Gator Football Stars May Miss Opener
The Gator football team may be without receiver Percy Harvin and middle linebacker Brandon Spikes for its Saturday opener against Hawaii. Harvin, who is still battling a right heel injury that required offseason surgery, participated in portions of practice last Friday and Saturday, but the 5-foot-11, 195-pound junior has been unable to go full speed since the second day of fall practice on August 5th. "He still has reaction where once he goes for a little bit he has to watch it because it gets sore on him," says coach Urban Meyer.
The speedy Harvin ran for 764 yards and six touchdowns and caught a team-high 59 passes for 858 yards and four touchdowns last season.
Meyer announced on Monday that Spikes injured his right foot during practice last week. "He's never had a good offseason. He's never had the strength. He's never had the complete commitment to the offseason like he's had," Meyer said. "I think he's ready to take that next step." The 6-foot-3, 245-pound junior was a first-team All-SEC selection last season after finishing second in the league with 131 tackles.
Both players will be re-evaluated later in the week, Meyer said. The Gators are better equipped to handle Harvin's absence. Meyer says senior Louis Murphy, redshirt freshman Deonte Thompson and junior college transfer Carl Moore have had outstanding camps. Junior running back Brandon James, one of the nation's top punt and kick returners, has been working at receiver throughout preseason practice.
Redshirt junior Ryan Stamper (6-2, 232) likely would start in Spikes' place. Stamper has 25 tackles in 15 games. He started at weakside linebacker against Georgia in 2007.
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