The start to the Gators camp is still coming up, but just like a year ago, there’s already another off field distraction before a game is played.
Incoming freshman WR/DB Justin Watkins was arrested by the Gainesville University Police on Tuesday afternoon on multiple felony counts involving a domestic situation.
BREAKING: #Gators freshman Justin Watkins in Alachua County Jail facing four charges (two felonies), including battery by strangulation. More coming shortly – https://t.co/8f9cuu2Hs3 pic.twitter.com/6DzPiO2aCN
— Thomas Goldkamp (@ThomasGoldkamp) July 24, 2018
Watkins, who as you can see from the photo is a former “Under Armour High School All American” receiver from Clermont, was taken into custody after authorities say that he committed multiple felonies on Friday in a domestic dispute.
WCJB-TV in Gainesville obtained the arrest report and gave more insight Tuesday evening. That report says that Watkins is alleged to have held down by the throat an unidentified female, slapped, punched and choked her on the night of July 20th. He’s currently being held in the Alachua County Jail without bond on third degree counts of domestic battery, kidnapping and attempted strangulation.
Gators coach Dan Mullen reacted quickly to suspend Watkins immediately and indefinitely from all football activities.
Former Coach Jim McElwain dealt with a multi-player suspension over a credit card fraud case to begin 2017. That included WR Antonio Callaway, who never saw the field again and turned pro. And, it included RB Jordan Scarlett, who has been re-instated for this season.
Back to the 5’11 170lbs. player from East Ridge High School. Watkins was in trouble in May, when he was arrested for trespassing at Vanguard High School in Ocala after chasing another female, smashing her phone and kicking her car.
The Gators did not discipline him at that time because he was not yet enrolled at the school. Although, Mullen told the media at that time he and the athletic department were monitoring Watkins legal problems.
It had been expected that Watkins was going to be converted to defensive back and be in the mix to be on the field with the first team at the beginning of their camp.
College programs continue November domination of our power rankings
Another week has come and gone in the football world. Already in November, the season is flying by. Some teams are hitting stride, others are falling flat, and some are treading water. With that let’s get right into the rankings:
5. Jacksonville Jaguars- The 5th spot might as well be cursed. Almost every time I put a team here they lose. So, sorry Jacksonville. Out of all the teams to lose they showed the most upside. The Jags came into the season with championship hopes. What they are now looking at is a team that is trying to make a late-season push for the playoffs. They finally got Lenard Fournette back in the lineup, and he showed that he is the centerpiece to the offense. He had 30 total touches for 109 yards and two touchdowns. The Jags are two games out of the second wildcard, and if they have any playoff aspirations, they need to start a win streak immediately.
4. FAU Owls- The Owls were not flying last Saturday- they were running, running, and running. Devin Singletary became the first running back in school history to top over 4,000 yards career yards. He also had a modest 148 yards rushing and two touchdowns and his running mate Kerrith Whyte, Jr. had 163 yards rushing and two touchdowns of his own. The Owls would handle Western Kentucky 34-15. Owls are picking up steam in C-USA.
3. Florida Gators- Felipe Franks was able to quiet the crowd and lead the Gators to gritty come from behind win Saturday. One thing though this was a home game. Franks gave the crowd “the shhh motion,” with his finger over his lips not once, but twice. The Gators put up 21 unanswered second-half points leading them to a win over former coach Will Muschamp and the Gamecocks. The Gators finished 5-3 in the SEC and will hope for an easier time with Idaho this week and a lot more cheering than boos and quiet gestures.
2. FIU Panthers- The Panthers pounced all over Texas-San Antonio last week by the score of 45-7. QB James Morgan broke the schools single-season touchdown record with his 22nd of the season. Morgan would add two more along with 291 yards. The Panther defense forced four turnovers in the win. A road date with Charlotte is on the schedule for next week before ending with Marshall as the Panthers look to win the C-USA East division and potentially host the Title Game.
1. UCF Knights- The Knights won yet again, and at this point, it feels like clockwork. McKenzie Milton tossed a pair of touchdowns and ran for one. Greg McCrae topped 100 yards rushing with Adrian Killins adding 83 yards rushing. The Knights have gathered more national attention with College game day making the trip to Orlando over the Notre Dame Syracuse contest. The Knights will have their toughest test of the season under the bright lights against Cincinnati, who just took out USF. UCF wanted attention. They now have it.
Gators have lots to smile about after late comeback
Through a lot of reasons that Gator fans should be smiling on Saturday night after Florida roared back to defeat South Carolina 35 – 31 at the Swamp.
They should be smiling because, when it appeared all was lost when South Carolina took a 31-14 late in the third quarter, the Gators showed guts and heart that makes the difference in battles like these. Honestly, it’s the type of deficit that the Gators would have thrown in the towel on in the last few years.
Further, smiling because it came at the expense of Will Muschamp, their former coach, who was his usual animated-maniac self as South Carolina unraveled in the 4th quarter.
Smiling because Felipe Franks, for all the criticism of the last couple of weeks and talk of him being benched, played one of his best games of his Florida career. Frank’s completed 15 of 21 passes for 161 yards with a TD pass and ran for two critical scores, including the game-winner on a fourth-and-goal (above) with four minutes remaining.
Yes, there is some controversy over him putting up the finger to his lips to “shush the Swamp,” as it was cheering him. This was as if to say: stop criticizing me, yet cheering me. Now, in fairness, a lot of those people that were cheering that 4th and goal touchdown had been the same ones calling for Frank’s to be benched. They’re happy and Franks is now happy with the comeback.
Smiling because the Gators put two running backs, Jordan Scarlett and LaMichael Perine, both went of 100 yards and Florida put together three long scoring drives late in the game, when they had to have them.
Smiling because For the first time in three games, the Gators defense finally came up with a takeaway and it was huge, as CJ Henderson’s pick in the fourth all but iced the game.
Smiling because Dan Mullen, his staff and their players demonstrated there was no quit in them, yet again. It was the second time in a month that Florida was down by at least 17 points, Vandy was the other, yet, they rallied to win. And you can tell his players love playing hard for him:
1. Sound on 🔊🔊
2. 🔁🔁🔁 pic.twitter.com/MSQV6v5tCB
— Gators Football (@GatorsFB) November 10, 2018
Smiling, because the win has the Gators at 5 and 3 in the SEC and in Prime position to have a New Year’s Day bowl game in Florida, probably at either the Outback Bowl in Tampa or the TaxSlayer Bowl in Jacksonville.
No. It wasn’t easy, but it was memorable Saturday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
And the smiles will last for at least while.
Gators backup QB Trask apparently suffered serious knee injury Wednesday
Well, if the Gators were in fact looking at another quarterback to possibly replace starter Feleipe Franks, they were dealt a bad injury break Wednesday afternoon.
That’s when reserve quarterback Kyle Trask was injured in a non-contact situation during the Gators practice. He was carted off the field and there has been no official update given.
BREAKING: A #Gators quarterback was carted off the field with an injury in Wednesday's practice. Could affect starting decision for Dan Mullen – https://t.co/Yt6NA5Kf8C (VIP) pic.twitter.com/wGGrN697tf
— Thomas Goldkamp (@ThomasGoldkamp) November 7, 2018
The Gators had another struggling Saturday offensively at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, when they were beaten decisively 38-17 by Missouri for a second straight loss. Trask actually replaced Franks the second half of the game, and he threw a fourth-quarter touchdown. That gave some Gator fans hope that coach Dan Mullen might be contemplating a switch for this week’s match-up with South Carolina.
With Mullen and his new staff taking over, their was an off season competition for who would start this season. Franks eventually won that competition and has been the Gators starter the entire year.
As of Wednesday night, Florida had not confirmed Trask injury or the severity of it.
The Gators also have dual-threat quarterback freshman Emory Jones, who they could turn to, should they still want to bench Frank’s for this game or later in the year.
Jones has played sparingly this season, including two weeks ago during the loss to Georgia. He only carried the ball out of the “Wildcat formation” four times for 12 yards in the game with the Dawgs. It’s also believed that Jones has struggled to pick up Mullen’s offense in his first season, and was not ready to be the guy to replace Franks, unless it’s an emergency.
Now, if Trask is done for the year, Jones may be that guy right behind Franks.
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