What has seemed like an endless search may finally be over. It appears the Florida Gators have found two new playmakers at wide receiver.
At least it appears that way based on the early spring performances of Van Jefferson and Trevon Grimes.
Big, fast and athletic, the two transfers have been standing out on the practice field, getting open and making plays down the field, some deep down the field.
The only question now is when will they be able to unleash their playmaking ability in an actual game?
Will it be this fall? Or will they have to wait until the fall of 2019?
That will ultimately be determined by the NCAA.
As transfers, Jefferson and Grimes would normally have to sit out a year before becoming eligible. But both are seeking a waiver from the NCAA seeking instant eligibility, citing special circumstances.
Jefferson transferred to UF from Ole Miss after Hugh Freeze was fired and the Rebels were placed on NCAA probation. When he signed with Ole Miss, he had been reassured by Freeze that the school would not be going on probation.
Grimes left Ohio State for Florida to be closer to his mother, who lives in Fort Lauderdale and is dealing with a health issue.
Jefferson has yet to petition the NCAA.
“I have not turned it in yet,” he said Thursday. “I need to. We’re going to talk to compliance and everything like that and get those things done and go from there.”
It is uncertain whether Grimes has turned in paperwork to the NCAA, either. But according to UF, both players are currently going through the process.
What is certain, is the uncertainty surrounding their situation apparently has not impacted their performances on the practice field.
“Van Jefferson and Tre Grimes, they’re catching on pretty fast and really exerting the energy in every play,” sophomore slot receiver Kadarius Toney said. “(Jefferson) is a great player. I look up to him. I like the way he runs his routes, the way he separates and stuff like that.
“He’s just an overall great player. I’m looking forward to see him this season.”
Jefferson is new to Florida, but not to the SEC, where he already is a proven playmaker with 91 receptions for 999 yards and four touchdowns in his two seasons at Ole Miss.
He already appears comfortable in a new offense, and does not seem distracted by the uncertainty of his eligibility.
“I just take it one day at a time,” Jefferson said. “That process is ongoing, so you never really know which way that’s going to go. Hopefully, it goes my way. That’s all in God’s hands. I’m just enjoying being here and getting to know these guys, just being here at Florida.
“I did some great things at Ole Miss, had a lot of great moments, but that’s in the past. I’ve got to go to work here, work with these guys and get better with them. I’m looking forward to it.”
Grimes also seems comfortable. He should be.
He had UF in his top three coming out of Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas and had been on campus and around the program multiple times. And, at Ohio State, where he played as a true freshman last season, he was in an Urban Meyer offense that is basically the same as Mullen’s.
“Just to be able to come back here, I already knew what the program was like with the new coaching staff coming in,” Grimes said. “I talked to a couple of the players and they said they loved everything about it. (Former high school teammate) Jake Allen told me a lot. He said he loves it here, and I really trust him, so when he said he loved it, it was a no brainer.
“(Knowing the offense) gives me a step on everybody else, but I’m still working, still trying to get better and hopefully have a phenomenal experience.”
For Jefferson, the offense is all new, but he came in with a good idea about Mullen’s offensive approach having played against Mullen’s Mississippi State team the past two seasons.
“He had a lot of receivers that caught a lot of balls,” Jefferson said. “From what I saw (of his offense), I liked it. I’m fitting in really well.
“Biggest learning curve for me is just getting the concepts down. You’ve got a lot of checks and alerts. Ole Miss really didn’t have that. We’d just go out there and run the routes. It’s more checks and you’ve got to know what the coverage is.”
Jefferson appears to be picking up everything quickly, and he and Grimes seem pretty much ready to go. The question now is: when will they be able to?
What: Practice open to fans
When: 11:45 a.m.-2:10 p.m.
Where: Sanders Practice Fields
Entrance to Baseball/Football
Fans will see a lane outside the baseball ticket office for football practice, which will lead them directly into the Sanders Practice Facility/Indoor Practice Field. Baseball fans will have their ticket scanned at the main gate and walk along the sidewalk into McKethan Stadium as normal.
For fans attending football practice who need to use the restroom, a member of guest services will be stationed at the exit of Sanders Practice Field to escort them over to the baseball’s third base side restrooms in the concourse of McKethan Stadium.
Baseball fans wishing to watch some of football’s open practice can get their baseball ticket scanned and enter at the main baseball stadium entrance. Those individuals can come to the football practice field from inside McKethan Stadium and enter where a Gator Guest Services staff member will be stationed near the football practice field entrance.
Available in the main O’Connell Center parking lot and garage.
A free shuttle running from the Commuter parking lot on Gale Lemerand Drive to the right field entrance gate to McKethan Stadium on Stadium Road.
The shuttle will start running at 9:30 a.m. and will stop 30 minutes following the conclusion of the baseball game.