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 Draft Scout College Football Player News: Florida
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  Graham Mertz is entering the transfer portal after spending the last three seasons as Wisconsin's starting quarterback. Mertz announced Sunday on social media he was entering the portal "in pursuit of my next opportunity." His move comes one week after Wisconsin hired former Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell to head its program. "I am grateful for my time as a Badger," Mertz said in his post. "My time in Madison has taught me lessons that go far beyond the football field." Mertz arrived at Wisconsin as the nation's No. 65 overall prospect in his class, according to composite rankings of recruiting sites compiled by 247Sports.

He was the Badgers' first top-100 247Sports Composite signee who didn't play on the offensive line since 2007, when they got running back John Clay. Mertz went 20 of 21 and threw five touchdown passes to help Wisconsin beat Illinois 45-7 in his first career start, setting a school single-game record for single-game completion percentage and tying the school single-game record for touchdown passes. But he struggled with consistency the rest of his time with the Badgers. Wisconsin had a different offensive coordinator each of his three seasons as a starter. Mertz has completed 59.5% of his career passes for 5,405 yards with 38 touchdowns and 26 interceptions. He completed 57.3% of his attempts for 2,136 yards with 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions this season. - AP College Football


rJr/2024 QB Graham MertzFlorida
News Source: AP College Football
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  Florida Gators wide receiver Justin Shorter announced on social media on Thursday that he will skip the bowl game to prepare for the upcoming NFL Draft. A transfer from Penn State, Shorter finished the 2022 season second on the Gators in receiving yardage with 29 catches for 577 yards and 2 TDs. He caught two long passes for touchdowns from quarterback Anthony Richardson - a 75-yard bomb against Eastern Washington and a 51-yard bomb against LSU. Shorter missed three of Florida's final four games with a hamstring injury. He finished his Florida career with 95 catches for 1,395 yards and 8 TDs. Shorter will take part in the East-West Shrine game, a showcase event for NFL-bound college players. Florida will be down two key receivers, Shorter and Daejon Reynolds, for the bowl game. Reynolds announced Wednesday he is putting his name in the transfer portal. - Gainesville Sun

rSr/2023 WR Justin ShorterFlorida
News Source: Gainesville Sun
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  Florida backup quarterback Jalen Kitna was dismissed from the team Friday, sources confirmed to ESPN, following his arrest this week on child pornography charges. Kitna is facing two counts of distribution of child exploitation material and three counts of possession of child pornography. Two of the five charges, which still need to be formalized by the state attorney's office, are second-degree felonies that could result in a prison term of up to 15 years and a fine of up to $10,000. The other three are third-degree felonies.

Kitna was released from jail on $80,000 bond Thursday, with the conditions of his release including an order not to have any unsupervised contact with minors and not to have any internet access. His parents, Jon and Jennifer Kitna, promised Judge Meshon Rawls that they would supervise their 19-year-old son at home in Burleson, Texas. Jon Kitna, who played 14 seasons in the NFL, serves as a high school coach in Burleson. A redshirt freshman, Jalen Kitna appeared in four games for the Gators this season, completing 10 of 14 passes for 181 yards and a touchdown. Florida suspended Kitna indefinitely immediately following his arrest Wednesday. - ESPN.com and online sources


rFr/2026 QB Jalen KitnaFlorida
News Source: ESPN.com and online sources
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  Florida backup quarterback Jalen Kitna, the son of retired NFL quarterback Jon Kitna, was arrested Wednesday and charged with two counts of distribution of child exploitation material and three counts of possession of child pornography. Gainesville police said the 19-year-old Kitna shared the images via a social media platform. Kitna was booked in the Alachua County Jail, where he was awaiting a first appearance before a judge on Thursday morning. It was not immediately known if he had an attorney who could comment on his behalf. The Gators suspended Kitna indefinitely about an hour after his arrest. Gainesville police announced the charges in a news release and said the investigation was initiated when the department received a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The tip indicated that a Discord user distributed an image of child sexual abuse material through its chat platform. - AP College Football

rFr/2026 QB Jalen KitnaFlorida
News Source: AP College Football
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  Graham Mertz scored on a 2-yard quarterback sneak with 35 seconds left to complete Wisconsin's comeback from an 11-point deficit entering the fourth quarter, and the Badgers beat Nebraska 15-14 Saturday for their ninth straight win in the series. The Badgers earned their grinding victory on a raw afternoon at Memorial Stadium after losing their top defensive player, Nick Herbig, to a targeting penalty in the third quarter and its top offensive player, Braelon Allen, to a leg injury on their second-to-last possession. Wisconsin (6-5, 4-4 Big Ten) became bowl-eligible for a 21st straight year and kept the Freedom Trophy, which has been awarded to the winner since 2014. Nebraska (3-8, 2-6) lost its fifth straight.

Mertz's 10-yard TD pass to Skyler Bell cut Nebraska's lead to 14-9 early in the fourth quarter. Mertz was off target with his 2-point pass, leaving the Badgers down five with 10 minutes left. Wisconsin started its final drive from midfield with 3:11 left. Mertz passed to Isaac Guerendo for 27 yards to set up a first-and-goal at the 7, and three plays later Mertz crashed over the goal line for the Badgers' first lead. Nebraska's Casey Thompson, who missed the previous two games with an elbow nerve injury, threw two touchdown passes to Trey Palmer and finished 12 of 20 for 106 yards. Thompson was the Huskers' leading rusher, picking up 33 yards on 11 carries. Chez Mellusi led the Badgers with 98 yards on 21 carries. Mertz was 8 of 18 for 83 yards on a day when the feels-like temperature was 16 degrees with a gusty north wind. Herbig, the Big Ten sacks leader, was ejected for targeting when he hit a sliding Thompson in the head. By rule, Herbig must miss the first half of next week's rivalry game against Minnesota. - Wisconsin/AP College Football


rJr/2024 QB Graham MertzFlorida
News Source: Wisconsin/AP College Football
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  NOV 14 SEC CO-OFFENSIVE LINEMAN OF THE WEEK: O'Cyrus Torrence, OG, Florida,...The Gators totaled their most rushing yards (374) in an SEC game in over a decade - since running for 405 yards vs. Kentucky on Sept. 24, 2011. This is Florida's third-highest rushing total in an SEC game since 1996. Florida turned in its first 300-yard rushing performance of the season, rushing for 6.9 yards per carry. The Gators' 6.1 yards per carry this season ranks second in the FBS and is on track to set a school record. Florida's 225.7 rushing yards per game ranks 12th in the FBS. - SEC Football

Jr/2023 SS *Rashad Torrence IIFlorida
News Source: SEC Football
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  NOV 14 SEC FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK: Trevor Etienne, RB, Florida,...Career-high 100 yards on the ground, first 100 yard game of his career. Etienne's 85-yard TD rush was the seventh-longest TD rush in school history, and the longest by a Florida player since Lamical Perine's 88-yard TD run vs. Auburn in 2019. Etienne's big score is tied for the eight-longest TD rush in the FBS this season. It marked the second-longest TD run by a Florida freshman in school history (John L. Williams, 86 yards vs. West Texas State, 1982). Etienne's 85-yard TD was Florida's second-longest TD run since 1988 - when Emmitt Smith ripped off a 96-yard TD (longest in school history) vs. Mississippi State. - SEC Football

Fr/2026 RB Trevor EtienneFlorida
News Source: SEC Football
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  Montrell Johnson Jr. ran for a career-high 161 yards and a touchdown, Anthony Richardson accounted for three scores in what might have been his final home game at Florida and the Gators steamrolled South Carolina 38-6 on Saturday. Florida (6-4, 3-4 Southeastern Conference) avenged an ugly loss to the Gamecocks last season, won consecutive league games for the first time in nearly two years and became bowl eligible in coach Billy Napier's first season. The Gators dominated from the start, scoring on their first four drives and leading 24-0 before South Carolina (6-4, 3-4) crossed midfield. Richardson opened the drubbing with a 3-yard run and doubled the lead with a 15-yard strike to Ricky Pearsall. Freshman Trevor Etienne had the play of the game: an 85-yard TD run that made it 21-0 late in the first quarter.

South Carolina's third quarter was somehow worse than its first. Coach Shane Beamer's team fumbled three times in its first four snaps out of the locker room, gift-wrapping three short fields for Florida that resulted in a missed field goal, a touchdown and a turnover on downs. Florida's defense played its best game of the season, with the highlight coming when 415-pound defensive tackle Desmond Watson ripped the ball out of Jaheim Bell's arms and rambled 8 yards the other way. Watson was so tired that he barely celebrated when he reached teammates eagerly awaiting his arrival on the sideline. Nonetheless, it was just the start of an hours-long party for the Gators, who finished with 374 yards rushing. Richardson completed 11 of 23 passes for 112 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for 96 yards and a score. Etienne finished with 100 yards on the ground. At one point, Florida had three guys with at least 100 yards rushing - a feat last accomplished by the Gators in 1984. But Richardson lost 6 yards on a sack in the fourth before heading to the bench. Little went right for South Carolina, which played without running back MarShawn Lloyd (thigh bruise). - AP College Football


So/2025 RB Montrell Johnson Jr.Florida
News Source: AP College Football
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  NOV 7 SEC OFFENSIVE LINEMAN OF THE WEEK: O'Cyrus Torrence, OG, Florida,...Anchored an offensive line that blocks for 5.9 yards per carry which ranks third in the FBS and is on track to tie the school record set in 2008...Florida averaged 5.8 YPC against Texas A&M, rushing a season-high 50 times for 291 yards...The Gators eclipsed 400 yards for the fourth time this season including the third time in the last six games. Florida amassed 400-plus total yards for the 21st time in its last 32 games including 34 of the last 51 contests...The Gators have rushed for 100-plus yards in 11-straight games including all nine games so far this season, and have now rushed for 100-plus yards in 20 of their last 22 games. Florida has rushed for 100-plus yards in 49 of its last 60 games...With just one sack allowed at Texas A&M, Florida posted its eighth game with one sack or fewer surrendered in nine contests this season...Florida has allowed only nine sacks in 2022, which is tied for 18th-fewest in the FBS (t-third in the SEC). - SEC Football

Sr/2023 OG OCyrus TorrenceFlorida
News Source: SEC Football
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  Anthony Richardson threw for 201 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 78 yards and two scores as Florida snapped its two-game losing streak with a 41-24 win over Texas A&M on Saturday. Richardson had touchdown runs of 10 and 60 yards in the first quarter and connected with Ja'Quavion Fraziars and Caleb Douglas on touchdown passes of 19 and 12 yards, respectively, in the third quarter as the Gators (5-4, 2-4 Southeastern Conference) opened up a 34-24 lead. Montrell Johnson Jr. rushed 22 times for 100 yards and a touchdown, Trevor Etienne rushed for 80 yards on 17 carries, and Ricky Pearsall had three catches for 65 yards as the Gators racked up 492 yards, including 291 rushing yards.

Devon Achane rushed for 122 yards and two touchdowns and caught another score for the Aggies (3-6, 1-5), who went into halftime up 24-20. Achane had rushing touchdowns of 5 and 2 yards and caught a 5-yard touchdown pass from Haynes King, who started in place of Conner Weigman. King, who was making his fifth start of the season, finished 23 of 45 for 279 yards and a touchdown. Evan Stewart had eight catches for 120 yards, and Moose Muhammad III caught seven passes for 99 yards. Texas A&M lost its fifth straight, the longest losing streak for the Aggies since 1980. - Florida/AP College Football


rSo/2023 QB *Anthony RichardsonFlorida
News Source: Florida/AP College Football
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  Florida has dismissed pass rusher Brenton Cox for what coach Billy Napier called "more of a cumulative effect here." Cox, a fifth-year junior and one of the team's best defenders, is expected to turn pro and enter the NFL draft. The Stockbridge, Georgia native has 41 tackles, including 9 1/2 for loss and four sacks. He also leads the Gators with 19 quarterback hurries. "We've kind of decided to move on here," Napier said Monday. "I think that being a football player at the University of Florida is a privilege. There's certain expectations and standards that come with that. Obviously, he's done a lot of good things for the University of Florida and we wish him nothing but the best. "But sometimes you have to make decisions in the best interest of the team and certainly Brenton, we're going to do everything we can do to help him with his transition. But as simple as that, we've decided to move on." A five-star recruit coming out of high school, Cox transferred to Florida from Georgia during the 2019 season. He was a three-year starter for Florida, leading the team in sacks (8 1/2) and tackles for a loss (14 1/2) in 2021.

Napier declined to provide details regarding what prompted his decision, saying "we'll keep that in house." He also would not say if Cox would be welcomed back for the school's Pro Day next spring, when players with pro aspirations get to work out for NFL teams. "Cross that bridge when we get there," Napier said. Napier said he was unaware that Cox appeared to throw a punch in the fourth quarter of Florida's 42-20 loss to Georgia on Saturday. Replays show Cox turning and swinging at Bulldogs left tackle Broderick Jones after Jones blocked Cox during Kenny McIntosh's 4-yard touchdown run. Dismissing Cox surprised teammates and could have long-term effects on a program Napier has been charged with getting back to Southeastern Conference and national prominence. "It definitely sends a strong message throughout the locker room," cornerback Jaydon Hill said. Florida (4-4, 1-4 SEC), which has lost 12 of its last 15 league games, plays at Texas A&M (3-5, 1-4) on Saturday. - AP College Football


rSr/2023 OLB Brenton Cox Jr.Florida
News Source: AP College Football
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  OCT 10 SEC DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Jaydon Hill, CB, Florida,...In his second game back from injury, Jaydon Hill recorded two interceptions, including a 49-yard interception return touchdown in the first quarter and an interception to halt Missouri's drive deep in Florida territory...They were Hill's first-career interceptions and first-career touchdown...Hill is the first Florida player with two interceptions and a pick-six in the same game since CJ Gardner-Johnson vs. Michigan in the Peach Bowl on Dec. 29, 2018...Hill's first interception represented Florida's longest pick-six since Ventrell Miller's 82-yard interception return touchdown vs. Idaho on Nov. 17, 2018. - SEC Football

rSo/2025 CB Jaydon HillFlorida
News Source: SEC Football
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  Graham Mertz threw for a career-high 299 yards and matched one with five touchdowns, Chimere Dike set personal bests with 185 yards receiving and three TD catches, and Wisconsin dominated in interim coach Jim Leonhard’s first game, pounding struggling Northwestern 42-7 on Saturday. Braelon Allen added 135 yards rushing. He also threw a 23-yard touchdown late in the second quarter, and the Badgers (3-3, 1-2 Big Ten) raced out to a 28-0 halftime lead on the way to an easy win in their first game since coach Paul Chryst was fired. Wisconsin decided to make a leadership change following losses to Ohio State and Illinois, led by former coach Bret Bielema, by a combined 55 points. Chryst was let go in his eighth season and replaced by Leonhard, a former All-America safety in his sixth year as defensive coordinator and seventh on staff at his alma mater. Mertz completed 20 of 29 passes.

Dike had touchdown catches of 52 and 21 yards in the first half as well as a 6-yarder in the fourth quarter. He caught 10 passes and easily surpassed his previous high of 106 yards. Wisconsin racked up 515 yards in all and finished with 193 on the ground after being held to 2 yards rushing on 24 carries for its lowest total since 2015. Northwestern (1-5, 1-2) lost its fifth straight since opening with a win over Nebraska in Ireland. The Wildcats are 6-16 since beating Wisconsin at home in 2020 on the way to winning the Big Ten West. Ryan Hilinski threw for 147 yards and was intercepted twice. - Wisconsin/AP College Football


rJr/2024 QB Graham MertzFlorida
News Source: Wisconsin/AP College Football
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  Jaydon Hill intercepted two passes, including one he returned 49 yards for a touchdown, and Florida held on to beat Missouri 24-17 on Saturday to end a six-game skid in Southeastern Conference play. Hill's pick-6 was among a bevy of big plays that gave the Gators (4-2, 1-2 SEC) their first league victory in a year. His second interception ended a third-quarter drive that had reached Florida's 16-yard line. It was a breakout performance for Hill, a third-year sophomore who was playing his second game since returning from a knee injury that wiped out his 2021 season. Hill had been a projected starter this past spring but needed arthroscopic surgery in the summer after tweaking the same knee again. Hill's play against the Tigers (2-4, 0-3) also backed up his comments earlier this week when he said Missouri is "just not supposed to" beat Florida.

Of course, it happened five times in the previous 10 meetings. The Gators, who entered the game as 10 1/2-point favorites according to FanDuel Sportsbook, looked like they might be in trouble again after gaining just 65 yards in the first half. But coach Billy Napier turned to the ground game in the second half, getting long runs from Montrell Johnson (36, 41), Trevor Etienne (39) and Anthony Richardson (32) to find the end zone. The Gators finished with 231 yards rushing, including 212 in the second half. Johnson led the way with 86 yards and a touchdown. Still, it was Florida's defense that clinched the game. The Gators stopped a fourth-and-2 play with 1:17 remaining to put the Tigers away. Richardson completed 8 of 14 passes for 66 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. It was his fifth straight game with at least one turnover. He also ran for 45 yards. Brady Cook was 22-of-30 passing for 220 yards for Missouri. Nathaniel Peat ran for 117 yards and a score. - Florida/AP College Football


rSo/2025 CB Jaydon HillFlorida
News Source: Florida/AP College Football
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  Anthony Richardson threw for 240 yards and two touchdowns, a top-level NFL prospect who looked comfortable playing on a Sunday, and Florida handled lower-division Eastern Washington 52-17 in a game delayed a day by Hurricane Ian. The Gators (3-2) scored touchdowns on their first five possessions while having their way with the Eagles (1-3). Richardson's first throw was a 75-yard TD pass to Justin Shorter. His first run went for 45 yards and set up another score. He briefly left the game in the first half to get his right ankle tapped but later returned and was done for the day early in the third quarter. He completed 8 of 10 passes, with an interception on a deep ball to open the second half.

Receiver Ricky Pearsall added a 76-yard TD run, and Jalen Kitna, the son of retired NFL quarterback Jon Kitna, notched his first career TD pass. The Gators amassed 529 yards on just 35 plays through three quarters. They emptied the bench after scoring 52 consecutive points to erase a 3-0 deficit. Eastern Washington will get $750,000 for the cross-country trip, a significant payday for a team from the Football Championship Subdivision whose annual athletics budget is about $17.5 million. The game between Florida and former Florida coach Jim McElwain's alma mater was initially set for 2020 but was bumped because of COVID-19 scheduling. It landed on the schedule for Saturday but got pushed a day as Ian tore through the Sunshine State. The game served as Florida's last tie to McElwain, who spent 15 years in Cheney, Washington, as a player and then an assistant coach. McElwain's brief tenure in Florida - he was fired late in his third season — ended up costing the Gators roughly $27.5 million. Gunner Talkington led the Eagles with 250 yards passing and a touchdown. - Florida/AP College Football


rSo/2023 QB *Anthony RichardsonFlorida
News Source: Florida/AP College Football
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