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Florida-Tennessee tops our week four college primer

Jamil King

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Bryan Lynn-USA TODAY Sports

Week four of the college football season will feature an SEC East rivalry, a Noles team in need of a big win, and UCF looking to knock off another power five school. Plus, a pair of schools in South Florida will also be looking for their second win of the season.

The Florida Gators will renew their rivalry early Saturday against Tennessee at the Swamp. The Vols were beaten badly by the Gators (above) a year ago, and have been struggling so far this season coming in at 1-2.

The Gators will be playing their first game since losing QB Felipe Franks for the rest of the season. Kyle Trask and Emory Jones will now apparently split time/run the offense, and both bring a different element. Trask the more traditional pocket passer and Jones, who can extend plays with his legs. Expect the Gators to give the ball to Lamical Perine a lot to establish the run and ease the QBs into the game.

Florida State is coming off yet another second-half meltdown- this time at Virginia. The Noles are in desperate need of a win with the clock on Willie Taggart running out of time. The offense has played well in the first half of every game so far. QB James Blackman, RB Cam Akers, and WR Tamorrion Terry have had fast starts to the season so far

The Noles need to put a whole game together for the first time, and they can come out with a home win against a rebuilding Louisville program. FSU also added Jim Leavitt to the defensive staff, as an analyst and hope to see some early returns on that investment.

UCF is looking to keep the good times rolling. The Knights will travel to Pittsburgh for their second game in a row against a power-five opponent. The Knights offense looks to be unstoppable, right now and is one of the best in the nation. Freshman QB Dillion Gabriel is coming off national honors and will need another big game. As the Knights continue to battle for respect, they can use all the style points they can get at this point. Pitt is definitely ripe to be beaten, even at home.

The Miami Hurricanes got their first win last week and should start up a winning streak this weekend, as the Canes will host Central Michigan. QB Jarren Williams has quietly been very good for the new Canes offense. Williams has 777 yards passing for seven touchdowns and zero interceptions.

Since the first game against the Gators, he is becoming the guy who showed all the flashes of being a great quarterback. DeeJay Dallas is also averaging 8.4 yards a carry and should have a good day against the MAC opponent.

Finally, FAU will take on an 0-3 Wagner team. The Owls got their first win of the season a week ago, just like the Canes. Expect Lane Kiffin to set QB Chris Robinson free in this game. Last week he had 366 yards and four touchdowns in a win at Ball State.

This week we can probably expect some of the same,  as they get their last game before jumping into conference play.

Jamil King is a young draft pick working his way up the depth chart on the F.F.I. roster, who enjoys watching and writing about all of Florida’s football teams.

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Florida Gators

Gators land Penn State transfer WR Shorter

Florida Football Insiders

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Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY

Good news for the Gators receiving corps on a Sunday afternoon in January, as they have landed a former high school five-star pospect transfer from Penn State.

Nittany Lions sophomore Justin Shorter had announced in November that he was transferring from Happy Valley, PA, and on Sunday afternoon after visiting the Gators a week ago, he’s made his decision publicly known on social media:

Shorter played sparingly for the Nittany Lions in 2019 appearing in seven games and catching only 12 passes. He caught three balls for 28 yards in the Nittany Lions lost to Ohio State. He announced the following week that he would be entering the NCAA transfer portal.

The Gators are in need of wide receiving help after losing Freddie Swain, Van Jefferson and Tyrie Cleveland to graduation this past season.

Coach Dan Mullen and offensive coordinator Billy Gonzales always seem to be able to reload. And, Florida has an incoming receiving class with Ocala four star high school prospect Jaquavion Frazairs and Texas transfer Jordan Pouncey already, as both having signed in the December in early signing period.

Back to Shorter. He was regarded as the #1 high school receiving prospect in the Northeast two years ago coming out of South Brunswick, New Jersey. And, at 6’4 with large “catch radius,” he had been viewed as a potential replacement for former Penn State, now Buccaneers, Pro Bowler, Chris Godwin.

He is a sophomore and it’s unclear if he will already be eligible for 2020 or will have to put in for a waiver with the NCAA?

Shorter and his father reportedly visited the Gainesville campus during the December “dead period” just after Christmas and while the Gators were in Miami preparing for their eventual Orange Bowl win over Virginia.

Florida has committed to QB Kyle Trask for 2020 after his success in replacing Feleipe Franks who fractured his leg in the September game in Kentucky. Franks announced last week that he was electing to transfer to Arkansas, as a graduate whom can immediately play this fall.

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Three state receivers look to make Senior Bowl impression

Florida Football Insiders

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Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

A trio of Florida collegiate pass catchers will look to make an impact at Saturday’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, and it’s very possible that one will be selected the opening night the NFL Draft in April.

First, the Gators have a duo of receivers working out for the South team in this week. As wideouts, Van Jefferson and Tyrie Cleveland have been going through practices and getting attention this week. Obviously, their experience against SEC competition is a key to helping them prepare to take on the North squad Saturday afternoon on the NFL Network.

Cleveland was a late add to the South roster only being notified on late Monday afternoon about the prospect of joining the senior All-Stars in Mobile.

And, as SI.com profiled earlier this week, both Florida guys are anxious to demonstrate what they can do and are grateful that they have each other in Alabama for the experience.

“I’ve seen Mr. Nagy (director of the Senior Bowl), and I heard him say something about Tyrie, so I was like, I was trying to creep in to see what he was talking about,” Jefferson admitted to the site.

“Then he looked at me and said ‘I invited your boy!’, and I asked who and he said ‘Tyrie!’, and so I went and called Tyrie, I’m like ‘Tyrie, where you at?’, and Tyrie’s already in Mobile, so my man, my dawg is here, so it’s just got the week much better, I’m excited to go out there and practice with him for the last time, play in a game with him for the last time, it’s exciting.” 

Jefferson, who’s the son of former NFL receiver Shawn Jefferson, had two solid but not spectacular seasons in Gainesville after transferring from Ole Miss catching for just over 1,100 yards and 12 TDs in 23 games.

Likewise, Cleveland does not have fantastic numbers and some of that had to do with the shaky quarterback play at times during his career at Florida.

Still, they are both large bodied and Cleveland ran a sub 4.4 (unofficial), 40 yard dash this week, too.

Now, the probable first round pick from the state as a receiver is FAU tight end, Harrison Bryant. While he’s not a household name on the national scale, Bryant has outstanding hands and put up monster numbers for a tight end in 2019.

Flourishing and former coach Lane Kiffin’s system Bryant (above) led all tight ends in FBS with 65 catches, 1,004 yards and 7 TDs, as the FAU owls rolled to a second Conference USA championship in 3 years.

Bryant also has some raving about his route running, hands and his blocking from the practices this week in Mobile, too:

Sure, there will be a lot more time for scrutiny of these guys after the Senior Bowl is played from the scouting combine to their individual workouts and team interviews. Still, they are three names to keep an eye on Saturday and beyond, as the draft process continues.

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