A Sun Blog

Gators Gone Pro

Tracking former UF athletes through their professional sports careers

Zunino already with three homers this year

Mike Zunino made a change to his swing-and-setup mechanics in the offseason. It’s working. The Seattle Mariners catcher and former Gator hit his third home run (watch here) of the season Monday night in a 7-1 victory over the Texas Rangers. Zunino, who finished with five home runs in 52 MLB games last year, already has more than half that number through just nine games in 2014. The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder told CBS Seattle he’s hitting the ball differently. “I’m trying to keep… Read More »

Evans reminisces on rookie season

This time last year, former Florida safety Josh Evans was looking forward to the 2013 NFL Draft after months of preparation and positive feedback. He led the Gators with 79 tackles as a senior, and most analysts projected him as a mid-round selection. However, Evans wasn’t taken until the 169th overall pick by Jacksonville Jaguars. “I had a big chip on my shoulder after that,” he said. “You look at certain projections and see third or fourth round, then you… Read More »

Brewer scores career-high 51, joins elite category

Corey Brewer can now be mentioned in the same sentence as Michael Jordan. The Minnesota forward scored a career-high 51 points Friday, and his Timberwolves needed every one of them in their 112-110 win over Houston. His point total tied the franchise best set by Kevin Love, and also matched Vernon Maxwell’s 1991 mark for the most points scored by a former Gator in an NBA game. But Brewer’s six steals against the Rockets put him in an even more… Read More »

Cooper reflects on new contract, baseball career

Riley Cooper has no second thoughts. Four years ago, the former Florida receiver was preparing for the NFL Draft after turning down a professional baseball contract with the Texas Rangers. Last month he signed an extension with the Philadelphia Eagles, who drafted him back in 2010. “I feel like I made the right choice,” Cooper said of his career path. “My mentality has always been, ‘I’m a football player.’ Playing baseball was fun, and I’m glad I could do two… Read More »

Matured Powell ready for NFL

Florida linebacker Ronald Powell walked off Sanders Football Practice Field for the final time as a player Monday, closing the book on his difficult but life-changing college career. The California native arrived at UF in 2010 as the nation’s top overall high school prospect. Although he came in with high expectations as a freshman, Powell said he never let the hype get to his head. “Coming out of high school being the No. 1 player in the country, I never asked for that,”… Read More »

Spikes seeks fresh start in Buffalo

Brandon Spikes found a new home this weekend. After visiting Friday, the former Gator linebacker signed with the Bills in the Buffalo-Niagara International Airport before boarding his plane Saturday morning. His contract is reportedly a one-year deal worth $3.25 million. Spikes recorded 86 tackles and an interception with the Patriots last year, his fourth with the team and first in which he played all 16 regular season games. New England selected him in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL… Read More »

Mincey joins Cowboys

Jeremy Mincey grew up rooting for the Cowboys. Next season, he will be playing for them. Dallas signed the former Gator defensive end to a two-year contract Wednesday worth $4.5 million with $2 million guaranteed, according to the National Football Post. It’s official Mr.Mince is a Cowboy!!!! Childhood team!!! yezzzir — Jeremy Mincey (@MrMince94) March 12, 2014 The 30-year-old spent six NFL seasons in Jacksonville but was released late last year. He landed with the AFC champion Denver Broncos in December… Read More »

Denver re-signs Caldwell

The Broncos are bringing “Bubba” back. Denver re-signed former Gator receiver Andre Caldwell on Tuesday before he hit the free agent market at 2 p.m., reportedly agreeing to a two-year deal worth $3.45 million. Caldwell first joined the Broncos in 2012 after four years with the Cincinnati Bengals, who selected him in the third round of the 2008 NFL Draft. In his first season in Denver, the 6-foot, 200-pounder was fifth on the depth chart and caught just one pass for… Read More »

Noah playing best basketball of his career

Less than a month ago, sixth-year Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah had a total of three triple-doubles in his NBA career. He now has six. The former Gator posted 10 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists Wednesday night in Chicago’s 105-94 win at Detroit. It was his second triple-double in three games and his third in 11. It was also his fifth double-digit assist game since Feb. 6. He had recorded just two for his career prior to this season.… Read More »

Watkins raises draft stock at NFL combine

Prior to last weekend, most considered Jaylen Watkins to be the third-best cornerback prospect from Florida in this year’s draft class. He may have changed some opinions with his performance at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine, which concluded Tuesday at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Watkins ran the 40-yard dash in 4.41 seconds, tied for the fourth-fastest time among players at his position. His 22 bench press reps of 225 pounds were tied for the most. Loucheiz Purifoy and Marcus Roberson,… Read More »