Third-round NFL draft picks rarely get cut in their rookie preseason. But that’s what happened to former Florida rush end Jachai Polite, who was released earlier in the week by the New York Jets. He’s since landed a spot on Seattle’s practice squad.
“I like Jachai, and obviously I’m disappointed, I’m sad for him,” UF coach Dan Mullen said. “Everybody has dreams. You dream of making it to the NFL. Hopefully, a learning experience for him and a learning experience for other guys in the program. Obviously, getting to the next level, they’re multiple phases of doing that. Are you talented enough? Are you physically prepared? Are you mentally prepared? How is your work ethic and demeanor on a daily basis?”
In his short time with the Jets, Polite was fined several times for being late to meetings, per reports.
“He was late for us before, too,” Mullen said. “It will be interesting. I haven’t gotten to speak with him, but I feel bad that it turned out that way. He’s got talent. Maybe he’ll find a way to refocus and get the development he missed by not coming back this year. Maybe he can find that on the (Seattle) practice squad.”
There’s still no word from the NCAA on whether Georgia transfer Brenton Cox will receive a waiver granting him immediate eligibility, but UF coach Dan Mullen seems confident that he will be playing at some point this season.
“From other waivers I’ve seen that have been cleared, he’s a very similar case, so we’re certainly hoping for that,” Mullen said. “Obviously, some of those were submitted much earlier so they’ve gotten those results back.
“We’re optimistic about it, but you never know. We’ll wait to see when that comes.”
A sophomore rush end, Cox was a five-star prospect coming out of high school. It sounds like he’ll be ready to contribute immediately if he gains eligibility.
“He’s got a great attitude,” Mullen said. “He’s been working hard at things.
He’s been doing a good job of taking care of his business at practice and, working hard every day and giving good looks and filling roles on the team and taking care of business in the classroom.”
The players had last Thursday and Friday and the rest of the weekend off. They returned to practice Monday refreshed and ready to go, quarterback Feleipe Franks said.
“It was nice to have a little bit of time off, time to ourselves,” he said. “I think it re-energized everybody coming into this week, ready to get back. I don’t like being away from the game for too long. But it was nice to get a little break.”
How Franks spent his break doesn’t seem all that relaxing.
“I drove to Tennessee. A long drive,” he said. “It was a little bit past Nashville, so it was like a nine-hour drive. That wasn’t too fun. But when I got there it was nice.”
No feeling sorry
In the aftermath of UF’s 10-sack performance against Miami in the opener, senior linebacker David Reese was asked if he’s ever felt sorry for an opposing quarterback.
The folks in Knoxville will find his response, well, interesting.
“No. No,” Reese said. “The only quarterback I probably ever felt sorry for was last year at Tennessee, because he (Jarrett Guarantano ) looked like he had enough by the second half.”
That quote is certain to resurface in two weeks.
Mullen said the Gators still have some players who are still nicked up from the Miami game, but that UF should be close to full health for Saturday’s game against UT Martin.
“We’ve got some guys still dinged up from the game a little bit,” he said. “We’ll see as we get closer to Saturday where they’re at and who’s ready to go.”
Mullen said none of the injuries are long term.