Since rumors surfaced in July that Gators running back Jeff Demps might forgo his senior football season to focus, coach Will Muschamp has said the track standout was committed to both sports.
They met after Demps’ trip to Italy with the U.S. National Team in July, reiterating the speedster’s commitment to football.
But on the team media day on Friday, Demps said it was a difficult decision although not as close as it was made to seem. Demps was always on the team but just competing in track events.
“Yeah, there was some doubt about coming back. I was definitely focusing on track. I was just feeling like if I just focus on track, I could drop my times,” said Demps, a past 100-meter NCAA outdoor champion and two-time defending NCAA champion in the 60 meters.
“It was just so many different things, talking to my parents, coaches both track and football, just being around the guys, praying about it, I just decided to come back being my last year.”
Some other notes from media day:
Gators enter camp with few injuries
UF heads into camp with most of its roster healthy. Running back Mack Brown has been cleared after having surgery in the spring for a broken fibula. Tackle Matt Patchan is also cleared after missing all of last season with a wrist injury that required two surgeries.
Guard William Steinmann suffered a mensicus tear but will be cleared for contact on Aug. 15. Long snapper Chris Guido had hernia surgery but is cleared for everything but contact.
Four receive medical hardship waivers
Brown, receiver Quinton Dunbar, safety Josh Shaw and offensive lineman Ian Silberman all learned Friday that they received medical waivers for last season, making them redshirt freshmen this season instead of sophomores.
Brown and Dunbar each played in two games but struggled with a hamstring injuries. Shaw appeared in one game before suffering a knee injury.
Kicker Caleb Sturgis to graduate
UF kicker Caleb Sturgis is one of 17 UF athletes who will graduate on Saturday. The redshirt junior carried a 3.3 GPA in his sports management major, coach Will Muschamp said. It wasn’t asked, but presumably Sturgis gets a pass on attending the first day of practice.
Also of note at graduation, former DT Terron Sanders will receive his degree. So will former swimmer Ryan Lochte, who won five golds at the FINA World Championships in Shanghai, China last week. Volleyball standout Callie Rivers will also graduate.
Gators running split practice
Florida’s first two practices will run with the veterans practicing in the morning and the freshmen in the afternoon until Monday, when the team will practice together for the first time. Muschamp said this would better ease the Gators’ rookies into what’s expected of them.
“They get an opportunity to see the installation and watch the practice film, but they cannot go on the practice field,” said Muschamp. “They watch the film of the practice and understand a little bit more about the tempo and what’s expected.”
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