Update: Florida coach Jim McElwain confirmed Wednesday afternoon that cornerback Jalen Tabor and quarterback Treon Harris will not play for the Gators against Tennessee on Saturday, but was dodgy about the exact terminology for their suspensions.
McElwain says CB Jalen Tablor and QB Treon Harris "won’t be with us this week."— Scott Carter (@GatorsScott) September 23, 2015
McElwain announced CB Jalen Tabor & QB Treon Harris suspended for violation of team rules. #Gators— Chris Harry (@GatorsChris) September 23, 2015
McElwain on suspended players: "Based on some choices they made." #Gators— Chris Harry (@GatorsChris) September 23, 2015
McElwain also confirms Harris and Tabor will serve one-game suspensions. "They'll be back next week."— Zach Abolverdi (@ZachAbolverdi) September 23, 2015
The evasiveness of McElwain's answer may suggest that these are suspensions handed down by the university, rather than by McElwain himself; certainly, defined lengths of suspensions suggests that Harris and Tabor will be serving suspensions consistent with second violations of Florida's drug testing policy.
There was "good" news from McElwain's press conference for Florida, however: Defensive end Alex McCalister is not suspended for Saturday's game, with McElwain merely providing an injury update on the redshirt junior. Graham Hall of The Alligator, who reported McCalister would be suspended, has apologized for his report.
Original story follows...
Florida cornerback Jalen Tabor has been suspended for the Gators' Saturday clash with Tennessee, according to a report from Scout's Bob Redman.
Sources have confirmed that sophomore cornerback Jalen Tabor is suspended for the game versus Tennessee on Saturday. The University was not willing to confirm or deny this.
While we have not confirmed why he will not play, the Gators will go without the starter in the secondary, a unit that has been missing pieces almost the entire season.
Rumors of suspensions — for Tabor, Treon Harris, and Alex McCalister — floated around the Internet on Wednesday afternoon, but Redman's report was the first concrete reporting on the topic.
Graham Hall of The Alligator got confirmation on Tabor's suspension, as well.
Source close to team told me the Gators were told "Jalen made his choice, won't be with team Saturday." Heard nothing on Treon/McCalister.— Graham Hall (@Graham311) September 23, 2015
Shortly after the initial reports, Mike Huguenin of Gridiron Now reported that Tabor and Harris would be suspended "for a violation of university policy" — terminology Florida used in announcing the suspensions of McCalister, Marcus Maye, and Latroy Pittman in August.
In addition, a source indicated to Alligator Army that Tabor and Harris would be suspended for Saturday's game.
And Hall further reported that McCalister will miss Saturday's game for "unspecified reasons."
I've been told Alex McCalister will also miss Saturday's game against the #Vols for unspecified reasons. Was also suspended for the opener.— Graham Hall (@Graham311) September 23, 2015
No other outlet has reported McCalister's suspension.
Earlier this season, McCalister and Maye served one-game suspensions that would be consistent with a second violation of Florida's drug testing policy, while Pittman served a two-game suspension consistent with a third violation of the policy.
Neither Tabor nor Harris has previously been suspended by Florida for a violation of University Athletic Association drug policy, and so both would likely face just one-game suspensions if that is the reason for their suspension. (Harris was suspended for five days in October 2014 after a sexual battery complaint was made against him, but reinstated once the complaint was withdrawn.) McCalister would likely face a two-game suspension, if his suspensions have been for similar violations.
Tabor was previously cited for marijuana possession in May 2014, and was a passenger in a car driven by Harris when Harris was cited for driving without a license in December 2014. In the latter incident, marijuana was found in the car, though not on the person of Tabor, Harris, or third passenger J.C. Jackson.
If the reports are accurate, Tabor would be missing his first game as a Gator. The sophomore played in all 12 games of his true freshman season, starting five, and has played in all three games of his sophomore season, starting Florida's games against New Mexico State and East Carolina. Tabor also returned an interception for a touchdown against East Carolina earlier this season, and memorably forced a fumble on a sack of Justin Worley in Florida's 10-9 win over Tennessee in 2014.
Tabor's absence is likely to result in Florida playing corners Vernon Hargreaves III and Quincy Wilson almost exclusively in outside positions against Tennessee. Wilson made his first start of 2015 against Kentucky, and sealed the game with an interception.
Harris did not play in Florida's win over Kentucky, but split time with Will Grier at quarterback in Florida's first two games, completing 19 of 27 passes for 269 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for another 55 yards. Without Harris, Florida's lone scholarship quarterback behind Grier is graduate transfer Josh Grady, who has as many catches as pass attempts (one of each) in 2015.
McCalister had a quiet night against East Carolina, but played a key role against Kentucky, finishing with four tackles and two sacks. His absence will likely mean more snaps for Bryan Cox, Jr. at Florida's RUSH position, and might force freshman Cece Jefferson into a similar role.