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Thursday, November 30, 2023

Freshman Cameron Newton will play backup to starting quarterback Tim Tebow this season, Coach Urban Meyer announced Saturday morning.

Newton was in a battle with freshman John Brantley for the spot, but Meyer said Newton?s time during spring practice gave him the edge to claim the role.

Meyer said the Gators aren't planning to redshirt Brantley, but if Newton is successful, it's likely that Brantley will redshirt.

Still, Meyer insisted that Brantley will not be forgotten about, and UF already has plans in mind for the freshman's future.

"We're preparing him to be a starting quarterback at Florida," Meyer said. "We don't just say you're redshirting. I know some people might want to hear that, but he's got to be ready to play, as well. We won?t play Johnny in a mop up role."

Junior college transfer Bryan Waggener was also in contention but dropped out of the running last week. Meyer said Waggener will still be out for three to four more weeks with an injured meniscus.

CAPTAINS NAMED: Offensive tackle Phil Trautwein, center Drew Miller, wide receiver Andre Caldwell, defensive end Derrick Harvey and safety Tony Joiner will act as the Gators' captains this year, Meyer said.

The team voted Thursday, and Caldwell received the most votes.

"That tells you how far he's come, and I'm awful proud of those guys," Meyer said. "Well deserved. Great mix of offense, defense … I'm excited about those guys."

ETC: True freshman Joe Haden will be starting at corner Saturday:

Meyer said Haden secured the role because of his quickness and competitive nature.

Meanwhile, defensive tackle John Brown is still waiting word about his academic eligibility from the NCAA Clearinghouse, but Meyer said Brown isn?t ready to play anyway.

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"He didn't go through the summer training program at all," Meyer said. "Nowadays in college football you can?t do that, so even if he gets cleared, he won?t play next week."

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