Notebook: Haden granted release from UF
Published: Monday, August 16, 2010 at 11:21 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, August 16, 2010 at 4:49 p.m.
True freshman strong safety Jordan Haden has asked for and been given his release Monday by the Florida coaching staff.
"The football staff met with him," team spokesman Steve McClain said. "He's a great kid, comes from a great family and the football staff obviously wishes him nothing but the best."
McClain said no restrictions will be put on what schools Haden, the younger brother of All-American cornerback Joe Haden, can transfer to.
Joe Haden Sr. told the Miami Herald on Monday that there were "no hard feelings" toward Florida.
"Florida is a great program and we love them," Haden Sr. told The Herald. "It just wasn't the best fit for Jordan.''
Haden, who committed to Florida in April of 2009, was rated the 12th-best safety in the country by Rivals.com. He enrolled at Florida in January and participated in spring practice.
At Florida's Media Day last week, Haden, from Fort Washington, Md., told reporters that while he was happy in Gainesville, he missed his family.
"Being away from my family is tough," he said. "A lot of the people on the team came from Florida, so they can drive home on the weekends and see their family. I really want to go home sometimes on the weekend and see my family, but a 12- or 13-hour trip, you just can't do that."
Haden was behind senior Ahmad Black and fellow newcomer Matt Elam on the depth chart.
Junior safety Will Hill said he didn't know the last time he saw Haden practice with the team and didn't know what was going on with his situation.
Senior safety Ahmad Black shrugged off questions when asked if he had contact with Haden recently. He wouldn't go into much detail about his feelings about Haden's decision.
"I can't address that one right now," Black said. "I got nothing to do with that decision. I just wish him the best."
Haden is the second player to transfer this summer and fourth this year. Redshirt sophomore T.J. Lawrence was granted his release in early August and is transferring to Florida A&M because of playing time issues at UF. Linebacker Brendan Beal and cornerback Adrian Bushell both requested and were granted their releases in May.
Rainey good to go
Slot receiver/tailback Chris Rainey practiced at full speed Monday and there are no lingering issues with his health, running backs coach Stan Drayton said. Rainey missed practice last week after being diagnosed with an accelerated heart rate.
"He is back full strength," Drayton said. "He had fresh legs out there. He looked great. He's 100 percent ready to go. There are no concerns whatsoever (with his health)."
After a bout of dehydration during Friday's practice, senior linebacker Brandon Hicks was back at practice Monday.
"He's good to go," linebackers/special teams coach D.J. Durkin said.
Though he practiced Monday, senior linebacker Lorenzo Edwards said Hicks was kept at Shands hospital overnight before rejoining the team.
"It's always scary, but what you have to do is you have to learn from it," Edwards said. "We all have to hydrate. We all have to take care of ourselves. We're glad to have him back today."
Gillislee lights it up
Drayton said one of the offensive stars of Saturday's scrimmage was sophomore tailback Mike Gillislee, who is making a strong push for significant playing time.
"He had a phenomenal scrimmage," Drayton said. "He toughed it out, played through some injuries. He made plays. He had some explosive plays down the sideline in the run game. He protected in the pass game.
"I'm really excited about where Gilly is at this point. (The light) is definitely coming on for him. He's feeling it. He knows he's being counted on to play for us. He's ready to go. He's getting himself ready to play a game."
Drayton said true freshman tailback Mack Brown isn't game ready yet, but that his upside is considerable.
"His potential is phenomenal," Drayton said. "But he's still playing slow because he's thinking a lot. We threw a whole big playbook at him in a week. He's sitting there trying to assess all that, then execute the play.
"He's playing slow, but the ability is there. When we are able to just give him something he knows, you see the flash of a great talent. That will all come in time."
Stripes going fast
Quarterback Trey Burton and defensive linemen Shariff Floyd and Dominique Easley were the last to lose their helmet stripes, defensive line coach/associate head coach Dan McCarney said. Burton lost his Monday, while Floyd and Easley lost theirs Sunday night.
Safety Matt Elam and receiver Quinton Dunbar also lost their stripes last weekend, according to reports.
Junior running back Jeff Demps (also a UF track star) said he's developed a friendship with American sprinter Tyson Gay, who recently ran the fastest 100 meters of the year at 9.78. Though they're friends, there's not much advice shared. "(Gay) doesn't give me any feedback," Demps said. "He probably looks at me as competition." ... Redshirt junior defensive lineman Jaye Howard said he's become the bench press champion of the team, repping a team-high 425 pounds.
Staff writer Robbie Andreu contributed to this report.
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