Buddy Martin’s Stocking Stuffers:
1. Why do I keep hearing about Percy Harvin sightings on the Florida campus and suggestions that he has been retained in some capacity as a member of Dan Mullen’s staff? Seems to me Percy’s relationship as a player with Mullen’s trusted offensive assistant Billy Gonzalez was anything but stellar. Things can change mightily over a decade, however, and perhaps time has healed all. My sources insist something is going on with Harvin at Florida, but they’re not sure what. Stay tuned.
2. Seems like there has been surprising good news all week in Gainesville when it comes to football. It was an early Christmas for Gator Nation when Mullen pulled off his Recruiting Hail Mary and reeled in his targeted quarterback Emory Jones, followed by the signing of an excellent group of seven more early enrollees that will jump start spring practice to help compensate for the lack of post-season practice. Mullen said he wasn’t certain about Jones’ decision – he’s been around long enough to know better – until the 6-foot-4 prospect reached for the blue cap with the Gator logo. They key was that the Gator coach stayed in “constant contact” with Jones for the final 10 days. When he and two other coaches ate dinner at the Jones’ residence while another group of coaches (FSU) waited their turn outside, Mullen joked they should devour all the chicken wings so there “wouldn’t be any left for that other school.” Indeed, they cleaned the plate in more ways than one.
3. Scott Stricklin’s team and Santa didn’t stop there. A 5-star wide receiver from St. Thomas Aquinas came walking in the door two days later when Ohio State transfer Trevon Grimes, citing health issues with his family in South Florida, chose to become a Gator. The 6-foot-4, 228-pound Grimes has at least three years of eligibility left and most likely will be cleared to play in 2018. Along with Ole Miss transfer Van Jefferson, who caught 91 passes in two seasons, this could give the Gators their first formidable group of receivers since the last time Mullen and Billy Gonzales coached at UF. Especially if former Gator recommit Jacob Copeland, a Top 100 receiver, winds up rejoining the Gators.
4. Actually Grimes was almost a Miami Hurricane. “It was a pretty big decision for me to know that Miami is 30, 40 minutes away from my house, but I also know that my mom always told me, ‘This is about you, and you have to go where you feel comfortable,’” he said.
5. This is a long way from being a revival in Gainesville, but Gator fans are beginning to develop a sense of destiny about how things have come together so seamlessly at such a critical juncture. Landing Emory Jones was the cornerstone. Mullen verified it: “You know, it was kind of — we kept in contact the whole time and said, hey, in the end it’s going to be funny, I bet, how it works out, and it is funny. I mean, that it goes full circle, that we were the first ones to offer him. We were his first scholarship offer, and I told him, I was sitting in the house with he and his mom, and I said, God works in funny ways sometimes, that we were the first and we were the last. It kind of worked out that way, but I think the familiarity we had with each other really made it easy because he knew what he was getting with us and we knew what we were getting with him.”
Happy Days are here again in Hogtown. Yes, it is beginning to look at lot like an Orange & Blue Christmas.