While spring classes at the University of Florida may have wrapped up several weeks ago, Gators athletics certainly did not.
Nine of UF’s 19 varsity programs are still in season over the next month and a half, with many having accomplished some noteworthy feats since the Alligator took a break from publishing at the end of April.
To catch up on what’s happened with Gators sports while we’ve been away, here’s a full summer break roundup detailing everything that’s gone down in the Swamp.
Eight Gators Selected in the NFL Draft
Following a difficult senior season cut short by a severe ankle injury, Jarrad Davis can now say that it was all worth it.
The former Florida linebacker was picked 21st overall in the NFL Draft on April 27 by the Detroit Lions, living out a moment that was nothing less than a dream come true.
Davis, who finished his career at UF with 205 tackles and 5.5 sacks, was overcome with emotion the night of his selection, stating he was simply honored to be one of the 253 players to have their name called in Philadelphia.
“Honestly, I’ve been watching the draft since I was … it’s been a long time, man,” Davis said. “Just being able to see it every year and just sit at home and watch it and be able to really accept the moment for what it is… it’s really special.”
Seven more former Gators were chosen in the final six rounds of the draft, with safety Marcus Maye going to the New York Jets, cornerback Quincy Wilson going to Indianapolis, cornerback Jalen Tabor joining Davis in Detroit, linebacker Alex Anzalone going to New Orleans, offensive tackle David Sharpe going to Oakland, defensive tackle Caleb Brantley going to Cleveland and defensive tackle Joey Ivie going to Dallas.
Baseball and Softball Gearing up for Postseason Play
Florida’s baseball and softball teams both appear to be headed for another deep playoff run this June.
Kevin O’Sullivan and his players have strung together a season-high nine consecutive victories dating back to April 21, sweeping Georgia and Ole Miss the past two weekends to outscore its opponents 61-34 over that stretch.
The No. 7 Gators (35-13, 16-8 SEC) recent play has also been enough to propel them into first place in the SEC East standings, giving third baseman Jonathan India confidence in his team moving forward.
“We’ve always been that team, we haven’t clicked yet,” he said. “Now, we’re clicking.”
Florida has seven games left on its schedule before traveling to Hoover, Alabama, for the SEC Tournament on May 23.
The Gators will face USF at 6:30 p.m. tonight at McKethan Stadium.
On the other hand, UF’s softball team concluded its regular season on Sunday with a pair of victories over North Texas and Florida A&M.
The Gators won the double-header by a combined score of 15-1 and enter postseason play with a whopping 50-5 record.
Starting pitcher Kelly Barnhill finished her sophomore campaign with 22 wins and one loss while sporting a 0.33 ERA. Offensively, junior first baseman Kayli Kvistad led all hitters with a .390 batting average.
However, with the SEC Tournament set to begin later this week, head coach Tim Walton was quick to caution his team that what it did in the regular season is now in the past.
“It’s a fresh slate,” Walton said. “We have zero wins and zero losses, and now it’s time to go out there and compete. Nobody cares about your stats; it’s about the W’s now.”
Playing as the No. 1 seed in the tournament, Florida will face the winner of a first-round matchup between Ole Miss and Mississippi State on Thursday at 2:30 p.m.
Lacrosse, Women’s Golf Win Conference Championships
UF’s lacrosse and women’s golf teams made headlines over the past couple weeks as well, with both programs capturing league titles.
Senior attacker Mollie Stevens led the Gators to an 18-12 victory over the Denver Pioneers in the Big East Tournament Final on Saturday, earning Florida its fifth overall conference championship under coach Amanda O’Leary.
Stevens notched a team-high five goals, two assists and six draw controls in the outing and tied the Big East record with 10 goals in a single tournament.
“Today was a battle,” O’Leary said following the victory. “I couldn’t be more proud of how this team came out from the opening draw and never let up.”
Florida’s lacrosse team now moves on to the NCAA Championship, where it will face either USC or Jacksonville in the second round on Sunday.
For women’s golf, the program won its first SEC title since 2008 on April 23 after posting a conference postseason record 22 under par.
Kelly Grassel had an impressive final round with eight birdies to finish in third place on the individual leaderboard, while Maria Torres finished in fourth place hitting seven under par.
“The girls played fantastic,” coach Emily Glaser said after the victory. “Today, we were able to put the pedal down after sleeping on the lead, which is hard to do. I was just really impressed with how they managed themselves."
Florida is now in the middle of the NCAA Regional Championships, where it posted the top score among the 18 teams competing on day one of the three day event.
Articles posted to FloridaGators.com contributed to this story.
Dylan Dixon is the sports editor. Follow him on Twitter @dylanrdixon and contact him at email@example.com.
Former UF linebacker Jarrad Davis poses with his parents, Amy and John Davis, at a Detroit Lions press conference on April 28, 2017, in Allen Park, Michigan. Davis was selected 21st overall by the Lions in the 2017 NFL Draft.