Okine bulking up


Enrolling early at Florida looks like it’s been a good thing for former Gainesville High star defensive end Earl Okine.

He had a solid spring and has really started to add bulk and muscle to his long, athletic frame.

I ran into Okine on campus Tuesday and he looked like a different person compared to when I interviewed him for a story about a year ago (the theme of that story, by the way, was whether Okine would enroll at UF early or opt to remain at GHS to play basketball in his senior season). He said he is now up to 265 pounds and looks pretty imposing for a kid who could still be in high school.

Shortly after Okine arrived at UF in January, Urban Meyer said Okine has the chance to be an athletic freak because of his growth potential and athletic ability. Well, it looks like Okine is quickly growing into a freak. If he continues to develop like he has so far, Okine could get some serious playing time at end in the fall.

Okine was with true sophomore defensive end/tackle Justin Trattou (the two were on a scooter). Trattou also looked to be in excellent shape. He said he’s weighing about 250 pounds, which is pretty close to what he played at last season. During bowl preparation in Orlando, Meyer said the plan was to make Trattou a full-time defensive tackle this season. But he played both end and tackle in the spring, and now that he’s staying in the 250-pound range, it could be an indication that he will be a full-time defensive end this fall.

In an earlier blog on true freshman offensive lineman Sam Robey, I neglected to mention that he was a three-time all-state offensive tackle and the co-winner of the player of the year award in Kentucky his senior season. I wrote that Robey was a defensive end in high school (which he was, but he earned his reputation as an offensive lineman). Robey is one of three true freshmen who recently enrolled in the Summer A semester and he’s hitting it hard in the weight room. Robey is expected to be groomed as a center at UF, a position he did not play in high school. The coaches think he’s an excellent prospect and may be the sleeper in the recruiting class.

When the grim news about Ted Kennedy’s prognosis broke Tuesday, the first thing I thought about was Greg See, the former Gator who lost his battle with brain cancer a few years ago. See, like Kennedy, had a seizure that led doctors to eventually discover he had glioblastoma, a highly aggressive form of cancer that usually strikes children and adults over 50 (See was only 22). I spent a lot of time with Greg during the last 18 months of his life and was inspired by his courage. I think about him often. I feel for Kennedy and his family. He’s facing a tough, tough battle.