A Sun Blog

Gators Gone Pro

Tracking former UF athletes through their professional sports careers

Eight UF rookies make NFL teams

Heading into the 2014 NFL season, a total of 39 former Gators are on rosters as active players, reserves and practice squad members. Eight of those are rookies, including Florida’s top three 2014 draftees — defensive tackle Dominique Easley (Patriots), cornerback Jaylen Watkins (Eagles) and linebacker Ronald Powell (Saints). The other five newcomers are undrafted free agents who signed deals in May. Tight end Trey Burton (Eagles), center Jonotthan Harrison (Colts) and cornerbacks Loucheiz Purifoy (Colts) and Marcus Roberson (Rams) made… Read More »

Gaffney not ready to give up on NFL

Jabar Gaffney had one of the longest and most productive NFL careers of any receiver to ever come out of Florida. In 11 years he caught 447 passes for 5,690 yards and 24 touchdowns. He’s also the only player in UF history to register back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons and has the most career 100-yard receiving games (14). “It’s been good,” Gaffney said of his career. “I had a lot of good times and played on a bunch of great teams.… Read More »

Murphy happy in Tampa Bay

Louis Murphy is back in Florida this summer, only this time he doesn’t have to leave come football season. The former UF receiver signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in late March and went through minicamp with the team earlier this month. The St. Petersburg native has enjoyed his return to the Sunshine State after spending the first five years of his NFL career with the Oakland Raiders, Carolina Panthers and New York Giants. “It feels good to be in… Read More »

Bonner one win away from second title

The Spurs lead Miami 3-1 in the NBA Finals heading into tonight’s Game 5. Forward Matt Bonner will become the fourth former Gator to win two titles if San Antonio can close out the Heat. Bonner, 34, has seen his playing time and production go down in his 10th NBA season. His regular-season averages for minutes (11.3) and points (3.2) were the lowest of his career, and his 61 games played were the fewest since his first year with the… Read More »

Will Hill needs to leave New York

Will Hill’s release from the New York Giants this week could be a blessing in disguise. When the reigning Super Bowl champions signed him in 2012, he had seemingly turned over a new leaf. The former Florida safety had owned up to his mistakes in college, including a two-game suspension for marijuana and a series of inappropriate tweets from his Twitter account that he initially claimed had been hacked. After going undrafted in 2011 and divorcing from his wife, Hill… Read More »

Reed fully recovered from concussion symptoms

When Jordan Reed was healthy as a rookie last season with the Washington Redskins, he showed his decision to leave Florida early for the NFL had been the right one. He caught 45 passes for 499 yards, second among rookie tight ends, and received All-Rookie honors. All that in just nine games played. Reed missed a total of seven games in 2013, including the final six of the season due to symptoms from the concussion he sustained in Week 11.… Read More »

Haslem helping Heat handle Pacers

Udonis Haslem’s contributions show up not on the stat sheet, but in the win column. The former Gator has played a small but important role in helping the Miami Heat take a 3-1 series lead over the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals. Game 5 is tonight at 8:30 ET on ESPN. Haslem’s points and minutes averaged per game in 2014 are the lowest of his 11-year career, both in the regular season and postseason. This year and his… Read More »

Harvin, Seahawks visit White House

The White House is becoming a second home to Percy Harvin. The former Gator receiver made his third trip there Wednesday as President Barack Obama honored him and the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks. President Obama called Harvin a “breakout star” during his remarks. He returned a kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown and rushed twice for 45 yards in Seattle’s 43-8 win over Denver. Harvin previously visited the White House for Florida’s national titles in 2006 and 2008. He… Read More »

Florida’s third-day draftees sign deals

Florida’s third-day selections in the 2014 NFL Draft have all signed deals with their new teams. Cornerback Jaylen Watkins (Philadelphia Eagles) and offensive lineman Jon Halapio (New England Patriots) put pen to paper Monday. Linebacker Ronald Powell inked his contract Friday with the New Orleans Saints. Watkins on his versatility: “I’m more comfortable at corner, but over the years, I’ve gotten very comfortable at safety and it’s kind of come second-hand. I played it for two years at Florida so it kind of… Read More »

Watkins ready to hear his name called

Jaylen Watkins is ready to see all of his hard work pay off. After months of preparation, the Florida cornerback is spending this week with family and friends back home in Cape Coral to celebrate his selection in the 2014 NFL Draft. But instead of watching Saturday during rounds 4-7, Watkins will be tuning in Friday. Initially projected as a sixth-round pick, he is now expected to go in the third round after strong performances at the Senior Bowl and… Read More »