Gators Could Officially be Without Top Two Offensive Weapons

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    The talk around the Tennessee-Florida game this week has focused around the nine suspended Florida players and whether or not they’ll play. And if Florida head coach Jim McElwain’s comments (or lack thereof) are to be believed, the Gators may be severely shorthanded come Saturday.

    Running back Jordan Scarlett, receiver Rick Wells, receiver Antonio Callaway, offensive lineman Kadeem Telfort, offensive lineman Richerd Desir-Jones, linebacker James Houston, linebacker Ventrell Miller, defensive linemen Jordan Smith, and defensive lineman Keivonnis Davis are all indefinitely suspended. And McElwain had no update on them as of Wednesday, meaning all nine are in very real danger of missing the game against the Vols this Saturday.

    According to Mark Long, a writer for the Associated Press who covers both the Florida Gators and Jacksonville Jaguars, McElwain had no updates on the suspended players as of Wednesday afternoon. McElwain did say that the ongoing investigation was “no concern,” but with no update this late in the week, it appears the players won’t be able to play this weekend even if they’re reinstated later this week because of lack of practice time.

    The nine players have all been suspended indefinitely due to “misuse of school-issued funds” according to a report from Long back in August. ESPN reporter Edward Aschoff would later report that that players made “improper charges on their student IDs at the school bookstore and then sold those items for cash.”

    Florida originally suspended seven players, including Callaway, initially. Then Scarlet and Wells were added later on as the eighth and ninth players to be suspended for the incident.

    Just how important are the nine players who are suspended for the Gators? A couple of them are extremely important pieces to Florida’s offense.

    Scarlett led the team in rushing yards last season, piling up 889 rushing yards and six touchdowns on 179 attempts. Callaway has been a versatile weapon on offense for the Gators the last couple seasons. He was the team’s leading receiver last year with 721 receiving yards and three scores while hauling in 54 receptions. He also added a rushing touchdown on the season. Callaway also has two punt return scores and a kickoff return touchdown in his two seasons.

    Those two are undoubtedly the most important players to Florida’s success among the nine suspended players.

    Davis, a defensive lineman, made five starts last season for Florida, and Desir-Jones played on the offensive line some last year before switching to defensive line this offseason. Miller, Houston, Telfort, and Smith are all freshmen, and Rick Wells is a sophomore who recorded no stats last season.

    It appears highly unlikely that any of the nine suspended Gators will play this Saturday. And if that holds true, Florida will be without two of their top offensive weapons in the game.