Dickey pursues baseball at expense of football


Published: Thursday, January 12, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 12, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.
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UF's starting left fielder Gavin Dickey has announced that he will focus on the baseball team and quit the football team.

MICHAEL C. WEIMAR/The Gainesville Sun

Facts

General stats

  • CLASS: Junior
  • MAJOR: Sociology
  • HOMETOWN/HIGH SCHOOL: Tallahassee/Lincoln
  • HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 5-11/203

  • Those endless days and sore spring nights are over for Gavin Dickey. The two-sport University of Florida player has decided to drop football and concentrate on his first love, baseball, this spring.
    "I just decided it would be best if I just focus on one sport," Dickey said Wednesday in the UF baseball offices. "The (football) coaches said I could be 100 percent baseball now, and I'm looking forward to that. I haven't had the opportunity, yet. I'm looking forward to the strides I can make this season."
    The past two springs, Dickey juggled both sports, often going from a football practice or scrimmage straight to a baseball game. He said the physical toll, especially last season when he was UF's starting left fielder, was enormous.
    "It was crazy, just physically on the body," said Dickey, who has two years of baseball eligibility remaining. "It tears you down. We played 70 something games (in baseball last season). There was a point where my body was getting worn down and my recovery time (was slow). I'd just feel really sore the next day and through the weekend. I'd be fresh on Friday and on Saturday, and Sunday I was beat."
    Dickey's departure from the football team leaves the Gators with only two scholarship quarterbacks this spring - rising senior Chris Leak and true freshman Tim Tebow, who started classes Monday. Former quarterback Cornelius Ingram is expected to remain at his new position (receiver/tight end). Dickey has not ruled out the possibility of returning to football in the fall, but that seems unlikely.
    Dickey will be eligible for the Major League Baseball draft after the upcoming season and probably will pursue a professional baseball career if he is drafted.
    "Everybody's goal is to go play pro ball," Dickey said. "If the timing is right, that would be an ideal situation. But I'm not really looking forward to individual goals. As a team, I want to come back and try to get back to Omaha (Neb., and the College World Series). That experience last year was just amazing."
    Dickey said he and his family discussed his situation after the Outback Bowl, and they agreed it would be best if he gave up football to focus on baseball. Dickey said football coach Urban Meyer understood his decision.
    "Coach Meyer understood fully," Dickey said. "The coaches said I grasped everything that we were trying to do offensively (during preparation for the Outback Bowl, where Dickey was the No. 2 quarterback). I picked everything up.
    "They know I could adjust over there really easily if I come back. They told me they back me 100 percent."
    Dickey was moved from quarterback to wide receiver during two-a-days last August and saw limited playing time this past season.
    "I'm very thankful for Coach Meyer," he said. "He gave me the opportunity to actually play in some games in The Swamp. That's something I can tell my kids, something I'll remember forever. I've thanked him many times for letting me be a part of the new tradition they're going to build over there. I'm sure it's going to be a successful season for them in 2006."
    Dickey said he feels he's already reached his potential in football, but not in baseball.
    "I've invested hours and hours (in football), and I may have reached my peak in that sport," he said. "With baseball, I feel the ceiling is higher, and I have a lot more room to grow."
    Dickey will remain on football scholarship through the spring and summer. If he decides to return for his senior season in football and baseball, Dickey said he might have to make other financial arrangements.
    "I would have to sit down with both coaches and discuss that," he said.
    You can reach Robbie Andreu at andreur@gvillesun.com.

    Baseball stats

  • POSITION: Starter in left field
  • THROWS/PITCHES: Right/right
  • EXPERIENCE: Two letters
  • STATS: .292 batting average with 20 RBIs, nine doubles and three home runs in 2005

    Football stats

  • POSITION: Backup quarterback
  • EXPERIENCE: Two letters
  • STATS: In two seasons, completed 11 of 15 passes for 127 yards with one touchdown and one interception
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