Florida Gators

LEXINGTON, KY - SEPTEMBER 29: A football helmet on the field for the South Carolina Gamecocks against the Kentucky Wildcats at Commonwealth Stadium on September 29, 2012 in Lexington, Kentucky.    (Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images)
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Ex-Florida DB J.C. Jackson won’t head to South Carolina after all

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It appears Will Muschamp‘s Columbia reunion with one of his former Florida players won’t come to fruition as first thought.

Last months, reports surfaced that J.C. Jackson could be headed to South Carolina to join Muschamp’s first-year Gamecocks football program.  However, 247Sports.com is now reporting that Jackson will not enroll at USC.

“Sources indicate Jackson is not eligible to transfer to the Gamecocks in a ruling that’s beyond South Carolina’s control,” the site wrote.

Instead, sources indicated to the recruiting website that Jackson will likely end up at Maryland.  The Terps’ first-year coach, D.J. Durkin, was Muschamp’s defensive coordinator with the Gators when Jackson was a defensive back with the team.

Facing three felony charges in connection to an armed home invasion robbery, Jackson “transferred” from UF in May of last year.  He was ultimately acquitted on all of those charges, and is currently enrolled at a California junior college.

A four-star member of the Gators’ 2014 recruiting class, Jackson was rated as the No. 21 corner in the country; the No. 37 player at any position in the state of Florida; and the No. 243 recruit overall by Rivals.com.  He played in the 2014 opener, but missed the remainder of the season with a shoulder injury.  Exiting the spring, Jackson was expected to take a starting job into summer camp in 2015 prior to the legal issues arising.

If Jackson lands at Maryland, or any other FBS program for that matter, he would be eligible to play immediately in 2016.  The redshirt sophomore would then have three seasons of eligibility at his disposal.

S. Illinois announces additions of four FBS transfers, including ones from Florida, K-State

FORT COLLINS, CO - SEPTEMBER 05:  Deionte Gaines #2 of the Colorado State Rams returns a punt against the Savannah State Tigers at Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium on September 5, 2015 in Fort Collins, Colorado.  Colorado State defeated Savannah State 65-13.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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When Southern Illinois takes the field in 2016, their roster will have a decidedly FBS look to it.

In a press release Monday, the FCS football program announced that it has added four former FBS players to the team.  Those four are wide receiver Deionte Gaines (Colorado State), cornerback CJ Jennings (Wyoming), running back Jarvis Leverett, Jr. (Kansas State), and wide receiver Ryan Sousa (Florida).

All four of those players will be eligible to play in 2016. Jennings and Sousa will have three years of eligibility remaining; Gaines will have two; and Leverett one.

Originally a Florida State commit, Sousa was a three-star member of the Gators’ 2014 recruiting class, rated by 247sports.com as the No. 67 receiver in the country and the No. 70 player at any position in the state of Florida. In addition to UF and FSU, Sousa also held offers from, among others, Arizona, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan State, Missouri, UCLA and Wisconsin.

After taking a redshirt as a true freshman, Sousa played in two games in 2015. The fact that Sousa was a depth-chart afterthought after two springs in Gainesville likely played a sizable role in the player’s decision to transfer last month.

Despite being at K-State the past four years, Leverett played in just five games for the Wildcats.  He rushed for 67 yards on 20 carries, all of which came during the 2014 season.

As a redshirt freshman last season, Jennings played in 10 games. Exiting the spring, Jennings was one of the Cowboys’ starting corners before announcing his decision to transfer earlier this month.

Gaines started five of the 22 games in which he played the past two seasons prior to a mid-May decision to transfer from the Rams. He caught 22 passes for 181 yards and a touchdown, and added another 153 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries.

As a true freshman in 2014, the 5-8, 180-pound Gaines led the Mountain West and was 20th in the FBS with 672 kick return yards on 28 returns (24.0 average).

Longtime Florida AD Jeremy Foley will retire in October

GAINESVILLE, FL - AUGUST 30: Florida Gators atheltic director Jeremy Foley talks with fans after of the game between the Florida Gators and the Idaho Vandals was terminated for weather and unsafe playing conditions on August 30, 2014 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
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Big news out of the SEC this Monday morning: Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley announced his retirement, which will be effective Oct. 1 this fall. Foley has been Florida’s athletic director since 1992.

On Foley’s watch, Florida won 27 national championships in 13 sports, including three in football (1996, 2006, 2008). He was hired by Florida in 1976 and worked in various roles — including assistant athletic director and associate athletic director — before taking over his current post 24 years ago.

Foley’s hiring of Urban Meyer after the 2004 season produced five top-15 finishes from 2005-2009, including those BCS Championships in 2006 and 2008. With Steve Spurrier — who was hired in 1990 — at the helm, Florida never finished below No. 12 in the final AP poll from 1992-2001.

2006 also saw Florida become the first school to win both a football and men’s basketball championship in the same year, with Billy Donovan guiding his hoops team to an NCAA championship a few months after Meyer’s side downed Ohio State in the BCS Championship.

“I want to do what’s right for Florida,” Foley said in an interview with Florida’s official athletics website. “That’s why I have spent a lot of time thinking it through. And I want to make sure everyone understands this is my decision. I’m not sick; I’m not dissatisfied; I’m not getting pushed. It happens to all of us. The time comes.”

Not all of Foley’s calls were good ones — Ron Zook flamed out after three seasons and the Will Muschamp era only had one successful year out of the four he had in Gainesville. But if Jim McElwain’s first year was an indication — a 10-4 season and SEC East title — the last football hire made by Foley could be another good one.

Steve Spurrier ‘humbled, honored’ to have The Swamp field named in his honor

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Thursday, Florida announced that it will rename Florida Field to Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in honor of its Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback and national championship-winning coach.  A couple of days later, The Ol’ Ball Coach publicly expressed his gratitude for the honor.

“I’m humbled, honored, thankful and very appreciative that my alma mater… believes that I’m worthy and deserving to have my name placed on Ben Hill Griffin Stadium,” a statement from Spurrier on Twitter began, adding, “I say thanks to all those who made this honor possible and I consider this to be the biggest, most special honor I have ever received.”

Below is the full statement from Spurrier.

Spurrier played at Florida from 1963-66, becoming the first player in Gators history to win the Heisman Trophy. He returned to Gainesville as the Head Ball Coach in 1990, going 122-27-1 in his 12 seasons with eight SEC East titles, six SEC championships, 10 top-10 finishes and a national championship in 1996.

Florida names Ben Hill Griffin Stadium field after Steve Spurrier

10 Sep 1994: FLORIDA HEAD COACH STEVE SPURRIER ON THE SIDELINES DURING A 73-7 WIN OVER KENTUCKY IN GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA.
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Steve Spurrier made The Swamp matter, so it’s only natural Florida would name The Swamp after Spurrier.

The Gators announced Thursday it will rename Florida Field to Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium after its Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback and national championship-winning coach.

Spurrier played for the Gators from 1963-66, throwing for 4,848 yards with 37 touchdowns en route to the ’66 Heisman. After a solid pro career, the man who would become the Head Ball Coach worked his way back to his alma mater.

Returning in 1990, Spurrier went 122-27-1 in his 12 seasons with eight SEC East titles, six SEC championships, 10 top-10 finishes and a national championship in 1996.

(Can we offer one gripe here? We can, right?)

The official name of the patch of grass where Florida plays football is now 58 characters long. It’s not as if they’d be removing some dignitaries name from the facade, so why couldn’t the Gators have knocked the “Florida Field” off the moniker?

Ah, hell. Maybe it’s a good thing Spurrier has to share the limelight with the rest of the state. Otherwise he might’ve gotten cocky.