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Gators adversity continues with injury to Tyrie Cleveland

Florida Football Insiders

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(Photo by Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire)

Despite what he and Gator fans were hoping, looks like WR Tyrie Cleveland will miss at least some time after his ankle injury in Saturday’s win over Vanderbilt. And it only adds to the list of who Florida doesn’t have at their disposal, as they get ready to play LSU Saturday.

Cleveland came off the field in the fourth quarter and was clearly in pain sitting on the sideline holding his lower leg. The hope when Cleveland tweeted this Sunday afternoon was that it wasn’t that serious:

Unfortunately, at his weekly Monday afternoon news conference, coach Jim McElwain delivered the bad news, at least in the short term, that the sophomore from Houston is out for LSU and probably longer with a high ankle sprain.

That injury is typically at least a two week, if not three to four week or longer healing process. So, this likely means that the Gators top threat won’t play in 12 days at Texas A & M. However, he could have a good shot to suit up against Georgia after the bye week on 10/28.

This adds to Florida’s woes, as the Gators have played the entire season without Antoinio Callaway, who remains suspended and in limbo after his arrest and felony charges for being part of a large credit card fraud scandal that involves eight other players. Those other eight include last year’s leading rusher Jordan Scarlett, who is also charged with felonies in the investigation.

It doesn’t look like either will play at all this season and maybe ever again, in Gainesville.

Back to Cleveland, he had become the top passing weapon as the season has unfolded, with 15 total receptions, a 22 yard average per catch and of course, the game wining catch on the bomb from Feleipe Franks on the final play of the Tennessee game.

Now, Florida will go down the depth chart even more, to find help at the WR spot for Franks.

On another injury front, McElwain also confirmed that QB Luke Del Rio, who was injured on a hit in the second quarter Saturday, is having season ending surgery on his left collarbone. It’s the second year in a row that a shoulder type injury has ended his season early.

Adversity or not, Florida gets ready to put their 3-0 record in the SEC on the line against LSU Saturday at 3:30.

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Gators announced home and home series with Cal Friday

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Bryan Lynn-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida Gators continued their philosophy of striking “home-and-home” deals with Power 5 opposition, when they announced on Friday that they will be doing so with the Cal-Berkley Bears out of the Pac-12 coming later in this decade.

The Gators made the announcement through their website and social media mid-day Friday that they will play Cal at home first and then travel to Berkeley the following year:

A.D. Scott Stricklin has broken up the long tradition that Florida would only play two home out of conference games in September and usually, against much lesser competition before entering SEC play. Stricklin has been very outspoken that in the age of the College Football Playoff, strength of schedule is emphasized and the selection committee holds schools responsible for not playing top-notch out of conference opponents, at least some of the time.

With that in mind, the Gators opened the 2019 season in Orlando against the Miami Hurricanes and won a sloppy game. And, they already have other Power 5 schools laid out to play home and away.

As we previously wrote, Florida will be playing the Texas Longhorns first in Gainesville in 2030 and then. return the game the following year in Austin.

Florida had previously announced last year that they will also play the Colorado Buffaloes out of the Pac-12, again with the first game in Gainesville in 2028 and then, returning it to Boulder the following season.

It’s interesting with Friday’s announcement that Stricklin and the football program are working backwards with the schedule. And, they will now play Cal before Colorado in September of 2026, and then will be opening on the Berkeley campus the following season.

Florida and Cal have only met two times, having played first in Gainesville in 1974 as the Gators wo 21 – 17 and then, they also met in Tampa to open the 1980 season with a Florida 41-13 blowout victory.

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Second National Signing Day recap for top state schools

Jamil King

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

National Signing Day 2020 has come and gone, and several in state schools were able to improve their classes heading into spring ball. The University of Florida watched rival Georgia secure the number one overall class, but the Gators were still able to land the best class in the state with the number eight class overall.

The Gators officially signed former five-star receiver Justin Shorter from Penn State, and Florida stayed in the family today as well, Xzavier Henderson officially joined the Gators. He’s the ounger brother of  former DB C.J. Henderson.

Dan Mullen also able to dip into the state of Texas inking four-star DE Princely Umanmielen. It wasn’t all great news for the Gators, as they missed out on a few key guys, including losing out on arguably top state safety Avantae Williams to in state rival Miami. Overall it was a good cycle for the Gators both recruiting and in the transfer portal.

The Miami Hurricanes continued an impressive offseason on National Signing Day. The Canes made arguably the biggest move in the state by landing Williams and keeping him Florida. Williams became the highest rated Hurricane in the class and propelled the U to the number 13 spot.

Miami has the second-best class in the ACC behind Clemson. With an impressive offseason in the books, once again excitement will be in the air in Coral Gables. The question is: will they live up to it in year two for Manny Diaz?

Florida State and new coach Mike Norvell have been working hard to get this class rolling last minute. After a good early National Signing Day Norvell looked to keep the momentum going. The Noles took a big hit Wednesday though, with the loss of Venice four star WR, Malachi Wideman, who flipped to Tennessee.

The Noles came back from that by landing a handful of other recruits. They got the number six Juco running back La’Damian Webb, ass well as, Robert Scott, an offensive lineman and Corey Wren, an athlete/running back.

Replacing Cam Akers will be tough for Norvell and building the offensive line is a top priority. The former Memphis coach came in late like he did, yet he finishes with a decent class sitting at 22 on 24/7.

Now the work begins turning around the former powerhouse.

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