Franz Beard: Thoughts of the Day



For the first 30 minutes of regulation Wednesday night, Ole Miss (14-6, 4-3 SEC) had KeVaughn Allen’s number but as he proved in the final 10 minutes of a game the Gators won in overtime, 90-86, it’s not necessarily how you start but how you finish. In the last 10 minutes of regulation, Allen was perfect at the foul line (6-6), hit a clutch runner in the lane and then made the biggest shot of the game with 2.7 seconds remaining when he drained a 3-ball from right in front of the UF bench to tie the game at 76-76 and send it to overtime.

Allen added four more points in the extra period and made the hustle play of the game when he dived to save the ball from going out of bounds, flipping it back to Kevarrius Hayes to give the Gators a critical possession. Allen finished the game with 21 points and 5 assists, his ninth game scoring in double figures.

Allen wasn’t the only hero for the Gators. Freshman Keyontae Johnson, who had a career-high 15 points to go with 6 rebounds and 2 assists, carried UF in the first half. In the second half, freshman Noah Locke came alive with four of his 3-pointers and in overtime, Locke had a 3-pointer and two clutch free throws with 11 seconds left. Locke finished the game with 22 points, hitting 6-11 from the 3-point line. Freshman Andrew Nembhard had 12 points, 6 assists and 4 steals while Hayes had 9 points, 8 rebounds and a blocked shot.

Next up for the Gators is 7th-ranked Kentucky (17-3, 6-1 SEC) on Saturday.


Florida’s 2007 recruiting class that included six with a 5-star rating and 12 with a 4-star, ranked #1 nationally but it wasn’t the 5-stars that were the difference-makers. The two that made the biggest impact were the Pouncey Twins, 4-star Maurkice and 3-star Mike, who were among seven Lakeland High kids who signed with UF. The Pounceys not only anchored Florida’s O-line on the 2008 national championship run, but by signing with the Gators, they probably put an end to Bobby Bowden’s run at FSU. The Pounceys were thought to be locks for FSU until an early June encounter in Tallahassee when Bowden couldn’t remember their names. That same afternoon the twins drove to Gainesville and committed to Urban Meyer and the Gators. For the next three years, with Maurkice and Mike anchoring the UF O-line, the Gators went 35-6. Florida State went 16-16 and was beset by serious problems on its offensive line.

Here is a rundown of Florida’s 2007 recruiting class, which ranks among the two or three best in UF history.

THE MVP: Maurkice Pouncey



STARTED AS TRUE FRESHMEN (5): Maurkice Pouncey, Mike Pouncey, Major Wright, Joe Haden, Chas Henry,

STARTING BY 2008 (9): Maurkice Pouncey, Mike Pouncey, Ahmad Black, Chris Rainey, Joe Haden, Aaron Hernandez, Major Wright, Carlos Dunlap, Justin Trattou, Chas Henry

STARTED AT LEAST TWO YEARS (12): Maurkice Pouncey, Mike Pouncey, Ahmad Black, Chris Rainey, Joe Haden, Aaron Hernandez, Major Wright, John Brantley, Jaye Howard, Deonte Thompson, Jaye Howard, Justin Trattou

FIRST OR SECOND TEAM ALL-AMERICA (7): Maurkice Pouncey, Mike Pouncey, Ahmad Black, Joe Haden, Aaron Hernandez, Carlos Dunlap, Chas Henry

FIRST OR SECOND TEAM ALL-SEC (8): Maurkice Pouncey, Mike Pouncey, Ahmad Black, Chris Rainey, Joe Haden, Chas Henry, Carlos Dunlap, Aaron Hernandez

EARLY ENTRY NFL DRAFT (5): Maurkice Pouncey, Joe Haden, Aaron Hernandez, Carlos Dunlap. Major Wright

DRAFTED OR FREE AGENT CONTRACTS (11): Maurkice Pouncey, Mike Pouncey, Joe Haden, Ahmad Black, Chris Rainey, Aaron Hernandez, Major Wright, Carlos Dunlap, Justin Trattou, Jaye Howard, Chas Henry

MEDICAL HARDSHIPS (2): Steve Wilks, Paul Wilson

TRANSFERRED OUT/DISMISSED FROM THE TEAM (7): Cam Newton, John Brown, Torrey Davis, Jerimy Finch, Bo Williams, Bryan Waggener, John Jones


AHMAD BLACK, S: One of the Lakeland seven, Black was wasted at corner in 2007. When he was shifted to safety as a sophomore, he became one of the best back end defenders in college football. His interception in the fourth quarter of the 2008 national championship game saved the day for the Gators. He had 7 interceptions including a pair of pick-sixes in 2008 and finished his career with 244 tackles, 13 interceptions and 3 pick-sixes. All-SEC and All-America in 2010. Drafted by the Tampa Bay Bucs.

JOHN BRANTLEY, QB: The Gatorade National Player of the Year out of high school, Brantley was a 5-star recruit who took a redshirt in 2007, then served as Tim Tebow’s backup in 2008-09. He started every game in 2010 and 11 of Florida’s 13 games in 2011. For his career he had 4,750 passing yards for 30 touchdowns, completing 61.7% of his throws.

JOHN BROWN, DT: A 4-star talent who dominated at the high school level, he was a partial qualifier who didn’t play as a freshman and redshirted. He didn’t have his academics in order in year two and then transferred to juco. He never played Division I football.

TORREY DAVIS, DT: You almost forget that Davis had only 15 tackles and 2 sacks in two years at Florida because of those two brilliant tackles he made during a goal line stand for the Gators against Oklahoma in the 2008 national championship game. Davis was a 5-star recruit out of Armwood who just never got it together at UF. He transferred after his sophomore year to Jacksonville State.

CARLOS DUNLAP, DE: Getting Dunlap out of South Carolina was a real recruiting coup for Meyer. A 5-star recruit, Dunlap was a contributor from day one. He blossomed as a pass rusher in his sophomore and junior years. A first team All-SEC selection in 2009, Dunlap finished his UF career with 84 tackles, 26 tackles for loss, 19.5 sacks and 4 blocked kicks. Dunlap left school early for the NFL and was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals.

LORENZO EDWARDS, LB: Great things were expected out of Edwards when he came to UF as a 4-star recruit from Orlando Edgewater. He had a good 2008 as a backup when he was in on 27 tackles, but his career flatlined after that and he finished as a backup with 57 total tackles for four years.

JERIMY FINCH, S: He converted from safety to linebacker during his freshman year then broke his leg in the third game of the season. The former 4-star recruit out of Indianapolis then transferred back home to Indiana.

JOE HADEN, ATH: Haden was an early enrollee who came to UF as 4-star QB/athlete but Tebow was already here and UF also recruited John Brantley and Cam Newton. He looked at wide receiver and the Gators had Percy Harvin. So he went over to defense and started all 40 games he suited up for the Gators. He finished with 218 tackles, 34 pass breakups, 8 interceptions and 3.5 sacks. He was All-SEC once and All-America as a junior. Drafted in the first round by the Cleveland Browns.

CHAS HENRY, P: Henry won the Ray Guy Award as the nation’s top punter in 2010 when he was a first team All-American. He averaged 43.0 per put for his career and his 165 punts were returned for only 230 total yards. Whenever he went out on the field to punt, Urban Meyer would tell Henry, “Make it wet!” because Henry had such hang time. He was also 7-11 on field goal attempts, kicking the game-winner against Georgia in 2010. Signed a free agent deal with the Philadelphia Eagles.

AARON HERNANDEZ, TE: His life tragically ended in suicide in a Massachusetts prison where he was serving a life sentence for murder. Autopsy showed he had one of the worst cases ever recorded of CTE. He won the Mackey Award as the nation’s top tight end in 2009. In his three-year Florida career, Hernandez had 111 catches for 1,382 yards and 12 touchdowns. He left early for the NFL in 2009 and was drafted by the New England Patriots.

BRANDON HICKS, LB: Hicks was always solid although not a star. He had 14 starts in his career with 117 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss and 9 quarterback sacks.

JAYE HOWARD, DE: After a redshirt freshman season, Howard went on to start 25 games in his career with 131 tackles, 25.5 tackles for loss, 11 sacks and 3 fumble recoveries. Drafted by the Seattle Seahawks.

MOSES JENKINS, CB: Jenkins was a backup who appeared in 42 games in his career, finishing with 40 tackles and an interception.

JOHN JONES, LB: Jones played mostly on special teams as a freshman and again in 2008, but decided to transfer out in search of more playing time in the spring of 2009. He had 28 career tackles.

DUKE LEMMENS, DE: Recruited out of California, Lemmens got 14 starts in his career. He played in 45 games including 11 as a true freshman and had 66 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss and 5 sacks in his career.

CAM NEWTON, QB: Newton makes Gator fans think what might have been if he hadn’t gotten into academic trouble in 2008 and then compounded it by buying a stolen computer. He left UF at midyear for Blinn College, which he led to the national juco championship in 2009. He went on to win the 2010 Heisman Trophy while leading Auburn to an undefeated national championship.

MAURKICE POUNCEY, OL: As a true freshman out of Lakeland, Maurkice started at left guard in 2007 and then started every game at center in 2008-09. He won the Rimington Award as the nation’s top center in 2009. First team All-SEC in 2008-09, he was first team All-American in 2009. He left school early and was drafted in the first round by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

MIKE POUNCEY, OL: As a true freshman out of Lakeland, he moved over to nose tackle to help a beleaguered defensive line in 2007. Back on offense, he started every game at left guard in 2008-09 and then moved to center in 2010. First team All-SEC in 2009, he was second team All-SEC as a center in 2010. He was a first team All-American in 2009. He was drafted in the first round by the Miami Dolphins.

CHRIS RAINEY, RB: A 4-star recruit from Lakeland, Rainey committed early to Urban Meyer and then was instrumental in landing the Pouncey Twins and Ahmad Black. During his career, Rainey ran for 2,464 yards and 13 touchdowns, caught 69 passes for 795 yards and six TDs plus tied the SEC record by blocking six punts. He got a national championship ring for both football and track. Drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

DEONTE THOMPSON, WR: Thompson was a 5-star recruit out of Belle Glade who had a good but not great career at UF. He finished his four years at Florida with 101 catches for 1,446 yards and 9 touchdowns. Signed a free agent deal with the Baltimore Ravens.

JUSTIN TRATTOU, DE: A 4-star recruit out of New Jersey, Trattou was in the D-line rotation as a true freshman and ended up starting 31 games in his Florida career. He finished his UF career with 121 tackles, 26 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks and three interceptions. Signed a free agent contract with the New York Giants.

BRYAN WAGGENER, QB: Waggner was a juco transfer who was experienced insurance for Tim Tebow in 2007. He transferred to Division II Northern Colorado.

STEVE WILKS, LB: One of the Lakeland seven, Wilks started his career as a linebacker then moved to fullback. He played in 14 games but had to retire after his redshirt junior season with a neck injury.

BO WILLIAMS, RB: Williams was a 4-star recruit. After a redshirt year in 2007, Willliams transferred to Iowa State.

JAMES WILSON, OG: A 5-star recruit out of Nease, Wilson battled injuries in his UF career but still played in 50 games with 14 starts.

PAUL WILSON, WR: A gifted pass catcher from Lakeland, Wilson never caught a pass at UF. He broke his foot in 2007, then broke the same foot again in 2008, which forced him to retire from football. He played on UF’s baseball team in 2009.

MAJOR WRIGHT, S: Maybe the play that best defines Wright’s Florida career came on the third play from scrimmage in the 2008 national championship game against Oklahoma. Sam Bradford went deep down the left sideline to Manny Johnson. Ball and Mr. Wright arrived at the same time. Manny Johnson still hears the footsteps. OU didn’t really go deep again the whole game. During his career, Wright had 165 tackles with 8 interceptions, 10 pass breakups and 4 forced fumbles. Drafted by the Chicago Bears.


Wednesday’s scores
FLORIDA (12-8, 4-3 SEC) 90, Ole Miss (14-6, 4-3 SEC) 86 (OT)
Auburn (14-6, 3-4 SEC) 92, Missouri (10-9, 1-6 SEC) 58
LSU (17-3, 7-0 SEC) 72, Texas A&M (8-11, 1-6 SEC)

Saturday’s games
#7 Kentucky (17-3, 6-1 SEC) at FLORIDA (12-8, 4-3 SEC)
#1 Tennessee (19-1, 7-0 SEC) at Texas A&M (8-11, 1-6 SEC)
Arkansas (12-8, 4-3 SEC) at #19 LSU (17-3, 7-0 SEC)
#22 Mississippi State (15-5, 3-4 SEC) at Ole Miss (14-6, 4-3 SEC)
South Carolina (10-10, 5-2 SEC) at Georgia (10-10, 1-6 SEC)
Alabama (13-7, 4-3 SEC) at Auburn (14-6, 3-4 SEC)
Vanderbilt (9-11, 0-7 SEC) at Missouri (10-9, 1-6 SEC)

RANDOM THOUGHTS: Oklahoma extended Lincoln Riley’s contract and gave him a raise to $6 million a year … Mike Leach agreed to a contract extension that will keep him at Washington State until 2023 … Major Applewhite, who was Nick Saban’s first offensive coordinator back in 2007, has interviewed for an analyst job. Applewhite was fired from the HBC job at Houston after the 2018 season … Sal Sunseri will be coaching with both his sons at Alabama. Vinnie is a grad assistant and son Tino is leaving Tennessee, where he was a quality control analyst, for an analyst job at Bama … And more Alabama coaching news. Former Oklahoma defensive coordinator and Arizona HBC Mike Stoops is expected to join the Alabama staff in an off-the-field role … NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said that the league will discuss changes to its replay. I’m sure the New Orleans Saints will send him Christmas cards for that gesture … Maryland’s investigation into the football program that cost HBC DJ Durkin his job, set the school back $1.57 million … The U.S. Department of Education says Michigan State demonstrated a lack of institutional control in the way it handled sexual assault allegations against former team doctor Larry Nassar. The school could face severe financial penalties and a loss of federal financial aid.