selected in the NBA draft. None of the Gators’ four draft-eligible players heard his name called on Thursday night. Forward Devin Robinson, who had been projected as a mid-to-late second-round pick, was Florida’s best chance to have a player selected.

Bring on the Horned Frogs

The No. 3 national seed Florida baseball team is one win away from the College World Series championship series. That one win will need to come against No. 6 seed TCU, which defeated Louisville 4-3 in an elimination game on Thursday. The teams will play Friday at 8 p.m. (ESPN). If Florida loses, a winner-takes-all game will be played on Saturday. The Gators opened CWS play with a 3-0 win over the Horned Frogs. Pitcher Jackson Kowar will start for Florida and looks to follow up recent solid performances from both Alex Faedo and Brady Singer.

Let’s keep talking

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What they’re saying on Twitter

Defensive lineman CeCe Jefferson

Former Florida track and field national champion Marquis Dendy

Gators baseball (featuring JJ Schwarz, Deacon Liput, Jonathan India and Blake Reese):

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