We have some things to catch up on in the Florida Gators universe. Here is a brief-ish rundown of what has happened this holiday week while we have been eating fruitcake and playing Fortnite, or whatever...
Brady Singer gives parents big gift
Maybe the single coolest gift anyone in the Gator Nation got for Christmas this week was the one that Brady Singer gave his parents.
Today is very special to my heart. To give back to the two people who have given up everything to support my brother and I. I can’t thank them enough. Love you Mom and Dad pic.twitter.com/AFHi2Xma0c— Brady Singer (@Bsinger51) December 25, 2018
And that present is not just Singer using some of his newfound earnings as a first-round pick in the 2018 MLB Draft to pay off his parents debt, but also a son demonstrating his deep love and compassion for people who sacrificed to help him realize his dreams.
Bonus points for Brady cutting off the video above before anyone turned into a true blubbering mass of tears. That will be appreciated in five, 10, and 20 years, when this video gets replayed to remember this moment.
Gators get PE Jordan Retro 4s
Meanwhile, in Atlanta, the Gators of the gridiron were getting slightly smaller, potentially cooler presents on Christmas.
Aside from being cool — which these are, for their target audience, no matter your thoughts on their aesthetics — these shoes are likely to be worth many hundreds if not thousands of dollars, if the resale prices for similar Oregon-branded shoes are any indication. So it should be no surprise that they were coveted enough for Florida State commit (and Florida target) Quashon Fuller and Gators talker extraordinaire Chauncey Gardner-Johnson to have gotten into a squabble about them.
Did you sign with us https://t.co/qSQczIBe6W— Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (@CGJXXIII) December 26, 2018
This ... was an amusing back-and-forth, generally, and one that brought out some of the better and worse aspects of fandom when others jumped in, but it is one that Gardner-Johnson also reached out to squash days later — with what, to me, sounds like a coach-influenced message.
@quashonfuller was jus havin rivalry fun that people took too far. You know where you need to be to win a championship and get J’s.— Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (@CGJXXIII) December 28, 2018
“You know where you need to be to win a championship and get Js” does feel like a line that might have some impact on some folks, though, so kudos to whomever came up with it.
Florida basketball’s Chase Johnson to transfer
Less happy for the Gators, though perhaps less surprising? Redshirt freshman forward Chase Johnson will transfer from the program.
The news was first reported by Jeff Goodman (long of ESPN, now of Stadium), and subsequently confirmed by Florida, with Gators scribe Chris Harry additionally getting quotes from Johnson on Friday morning.
The departure is unsurprising — Johnson had played very sparingly for Florida, making just six appearances over two years while struggling with a variety of injuries — and probably one that works out best for both parties. Johnson leaving gives him a chance at a fresh start with a program where he could crack a rotation as a fresh face instead of fighting an uphill battle to re-establish himself, and also clears a scholarship off the Florida chart going forward that could be better allocated.
I suspect (and hope) Johnson will end up at a mid-major school where he can be a star as a combo forward, and I wish him luck — and health — in his efforts to further his academic and athletic careers.
2021 DE Tyreak Sapp commits to Florida
In news that must remain true for two years to really matter, Florida continued to pour the foundation for fantastic future recruiting classes on Monday, when 2021 defensive end Tyreak Sapp, currently regarded as a top-100 player in that class, committed to Florida.
Blessed beyond measures thanks to my parents and coaches to God be the glory— ⚡️Tyreak Sapp ⚡️ (@SappTyreak) December 24, 2018
Sapp is the fourth such top-100 player to join Florida’s 2021 class, which is currently — in very early days — the No. 1 class in the country for that cycle. (The Gators’ five commits almost match the six teams that have at least a three-star commit for the 2021 cycle, per 247Sports.) And it is a long, long way from December 2018 to December 2020, when the majority of the 2021 class will finally make their commitments binding.
But that start is better than not having such a start, and Sapp hailing from South Florida powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas, a fortress that the Gators have had little luck infiltrating in recent years, is sure to bring plenty of hopeful speculation about Florida once again making it a Gators stronghold in the wake of longtime STA miner Urban Meyer’s retirement.