AP Photo/Mark Humphrey

Florida’s Kelvin Taylor, Demarcus Robinson and Alex McCalister entering 2016 NFL Draft

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Add three more names to the list of underclassmen declaring early for the 2016 NFL Draft. On Monday, Florida announced the early departures of running back Kelvin Taylor, wide receiver Demarcus Robinson and defensive end Alex McCalister. All three will join teammate Vernon Hargreaves III as early entrants to the NFL Draft next spring.

“I’m expecting those guys to play all-out,” Florida head coach Jim McElwain said in a released statement. “They’ve been working out. I think these guys have a pretty good feeling of they’ve got one more opportunity to be proud of what they put on film, to show their worth.”

Taylor, the son of former NFL running back Fred Taylor, has rushed for 985 yards and 13 touchdowns this season. Robinson is Florida’s second-leading wide receiver this season, catching a team-high 47 passes for 505 yards and two touchdowns. Freshman Antonio Callaway is the only receiver on the team with more receiving yards.

McCalister has appeared in nine games, missing the last three games due to a foot injury. In his time on the field, he has recorded 26 tackles, six and a half sacks and recovered two fumbles. He was already ruled out for Florida’s appearance in the Citrus Bowl against Michigan as a result of his foot injury.

Floria is also losing quarterback Will Grier to a transfer. Grier, suspended for one calendar year for a banned substance, was granted a release from his scholarship by Florida, McElwain confirmed.

“The one thing I’ll never do is make someone do something they don’t want to do,” McElwain said. “In life, sometimes a change of scenery is good. In this case, he’s going to go have a successful career and go on to play in the NFL. We’ll help him and support him in every way we can.”

Between the transfers and early NFL Draft entries, Florida will have some key spots to fill in the coming year.

Senior vote to determine SEC Championship status for suspended Gators WR Demarcus Robinson

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Just hours before kicking off against in-state rival Florida State, Florida announced wide receiver Demarcus Robinson had been suspended for the game for a violation of a unspecified team rule. Now, as the Gators prepare to take on Alabama in this week’s SEC Championship Game in Atlanta, the status of Robinson has yet to be determined. Florida head coach Jim McElwain says he will leave Robinson’s fate in the hands of his teammates, or at least the seniors.

“I’m going to visit with the seniors. They’ll determine which direction we’ll go,” McElwain said Monday, according to The Gainesville Sun.

“Look, he made a choice, OK. He made a choice,” McElwain said. “You know what, our family needs to make this decision and those guys are the leaders of our family.”

McElwain’s leaving a player’s fate up to the team is certainly not unprecedented. Les Miles of LSU was criticized at length for allowing the fate of players be handled by a team vote. There are pros and cons to allowing such decisions be handled in such a manner, and there may be no right way to go about it. On one hand, a coach allowing players to make these types of decisions may show trust in a team’s leaders, which can be good for morale and establishing trust. On the other hand, it may lead to players having their way and being disgruntled with a coach’s decision if they do not get a say. Of course, McElwian already stepped his foot down for the Florida State game.

Robinson is Florida’s second-leading receiver with 505 yards and two touchdowns this season.

No. 25 Florida the new beast of SEC East after dismantling No. 3 Ole Miss

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It is typically unwise to go overboard with reactions based on any one week of the college football schedule, but something learned on Saturday in the SEC is the No. 25 Florida Gators (5-0, 3-0 SEC) just might be the team to beat in the SEC East Division. The Gators were not in need of last-minute heroics the way they were a week ago. With No. 3 Ole Miss rolling into Gainesville, the Gators stomped and drowned the Rebels in The Swamp the way Florida teams of years past used to do their opponents, 38-10.

The offense was locked in. Quarterback Will Grier, flu and all, completed 24 of his 29 passing attempts for 271 yards and four touchdowns without an interception. Kelvin Taylor picked up 83 yards on the ground and Demarcus Robinson had eight catches for 98 yards and a touchdown. The Gators offense played the game without a single turnover and they had the edge in time of possession.

The defense incredible. There was nothing Ole Miss could do about the outcome of the game because for the first time in years it was the Florida Gators setting the tone from the start and following through until the clock expired in the fourth quarter. By the time the Rebels reached the end zone, which they had done plenty of times leading up to this game, the Gators were already ahead 38-3 in the fourth quarter. Chad Kelly had 259 passing yards and a touchdown and he was also the leading rusher for Ole Miss with 40 yards. Turnovers doomed Ole Miss, with four turnovers leading to 20 points for the Gators.

Jim McElwain has Florida heading in the right direction, and it’s been a long time coming for the program. Now we will see if McElwain can keep this momentum going. Next week Florida visits Missouri, who has represented the SEC East in the SEC Championship Game each of the past two seasons. After that is the annual rivalry game with Georgia in Jacksonville. These next two weeks will help Florida prove itself as the new top threat in the SEC East. Right now, at this point in time, there should be no arguing that is the case after Missouri has lost to Kentucky and Georgia went down in flames at home against Alabama.

Florida may not be back as a national title contender, but they are certainly more than capable of making a run back to the top of the SEC East and getting back to Atlanta. This division is Florida’s to lose.

Ole Miss will get a chance to regroup and put up 60 points next week at home against New Mexico State before a road game at Memphis.

Flu-stricken Will Grier has 4 TDs and Gators up 25-0 on Ole Miss

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A week after a thrilling come-from-behind victory over Tennessee, the No. 25 Florida Gators are once again proving it may be difficult for teams to come into The Swamp and leave with a  win. No. 3 Ole Miss is having a real tough time getting the offense going after being held scoreless in the first half. Florida leads the Rebels 25-0 at the break.

It was unknown if he was going to play this week due to the flu but Florida quarterback Will Grier has played very well, completing nine of 12 pass attempts for 161 yards and three touchdowns in the first half for the Gators. The first was a 36-yard pass to Demarcus Robinson in the first quarter.

Ole Miss fumbled away the ensuing possession two plays later, and Grier once again connected for a touchdown pass, this time a much shorter pass to tight end Jake McGee for a quick 13-0 lead after a misses extra point attempt. Grier’s third pass was a 77-yard pass to Robinson. Late in the half Grier orchestrated a wonderful touchdown drive with little time to work, masterfully using the sidelines to his advantage with his receivers. Antonio Callaway caught a pass over the middle and got some good blocking as he found room to get in to the end zone for one last forts-half score. Grier is no the first Florida quarterback to toss four first-half touchdowns since Chris Leak did so in 2005.

We’ll see if Ole Miss can find itself on offense, but it might be safe to say Florida’s defense is still one of the best in the SEC. Picking up court touchdowns against this defense will be no easy task, even for Ole Miss.

Two glaring omissions headline Biletnikoff watch list

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It’s not often that who’s not on what’s essentially a meaningless preseason watch list is the main storyline, but that’s the case when it comes to the Biletnikoff Award this year.

First, who is on the watch list for the award handed out annually to the nation’s top wide receivers: a total of 48 players at the position, which is actually a rather subdued number compared to other watch lists that come out this time of the year.

Headlining the four dozen receivers actually listed is Colorado State’s Rashard Higgins, who was a finalist for last year’s award that went to Alabama’s Amari Cooper.  Joining Higgins are 2014 semifinalists Sterling Shepard of Oklahoma and Nelson Spruce of Colorado.

Now, the players who was inexplicably excluded from the initial watch list? Auburn’s D’haquille Williams, first and foremost. The senior wideout was already named to the Maxwell Award watch list earlier this month. He’s considered by many to be the best receiver in the SEC — Mel Kiper has Williams as his No. 1 player at that position — yet four receivers from that conference are included.  The only receiver on the Biletnikoff watch list to also make Maxwell’s is South Carolina’s Pharoh Cooper.

Williams missed three of the last four games last season because of an injury, yet still totaled 45 receptions for 730 yards and five touchdowns. Kiper may have him a bit overrated on his Big Board, but Williams certainly deserves one of the 48 spots allotted — or the award should at least make room for a 49th.  Or a 49th and 50th.

That said, Williams can, and probably will, be added to an in-season update from the folks at the Biletnikoff.  The same could be said for Player. No. 2: Ole Miss’ Laquon Treadwell.

Despite missing the last four games of the year because of a gruesome leg injury, Williams still led the Rebels in receptions with 48 and was second in yardage with 632.  Like Williams, Treadwell made the cut for the Maxwell, which is awarded annually to the best player in college football regardless of position.

Anyway, below is the complete Biletnikoff Award preseason watch list.

Victor Bolden, Oregon State
Devonte Boyd, UNLV
Daniel Braverman, Western Michigan
Ryan Burbrink, Bowling Green
KD Cannon, Baylor
Leonte Carroo, Rutgers
Rashon Ceaser, ULM
Corey Coleman, Baylor
Pharoh Cooper, South Carolina
River Cracraft, Washington State
Jared Dangerfield, Western Kentucky
Corey Davis, Western Michigan
Josh Doctson, TCU
Travin Dural, LSU
Alex Erickson, Wisconsin
William Fuller, Notre Dame
Jakeem Grant, Texas Tech
DaeSean Hamilton, Penn State
Donovan Harden, Georgia State
Carlos Harris, North Texas
Rashard Higgins, Colorado State
Ajalen Holley, ULM
Cayleb Jones, Arizona
Corey Jones, Toledo
Isaiah Jones, East Carolina
Marcus Kemp, Hawaii
Roger Lewis, Bowling Green
Keevan Lucas, Tulsa
Byron Marshall, Oregon
Mitch Mathews, BYU
Teldrick Morgan, New Mexico State
Jordan Payton, UCLA
Josh Reynolds, Texas A&M
Jalen Robinette, Air Force
Demarcus Robinson, Florida
Alonzo Russell, Toledo
Artavis Scott, Clemson
Hunter Sharp, Utah State
Tajae Sharpe, Massachusetts
Sterling Shepard, Oklahoma
Thomas Sperbeck, Boise State
Nelson Spruce, Colorado
Taywan Taylor, Western Kentucky
Trent Taylor, Louisiana Tech
Michael Thomas, Ohio State
Shaq Washington, Cincinnati
Mike Williams, Clemson
Ron Willoughby, Buffalo