5 Gators prepare for Senior Bowl

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Florida's Lamical Perine catches a pass as the South squad practices for the Senior Bowl Thursday in Mobile, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

MOBILE, Ala. – Five former Florida football players will suit up in front of National Football League personnel on Saturday for the Senior Bowl. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. from Ladd-Peebles Stadium and will air on NFL Network.

The Gators will be represented by Tyrie Cleveland, Jon Greenard, Van Jefferson, Lamical Perine and Jabari Zuniga. The five participants rank second to Michigan at the 71st all-star game.

Cleveland suited up in 46 games for the Gators throughout his four-year career, hauling in 79 passes for 1,271 yards and eight touchdowns. During his senior campaign, the 6-2 wideout caught a career-best 25 passes for 351 yards and a score. Cleveland also returned 10 kicks for 242 yards in two seasons as a returner.

In his lone season with the Gators, Greenard made an immediate impact. The transfer from Louisville led the Southeastern Conference in both sacks (9.5) and tackles for loss (15.5) in 12 games played. The first-team All-SEC selection also registered 52 tackles, three forced fumbles, eight quarterback hurries, an interception and a fumble recovery that he returned 80 yards for a touchdown.

Jefferson led the Gators in 2019 with 657 receiving yards while adding 49 catches and six touchdowns. In his four seasons, including two and Ole Miss, the Brentwood, Tenn., native caught 175 passes for 2,159 yards and 16 scores. In two seasons with the Gators, Jefferson hauled in 84 passes for 1,160 yards and 12 touchdowns. While at the Senior Bowl, Jefferson was voted the South’s team Offensive Practice Player of the Week for the wide receiver position group.

Perine proved to be a versatile back for the Gators over his four years. In 50 games played, Perine rushed for 2,485 yards on 493 carries (5.0 avg.) and found the endzone 22 times on the ground. In the passing game, the 5-11 back recorded 72 receptions for 674 yards and eight touchdowns. In 2019, the Mobile, Ala., native rushed for 676 yards and six touchdowns while catching a career-best 40 passes for 262 yards and five scores. Perine capped off his stellar career with three touchdowns and a career-high 138 rushing yards en route to Orange Bowl MVP honors.

Zuniga appeared in six contests (5 starts), tallying 14 defensive stops (7 solo), 7.0 tackles for loss (32 yds.) and 3.0 sacks for 20 yards in 2019. The 6-4 defensive lineman finished his collegiate career with 118 tackles (54 solo), 34.5 tackles for loss and 18.5 sacks in 42 game appearances.

South squad Offensive Practice Players of the Week (voted on by the position group they competed against in practice): QB: Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma; RB: La’Mical Perine, Florida; WR: Van Jefferson, Florida TE: Jared Pinkney, Vanderbilt OL: Lloyd Cushenberry, LSU

The Senior Bowl is the nation’s most unique football game and football’s premier senior showcase event. It annually features the country’s best senior collegiate football players and top NFL draft prospects on teams representing the North and South that are coached by the entire coaching staff of two National Football League teams.

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