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Florida’s Van Jefferson gets SEC clearance to play in 2018

Finally free.

NCAA Football: Mississippi at Louisiana State Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The SEC has granted Florida Gators wide receiver Van Jefferson a waiver clearing him to play for the Gators in 2018 after an offseason transfer from Ole Miss, Florida announced Monday.

Jefferson transferred to Florida from Ole Miss after the Rebels fired Hugh Freeze for misconduct, self-imposed a postseason ban for recruiting violations committed under Freeze, and then struggled in 2017, and was expected to be ultimately cleared to play as long ago as when he transferred. But Jefferson’s process moved far more slowly than many of his fellow former Rebels, and though he had already been cleared by the NCAA to play right away, with Florida announcing that news two weeks ago, he was still waiting to hear affirmatively from the SEC.

Now, with the SEC’s long-expected sign-off, Jefferson is poised to be a major contributor to Florida’s passing game.

Jefferson appeared to all the world to be Florida’s No. 1 receiver in the Gators’ spring game, and has reportedly continued to impress in fall practices, soldifying his chances of starting in (and leading) a receiver corps deeper on potential than production.

And if Jefferson can get good quarterback play from Feleipe Franks, Kyle Trask, and/or Emory Jones, he has the sort of talent for getting open and hauling in throws to challenge the 1,000-yard mark in a particularly good season, and should be considered the favorite to be Florida’s leading receiver.