When the Florida football team opens Spring practice today, it will be doing so without two key playmakers.
Second-year UF coach Jim McElwain announced Tuesday that sophomore Antonio Callaway and junior Treon Harris will likely be out for the entirety of spring ball, and possibly longer.
They have not been with the team since January and there is no timetable for their return, McElwain said. A team spokesman later confirmed the two have been indefinitely suspended.
"They won’t be with us as we’re rolling, so you won’t see those guys out there at practice," McElwain said. "That’ll be the last that we talk about that."
While their status on the team is clear, what remains hazy is if the suspensions brought upon Callaway and Harris were made by the football program or the university.
UF spokeswoman Janine Sikes confirmed Tuesday that both Harris and Callaway are still enrolled at UF but said the university is prohibited from discussing a student’s academic record, which includes academic or university-sanctioned suspensions.
Sikes added that it is not possible for a student to be simultaneously enrolled and suspended from the university.
"In short, no," Sikes said.
Callaway’s absence can cause trouble for a Florida offense that struggled down the stretch last season.
The speedy 5-foot-11 wide receiver led Florida with 678 receiving yards — a UF true freshman record — and hauled in four touchdowns on 35 catches. He also finished fifth nationally with a 15.54-yard punt return average, with two of his returns going for touchdowns.
And with the Gators’ other top pass-catchers from a year ago in receiver Demarcus Robinson and tight end Jake McGee leaving for the NFL Draft and starter Brandon Powell sidelined for Spring ball, McElwain has limited experience to work with.
UF’s top four remaining receivers from last year — Chris Thompson, Alvin Bailey, Ahmad Fulwood and C.J. Worton — combined for 18 catches, 227 yards and two touchdowns (both by Worton).
UF will also look to junior college transfer Dre Massey and early enrollees Josh Hammond and Freddie Swain to help alleviate the lost production at the receiver position during practice.
"We need some other guys at the wide receiver spot," McElwain said.
Harris started nine games last season, including the final eight after quarterback Will Grier was handed a 12-month suspension for violating the NCAA’s performance-enhancing drug policy.
In those final eight games, the Gators went 4-4 with Harris completing a meager 48.1 percent of his passes for 1,407 yards (175.9 yards/game) with seven touchdowns to six interceptions as the offense fell into a tailspin.
McElwain also did not confirm reports about Harris moving to wide receiver if he were to be reinstated to the team.
"We’ll see," McElwain said. "We’ll talk about it when it happens."
This is Harris’ third suspension since enrolling at UF in 2014.
The first came in October 2014 after being investigated for an alleged sexual assault following the Gators’ 10-9 come-from-behind road win against Tennessee. The complaint was later withdrawn and he was fully reinstated to the school and the football team afterward.
Harris then served a one-game suspension in September, sitting out Florida’s 28-27 win against Tennessee after violating UAA policy.
With Harris out indefinitely and Grier in the process of transferring, UF’s quarterback battle will be between redshirt sophomore Luke Del Rio, Purdue transfer Austin Appleby and true freshmen Feleipe Franks and Kyle Trask.
McElwain said Del Rio, an Oregon State transfer who originally walked on at Alabama, has an early edge against the rest of the field because he’s been with the team prior to this semester, but the competition is open.
"I’m excited to see routes on air," McElwain said. "Obviously we haven’t been able to do that. You can have a ball out there. You just watch them condition."