Merry Christmas! Gifts for the Gator Nation

Dec 25, 2019 | 0 comments

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Christmas is a time for giving, so it’s only fitting that we do our best Santa Claus impersonation and hand out some gifts to Gator Nation. Some of these items are somewhat likely to happen, while others might take a Christmas Miracle. But that’s besides the point for now. On Christmas, anything is possible.

Here are our 2019 holiday gifts to the Gator Nation.

To former Gators quarterback Feleipe Franks, we gift a speedy recover and a perfect transfer destination. Despite his rollercoaster career and all of the criticism he received, he conducted himself about as well as could be expected and emerged as a strong leader for this team. He was UF’s best quarterback this decade. His love for the Gators is obvious, and his departure seemed to pain him. He’s a good guy who most fans likely want to see have success at his next stop. He’s exploring entering the draft, but his most likely path forward is as a graduate transfer. He only has one year of eligibility remaining, so finding the right fit is crucial. He needs to play in an offense that likes to utilize a lot of quick throws and doesn’t expect much running from the quarterback. With this gift, Franks will follow fellow UF transfers Jacoby Brissett, Jeff Driskel and Will Grier to the NFL.

To Gator Great Tim Tebow, we gift 100 points to his triple-A batting average. Tebow batted just .163 in 77 games for the Syracuse Mets with four home runs. His fans want nothing more than to see him make it to the big leagues and become one of the few athletes to ever play in both the NFL and MLB. For him to become more than a clever minor league marketing technique, he needs to hit at least 100 points better. With this gift, Tebow will get called up next season.

We give running backs coach Greg Knox a running back signee. Literally anyone. Florida missed out on Trey Sanders in the 2019 class. No big deal; they’ve got Demarkcus Bowman and Keyvone Lee locked up in the 2020 class, right? Well, not exactly. Bowman committed to Clemson early in the summer and never wavered. The Gators never showed consistent interest in Lee. OK, they’ll just have to settle for E.J. Smith, the son of Gators legend Emmitt Smith. Unfortunately, the idea of following in his dad’s enormous footsteps never seemed to appeal much to Smith, and he signed with Stanford. Other running back prospects that UF was linked to at one point include Michael Drennen, Jaylon Knighton and Jo’Quavious Marks. Instead, Knox enters the new year without a running back commit, much to the frustration of Gator fans. Some fans have even used the term “Knoxing” to describe his poor recruiting. With our gift of a running back, the fans will back off of him a little bit and the Gators will maintain their depth at the position.

To the 2020 Florida offense we gift the return of receivers Kadarius Toney and Trevon Grimes. During his Early Signing Day press conference Dan Mullen shared that he doesn’t expect any further attrition from draft eligible juniors. However, actually having the due announce their decision to return would bring a big sigh of relief from the Gator Nation, and go a long way toward stabilizing a wide receiver group that is already losing four top performers to graduation.

To defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, we gift that Brenton Cox will be as effective coming from the transfer portal as Jonathan Greenard was this season. Greenard is one of the best transfers in school history, as he led the SEC with 8.5 sacks despite a nagging ankle injury that limited him for about a month. With him leaving after the Orange Bowl, Grantham could really use Cox, a Georgia transfer, to be just as dominant next season. The former five-star recruit probably has better physical traits than Greenard, but he needs to earn playing time at UF’s deepest position. With Cox contending for a double-digit sack season, the Gators will once again rank near the top of the country in sacks in 2020.

We gift head coach Dan Mullen a powerful and dominant offensive line. Ideally, he wants to run a read-option-based, run-first offense. Because of struggles on the offensive line, he basically had to switch to a modified version of the air raid this season. They enrolled five offensive linemen in the 2019 class and signed four more last week. Help is on the way, but they need them to develop quickly. Thanks to our gift, Mullen will be able to lean more on the running game and transform his offense from good to great.

To wide receivers coach Billy Gonzales, we gift top-60 prospect Xzavier Henderson. Despite Florida having one of its best passing attacks of the century, Gonzales hasn’t been able to take advantage on the recruiting trail, signing only Jaquavion Fraziars and Texas transfer Jordan Pouncey in the early signing period. They seemed like a lock to sign Sam Brown, but West Virginia swooped in out of nowhere and stole him. As with Knox, fans are running out of patience with Gonzales. All will be forgiven if he lands Henderson. The brother of CJ Henderson is scheduled to announce his college choice at the All-American Bowl on Jan. 4, with Clemson being the huge favorite. Our gift will provide redemption for Gonzales.

To UF’s entire defense, we gift consistency. Statistically, they’ve been one of the best defenses in the country under Grantham. However, they’ve had a pair of games in each season where they’ve struggled tremendously. In 2018, it was Kentucky and Missouri. This season, it was LSU and Georgia. By putting together a complete season in 2020, the Gators will emerge as championship contenders.

To Florida basketball coach Mike White we gift at the very least a Sweet 16 run in the Big Dance. By signing highly sought after high school prospects and gaining high profile transfers comes high expectations. To which at this point the basketball program has yet to come close to achieving. White’s seat isn’t hot, certainly no where near hot enough to roast chestnuts, but if he continues to under perform with his most talented roster to date, it might start getting a bit warm. 

We gift top-60 recruit Avantae Williams to safeties coach Ron English. Unlike Knox and Gonzales, English has hauled in a nice group of safeties in Mordecai McDaniel, Rashad Torrence II and Tre’Vez Johnson. However, Williams recently decommitted from Oregon and is there for the taking. It’s time to get greedy. With our gift of Williams, English will shed his label as the weakest link on the coaching staff and the Gators will be loaded at safety for years to come.

Lastly, to Gator fans, we gift a blowout victory in the Orange Bowl. Between the disappointments of the early signing day and the basketball team, there’s been a lot of negativity surrounding the Gators on message boards and social media in recent weeks. By soundly defeating Virginia, Gator Nation will have something to celebrate and be optimistic about once again.

Merry Christmas, Gator Nation!


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