Seven Florida Gators players will miss Florida’s season opener against Charleston Southern on Saturday, the program announced on Saturday. Nick de la Torre of Gator Country reported the news prior to the program’s confirmation; both de la Torre’s report and Scott Carter’s confirmation of it include a source saying the players are suspended for “not living up to the Gator standard.”
(I’ll let you guess what sort of source might repeat the same phrase Dan Mullen has repeated for months while revealing suspensions to the media.)
Senior pass-rusher CeCe Jefferson — who attended SEC Media Days as part of Florida’s traveling party this summer — is perhaps the biggest name of the players suspended, with sophomore wide receiver Kadarius Toney serving as the biggest name among offensive players. They are joined in purgatory by sophomore defensive tackle Kyree Campbell, redshirt junior defensive lineman Luke Ancrum, sophomore cornerback Brian Edwards, sophomore running back Adarius Lemons, and walk-on freshman wideout James Washington.
But while Ancrum, Campbell, and Toney were all part of the well-publicized summer encounter between Florida players and locals including a man familiarly known as “Tay Bang” — Ancrum was named by “Tay Bang” as an instigator of a simmering feud between players and local, Campbell and Toney both brandished AirSoft guns in the encounter, and Toney later being stopped by Gainesville police with an AR-15 in his car — Edwards, Jefferson, Lemons, and Washington were not known to have had any run-ins with law enforcement or other rule-breaking.
So Jacqui Franculli of Gators Territory reporting that, yes, Campbell and Toney’s suspensions are related to that, but that Jefferson’s is related to academics? That makes sense.
It would also make sense if any or all of these suspensions related to Florida’s drug-use policies, as many Gators have served season-opening suspensions for violations of that policy. But this round of announced suspensions does not feature any explanatory verbiage about Florida players being suspended “due to University of Florida policy,” long understood as code for violations of the program’s drug-use policies.
Then again, that code was largely not in use during Mullen’s first stint in Gainesville as offensive coordinator under Urban Meyer, as Meyer often held players out of games without explicitly addressing their suspensions.
Campbell, Edwards, Jefferson, Lemons, and Toney all appeared on Florida’s depth chart for this week, but none was listed as a starter.