Florida expects Zuniga to play in Orange Bowl

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Florida defensive lineman Jabari Zuniga (92) plays against Missouri during last year's game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. [Cyndi Chambers/Gainesville Sun Correspondent]

 Senior defensive end Jabari Zuniga, who missed seven games this season with a nagging high ankle sprain, is going to finish his Florida career on the field, playing for the Gators in the Dec. 30 Orange Bowl.

 “He practiced the other day. I expect him out at practice today,” UF coach Dan Mullen said Monday. “We expect him to play and be healthy. He said he feels really good. We expect him to come out and have a big game for us.”

 Zuniga injured his ankle against Kentucky in the third game of the season and never fully recovered until now.

 Outside linebacker Amari Burney also is expected to play against Virginia after missing the last three games with a sprained knee.

 Another injured defensive player will not be playing in the Orange Bowl. Rush end/outside linebacker Jeremiah Moon remains out with an injured foot. He’s missed the last three games.

 Safety Shawn Davis is day-to-day with an injured hamstring.

Mullen says as far as he knows, cornerback CJ Henderson is the only underclassman going pro and skipping the bowl as of now. Others are still waiting for more info and practicing. Mullen said NFL draft grades are pending for five underclassmen, but everyone other than Henderson is planning on playing in the bowl.

“I’ll definitely be playing (in the bowl game),” senior defensive end Jon Greenard said.

Other topics from Mullen’s news conference:

• The UF coaching staff is helping quarterback Feleipe Franks find a landing spot for his final year of college football. Franks, who graduated over the weekend, entered the NCAA transfer portal last month.

• Mullen said the NFL isn’t something he’s really thought of. “I plan on being here for a long time,” Mullen said. “I love being here.

“I know what I have here. I think we’re building a championship program here.”

Mullen said he’s talked to athletic director Scott Stricklin briefly about a contract extension, which should happen after the bowl.

“I feel good about my job security,” Mullen said.

•On scouting Virginia, quarterback Bryce Perkins, “he’s one that really jumps out to you,” Mullen. “They build everything through him.”

Click back for more on today’s media session.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Kudos to Greenard for playing in the Orange Bowl, even though he is a definite first-round pick. Henderson is counting on the signing bonus he will get for being taken in the 3rd round. PS: It won’t be as much as Greenard, or as much if you had played in the OJ bowl.