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Tim Tebow doesn’t have to shut door on Spring AAF league, yet

Florida Football Insiders

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Jul 18, 2017; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; St. Lucie Mets designated hitter Tim Tebow (15) signs autographs for fans prior to the game A at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Binghampton (N.Y.) Double-A Baseball “Rumble Ponies” were rained out on Sunday afternoon. And, in a Friday interview, Steve Spurrier, new Orlando head coach in the Spring Alliance of American Football league, appeared to “dampen” talk of one of the most famous Gators of all time playing for him in February.

However, don’t just close the door just yet, on it being Tim “Tebow Time” in Central Florida come next February.

First, Spurrier made his comments on the “Paul Finebaum” t.v./radio simulcast about having reached out to Tebow to join him with the AAF team.

Spurrier went on to deliver the bad news for the moment: “certainly we’d love to have him….He said ‘Coach, I’m gonna keep swinging the bat and see what happens.'”

“Swinging the bat” for Tebow includes having joined the Mets Double A team for this season. He did go 2-4 in Saturday’s game in New York state. And, he’s currently hitting “so-so” with a .256 average and only a modest on base percentage of .318 at the moment. Tebow does have 17 extra base hits, including five home runs in 63 games for the Rumble Ponies.

We have written previously that it’s the Mets desire for on-filed but also box office and marketing reasons to have Tebow to join the big club, when the rosters expand to 40 players in September. And clearly, Tebow continuing to ride the minor league buses, and stay in the 2-3 star hotels in small cities to prove himself, has silenced critics.

The Mets stand at 31-44 Sunday near the halfway point of the MLB season and likely won’t be in the playoff picture. Importantly for Tebow and his television career on the SEC Network though, a September call up would put his media career on hold.

As for the football, Tebow is a hero among hundreds of thousands of Gators fans in the state. And, the Orlando AAF franchise will be willing to wait, as their training camp process won’t crank up until after the baseball season has ended.

Waiting for Tebow and getting him to agree to play would easily represent 10,000 or more additional fans in ticket sales for the first few games beginning in February.

And, the league will reportedly pay some players in the mid-six figures, and Tebow would qualify to make the high end.

So, Friday’s Spurrier comments are discouraging, but not final.

Not until Tebow hypothetically shows he can hit Major League pitching on at least a partial basis, which we won’t know for three more months.

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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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