UF football notebook: Harvin, Patchan are progressing

University of Florida's injured Percy Harvin spins a ball while watching spring practice.

Brandon Kruse/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Friday, May 23, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, May 22, 2008 at 9:11 p.m.

TAMPA Less than two months after undergoing surgery on his heel, Florida wide receiver Percy Harvin is already running again. Well, sort of.

He's started running in a pool, which is a very good sign, UF coach Urban Meyer said before Thursday night's Gator Gathering at the Grand Hyatt.

"It's real positive right now," Meyer said. "I just talked to (strength and conditioning coach) Mickey Marotti five minutes ago and Percy is almost 200 pounds. He's 199. His attitude is terrific.

"He's real strong right now. He didn't go home for the break (after the spring semester). He stayed and rehabilitated. He's doing very well. He's ahead of schedule."

Harvin underwent surgery in early April to alleviate a painful heel problem. The original prognosis was he could be back to full speed in eight weeks and would be 100 percent for the start of two-a-days in early August. Now, it appears he might be full go before the end of July.

Meyer said Harvin is putting in the work.

"He's a junior now," Meyer said. "He's always been a guy who loves to play the game of football. He's a very competitive guy that when it doesn't go right, that's his biggest issue.

"He's got to learn to fight through it. He's had some injuries. A lot of times race-horse athletes that deal with those injuries, it's tough. I'm hoping this is it. He's preparing himself. So much of having a great year is preparation. So far, he's doing everything we've asked."

There's also positive news on the rehab of true freshman defensive end Matt Patchan, who was shot in the shoulder two weeks ago at a park in Brandon, near his hometown of Seffner. Meyer said the bullet was removed from the soft tissue area during a brief surgical procedure at Shands three days later and that Patchan is now participating in all the team's offseason workouts and conditioning drills.

"He's full speed ahead. He's going," Meyer said. "It took a 15-minute procedure (to remove the bullet). He's as tough as nails. I love Matt. I love his family and what he stands for. You recruit as many Matt Patchans as you can because he truly loves football.

"He works extremely hard in the weight room and training room."

Meyer said Patchan was very fortunate that he wasn't more seriously hurt in the incident, which the Hillsborough County Sherriff's Office continues to investigate.

"His father called me to tell me," Meyer said. "The first thing you worry about is health and what the heck happened.

"Then after I got the story and met with him and his family, and talked to Dr. Pete (Indelicato), they told me those are nothing to joke around about. It's a very serious injury, but it happened to be perfect where it was at and they got it out and he's fine and ready to go."

Wilson return possible

Although offensive lineman Ronnie Wilson is no longer part of the football program, he has stayed in school at UF on his own dime and there's a chance he could reappear in August as a walk-on if he meets certain criteria between now and then.

"I don't know (if it will happen)," Meyer said. "He's been in school. One thing that we've always done is give a guy a chance if he's not on scholarship and has nothing to do with the football program. I've done that with other people who are currently on the team that the media doesn't even know about.

"I take your scholarship and you're done, get the heck out of here. If you can get yourself right and everything else, I'll evaluate that at the right time with the leadership team. The right time is not now. (Defensive coordinator) Charlie Strong is dealing with him right now."

Wilson was suspended from school for a year last spring when he was placed on two years' probation after reaching a plea agreement with the State Attorney's Office. Wilson was facing two misdemeanor charges, one for firing a rifle over someone's head to scare him during an altercation. Wilson also was charged with battery.

Wilson had hoped to try and return to the football team this summer, but was dismissed again for violating a team and university rule earlier in the year.

There also has been speculation on the Internet that troubled outside linebacker Jonathan Demps also might have an opportunity to rejoin his former teammates. Meyer said there is no chance it will happen.

"From what I know, Demps is not in school," Meyer said. "(Demps and Wilson) certainly are not part of the program. They have nothing to do with the football team."

Davis on the academic bubble

Meyer said true sophomore Torrey Davis is the only player the Gators are concerned about academically heading into the season. Meyer said Davis must do well in the classroom this summer to be eligible in the fall.

"Academically, everybody is in good shape," Meyer said. "The only one is Torrey Davis. He's the only one we're still waiting on. I think he'll make it. He has to do well in summer school."

Summer baseball for Cooper

Junior wide receiver Riley Cooper, who is playing in the outfield for the Florida baseball team, will play in a summer baseball league after UF's season ends. Meyer said he's fine with that.

"Baseball is helping him," Meyer said. "He's going to play summer baseball, probably in Virginia. That was part of the deal when we recruited him. He's a guy that could have a future in baseball or football.

"His biggest issue is dealing with injuries. He's been hurt since he's been here. I'm just hoping he gets healthy. He doesn't handle adversity real well, but he's a junior and he's learning to deal with it."

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