Daily Football Fix: UF’s Davis, Heggie announce return

Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks hands off to running back Malik Davis during the game against Georgia last year. [Lauren Bacho/Staff photographer]

It’s no secret Florida coach Dan Mullen faces a tall task when it comes to reviving UF’s offense. With uncertainty at the quarterback position in addition to an overhaul of the playbook, the Gators simply can’t afford any setbacks from a personnel or development standpoint, especially with a critical summer of development ahead.

So Monday night’s news was encouraging for Mullen and Co.

Two Gators who were unable to participate in the spring — offensive lineman Brett Heggie and running back Malik Davis — announced on their respective Twitter accounts that each had been medically cleared to return to football activities.

A freshman last season, Davis was one of the lone bright spots of Florida’s offense in 2017 as he rushed for 526 yards across seven games before suffering a season-ending knee injury in UF’s 42-7 loss to Georgia.

Davis’ tweet — “All the work in darkness gone come to light #allcleared U N C A G E D” — seems to imply he’s ahead of the timeline projected by Mullen during his spring speaking tour.

Speaking in Jacksonville after Signing Day to assembled fans, boosters and media, Mullen said the Gators didn’t foresee evaluating Davis until Fall camp.

“I think his surgeries and rehabs have gone well. It’s certainly not something we’re going to push,” Mullen said. “But I think he’s coming along very nicely. Obviously, it is something we probably wouldn’t consider to even start evaluating until we get into August and see where he’s at.”

And Heggie’s impending return gives Florida more depth along the offensive line, as the redshirt junior out of Mount Dora started seven games for the Gators in 2017 before he too suffered a season-ending knee injury.

“100% cleared. Go Gators #TrustTheProcess,” Heggie wrote on his Twitter account.

Like he did with Davis, Mullen cautioned reporters at a speaking engagement in May that Heggie likely wouldn’t be cleared until prior to the start of Fall camp, adding he foresees Heggie playing a significant role for Florida this season.

“He’s a smart guy. He’s worked at snapping the ball, which is a skill, and (he has) toughness. That center, really, you’re talking about a guy that holds the whole group together — toughness, leadership and athleticism. Center is such a critical position and one you’ve got to have a lot of depth at. So we’ve got to have guys that can snap,” Mullen told Ryan Young of SEC Country. “You can’t do anything if you can’t snap the ball, so we’re going to look at him at center when he comes back.”

With Heggie projected to compete with redshirt senior TJ McCoy for Florida’s starting center role this season, Mullen and offensive line coach John Hevesy are continuing to see the revamped strength and conditioning program pay dividends.


  1. Davis really has impressed me….classic case of the number of stars in the newspaper being different than what the guy turned out to be, in a positive sense. Heggie I also like. sounds like the new strength coaches are doing a nice job with injuries as well as some other things.

  2. Good news all around. About a year ago we received the news that Marcel Harris had been injured and lost for the season. What followed included an unprecedented number of suspensions, a couple dozen season-ending or disabling injuries and a disastrous outcome. It seems so different this time, doesn’t it? As for FSU college football success is cyclical. They’ve hired a coach who seems like a good guy but has never produced good results in less than three seasons. Florida’s about a year away, if not sooner, from a new run of domination over the academic have-nots in Tallahassee.

    • You know, tuna, maybe the sun didn’t have to be quite so brittle over the Swamp for all those 7 years. I keep going back to TampaGator’s post the other day, amplified some by others who weighed in too, concerning the decisions at a certain point that actually started the Gator offensive free fall. Kind of haunts me, the more I think about it. Of course, hindsight is 20-20, and the history happened the way it did. But, nevertheless, I feel your sentiment too and feel like the Florida sun is shining again. Go Gators!

  3. This is my first time ever commenting on anything… But the facts are these. I have not missed a Gator game since 1975 (10-years old then). I support Gators… all sports… 100%. Have never once booed and never will. Loyalty, honor, commitment… something the FSU trolls (Mikey, etc.) don’t get with their 1/2 empty stadiums and Hurricanes (90% empty stadiums). Mullen will have us a playing for a National Championship within 3-years. Too much talent in Florida (we have a coach that can develop them), too much loyalty from the fans, too much commitment and work ethic from our football players. Go Gators!!