Pro Hockey News

Thursday, April 30, 2015

NFL NEWS: Jacksonville Jaguars Select Florida's Dante Fowler, As Expected Bucs Take Winston

With the 2nd pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars select Dante Fowler, defensive end from Florida.

"I'm excited about this moment, as I'm just living it up right now," said Fowler following his selection. "All my hard work has paid off, but I still have a lot of great things to do. I'm just very blessed."

Fowler is the 47th Gator drafted all-time in the first round and tied him for the highest a Gator was picked since the 1966 NFL-AFL merger. UF has had 12 defensive lineman in the selected in the first round since 1989, which is most of any school over that span.

"Dante is the most gifted edge-rusher in this draft class," said NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock following the selection. "He's 261 pounds, he's got a freaky first step and he also sets a physical edge in the run game."

ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. echoed those comments and said, "Dante is mild-mannered and respectful off the field, and he is a beast on the field."

Jacksonville has now drafted nine Gators, most recently selecting Josh Evans in the sixth round of the NFL Draft. In addition, Fowler joins Fred Taylor (1998), Reggie Nelson (2007) and Derrick Harvey (2008) as Jaguars first round draft picks from Florida.

UF has now had at least one pick in every NFL Draft since 1952, longest streak in the SEC.

Jacksonville desperately needs a playmaker on the defensive side of the football after spending last offseason working on the offensive side of the ball. 

They think they have their man in Fowler, who dominated as a pass rusher at Florida down the road in Gainesville. Fowler will provide a bland Jaguars defense with explosiveness and tenacity, and is a perpetual threat to get to the opposing quarterback. 

The Jaguars needed Fowler.

Fowler declared for the NFL Draft after his junior season after being named a Second Team All-American by Sporting News and Walter Camp, and a Fourth Team All-American by Phil Steele. 

In addition, the St. Petersburg product earned Honorable Mention All-America honors from Sports Illustrated. From the SEC, he was selected as an All-SEC First Team performer by the leagues' coaches, and Phil Steele. Fowler was also voted the Defensive MVP and Ray Graves Award winner (Overall Team MVP), and was selected a season captain by his teammates.

Statistically, Fowler finished the 2014 season fourth on the team with 60 total tackles and led the team with 15.0 tackles-for-loss and 8.5 sacks. Overall, he played in 32 games for the Gators and made 26 starts on the defensive line. He recorded 72 total tackles with 18 tackles-for-loss and 5.5 sacks in his career.

No Surprise. Bucs take Winston with No. 1 pick
Jameis Winston watched from Bessemer, Alabama, as he heard his name called in Chicago.The Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected the Florida State quarterback with the top pick of the NFL Draft on Thursday.

Winston becomes the first Seminole ever drafted No. 1, surpassing the previous high of No. 3 (Andre Wadsworth, 1998, Arizona Cardinals).

“You won’t expect more out of him than what he expects out of himself,” FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher said of Winston handling the pressure at the NFL level. “And I think that’s a great compliment. He will never lose confidence, because there’s going to be moments when you’re a young quarterback that you’re going to struggle. That’s why Jameis is not an arrogant player. He’s a confident player who truly believes in himself. He’ll find a way to persevere because he’s such a smart guy.”

The Bessemer, Ala., native joins fellow Seminole quarterbacks EJ Manuel (Buffalo Bills, No. 16, 2013) and Christian Ponder (Minnesota Vikings, No. 12, 2011) to give Florida State three consecutive signal callers drafted in the first round. It’s the first time a team has ever had three quarterbacks drafted in the first round in a five-year span in the modern era.

In addition to being the highest picked Seminole ever, Winston is the 12th Top 10 pick in FSU history and 41st Seminole selected in the first round.

He is the sixth first round pick and 26th overall draft pick under Jimbo Fisher, who became head coach in 2010.

Winston had a dazzling two-year career as Florida State’s starting quarterback, becoming the youngest player ever to win the Heisman Trophy while leading the Seminoles to an undefeated BCS National Championship season in 2013. He won his first 26 starts and led FSU to the first-ever College Football Playoff Semifinal in the Rose Bowl in 2014.

He wrapped up his career with FSU and ACC records for career pass efficiency (163.28), passing yards per game (295.0) and touchdown passes per game (2.41).

He led the nation with four fourth-quarter comebacks in 2014 and had five for his career, including the 2013 BCS National Championship when he engineered a seven-play, 80-yard drive that culminated with the game-winning touchdown pass to Kelvin Benjamin with 13 seconds left in the game.

Winston was the first No. 1 pick not to attend the draft since Dan Wilkinson in 1994.

There was very, very little doubt Winston was going to go first overall as the most pro-ready quarterback to a franchise desperate for a signal caller. 

Obviously the concerns about Winston off the field will persist, and it's yet to be seen if he can grow up. But from a football standpoint, the pick makes the most sense. 

He has arm strength, accuracy and always keeps his eyes downfield. All quarterbacks need time to develop into professionals (Winston in more ways than one), but he'll need the least amount of time to reach his full potential. 

Give him Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans to throw to, and the Tampa offense could be dangerous in that NFC South.

The draft is being held in Chicago, the first time in 50 years that it's not in New York.

Dolphins exercise Tannehill's 5th-year option
The Miami Dolphins exercised the fifth-year option on quarterback Ryan Tannehill's rookie contract on Thursday.

Tannehill is now under contract through the 2016 season.

The 26-year-old threw for a career-high 4,045 yards with 27 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 2014. He added 56 rushes for 311 yards and one touchdown.

The eighth overall selection in the 2012 NFL Draft, Tannehill has started all 48 games in his career and has completed 61.9 percent of his passes for 11,252 yards with 63 touchdowns and 42 interceptions. Additionally, he has totaled 145 rushing attempts for 760 yards and four rushing touchdowns.

UF BASKETBALL: Donovan Steps Down at Florida

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Billy Donovan has stepped down as head coach of the Florida men's basketball team to take the same position with the Oklahoma City Thunder, director of athletics Jeremy Foley announced on Thursday.

Donovan leaves Florida after 19 seasons leading the men's basketball program to unprecedented levels of success, winning two national championships, reaching four Final Fours and claiming six SEC titles, posting a 467-186 (.715) record with the Gators.

"While we are certainly extremely sad to see Billy go, the primary feeling I have is one of gratitude for what he has done here at Florida," Foley said. "Billy and Florida basketball have been synonymous for a long time now, and our program would not have reached the heights it has without him. The legacy he leaves here is one of personal and professional excellence, and we wish him, Christine and the Donovan family continued success and happiness as they make this move. There is no better person than Billy Donovan. He will truly be missed."

"I want to thank Jeremy Foley, the players, coaches and staff I've had the chance to work with during my time at Florida," Donovan said. "The administrative support and stability has been unbelievable here, and it is an incredibly difficult decision to leave that. I knew that it would take a unique opportunity to leave the University of Florida and that is clearly how I look at this situation."

Donovan finishes his tenure at Florida with more wins at the helm of an SEC program (467) than anyone other than Adolph Rupp, while his 35 NCAA Tournament wins rank at the top of SEC coaches. His win total is more than twice that of any other coach in Florida history.

The Gators' back-to-back championships in 2006 and 2007 match Dukes (1991 and 1992) as the only teams to bring home consecutive titles since John Wooden's UCLA dynasty. With those championships under his belt at 41 years of age, Donovan became the third-youngest coach to win multiple championships, joining Bob Knight (Indiana) and Phil Woolpert (San Francisco), who both reached the milestone at 40. Donovan also became the second person to reach the Final Four as a player, an assistant coach and a head coach (Dick Harp).

Prior to Donovan's hiring, Florida had one SEC title in 77 seasons of play. He led the Gators to six in his 19 seasons, including three over his final five seasons in Gainesville. All four of Florida's SEC Tournament championships in program history also came under Donovan's leadership.

The Gators ascended to No. 1 in the polls for the first time on Feb. 3, 2003, and would reach the top spot in four different seasons (not including 2005-06, in which UF was only No. 1 in the postseason poll), most recently during the team's historic 30-game winning streak in 2013-14.

This past season, Donovan became the second coach in men's college basketball history to reach 500 Division I wins before his 50th birthday, doing so sooner than anyone but Knight.

"Like we have with other recent searches, we will have an internal working group that will identify candidates to be our next head coach," Foley said. "I don't intend to put a timeline on our hire, but we will work hard to have the right person in place over the coming weeks."

"Billy's legacy at the University of Florida is nothing short of stellar, said UF President Dr. Fuchs. "The wins and championships were great, but perhaps even more important, he took a personal interest in his student-athletes and pushed them to be their best in the classroom and in life. The entire Gator Nation is grateful for his nearly 20 years of leadership, and we wish him the very best of luck in his new adventure."

AFL PREVIEW: Jacksonville Sharks Meet Storm in Tampa

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Jacksonville Sharks will play the first of two consecutive road games this weekend, as the team takes on the Tampa Bay Storm in a South Division matchup on Saturday, May 2. Kickoff from Amalie Arena in Tampa is set for 7:30 p.m. ET, and the game will be streamed live via ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app for mobile devices.

This is the first of three matchups between these divisional foes this season, as Jacksonville (1-4) returns to Tampa on June 12, while Tampa Bay (2-3) will make the trip up to Sea Best Field on July 18. The Sharks hold an 8-2 edge in the all-time regular season series, though the Storm did win the teams’ most recent matchup in Week 11 of the 2014 season.

The Sharks enter this week’s action in search of their second consecutive win after handling the Las Vegas Outlaws to the tune of a 60-28 victory last Friday night. In that game, the Sharks avoided a number of pitfalls that had hurt the team during the first four weeks of the season, as the team scored on every offensive possession in the first half and consistently got off the field on defense.

This week, the Jacksonville offense will look to replicate a performance that saw the team score touchdowns on its first six offensive possessions, as the Sharks came away with some kind of score on each of their first nine drives. Quarterback Tommy Grady has consistently been able to get the ball to receivers Tiger Jones and Joe Hills, each of whom has gone over the 100-yard mark in both of the last two games. Already leading the Arena Football League with 51 receptions and tied for the League lead with 13 touchdowns, Hills may have even more motivation this week as he faces the team with which he spent the last three seasons.

On defense, the Sharks enter this game fresh off what was easily their best performance of the young season. Jacksonville held Las Vegas to just three offensive touchdowns last Friday, thanks in large part to a consistently effective pass rush. Joe Sykes applied much of that pressure, as he turned in a dominant performance that included three tackles for loss, two sacks, a forced fumble and a safety. Sykes now leads all AFL players in tackles for loss (8.0) and sacks (5.0), and has forced a fumble in each of the last three games.

Sykes and the rest of the Sharks’ front four will look to take advantage of a Storm offensive line that has allowed 11 sacks in five games, the third-highest total among AFL teams. Despite facing plenty of pressure, however, Storm quarterback Jason Boltus is off to a productive start in his first season with Tampa Bay.

Boltus joined the Storm via free agency this past offseason, and through five weeks leads all AFL quarterbacks in passing yards (1,527) and ranks third with 29 touchdown tosses. Longtime veteran T.T. Toliver is the Storm’s top downfield target, as he leads the team with 12 touchdowns while averaging better than 15 yards per reception. The Storm have also benefited from the emergence of rookie Kendrick Ings, who is Tampa Bay’s second-leading receiver and top kickoff returner. Ings currently ranks third in the League with an average of 172.2 all-purpose yards per game.

Defensively, the Storm feature a balanced group that has held opponents to just 43.8 points per game, a total that ranks Tampa Bay second out of the League’s 12 teams. While returning Storm players Richard Clebert (3.0 sacks) and James Harrell (three interceptions) have led the way, Tampa Bay has also benefited from the additions of veteran defensive back Al Phillips (team-high 33.5 tackles) and pass rusher Brandon Sesay (2.0 sacks).

When the Sharks have the ball, winning the third-down battle could prove critical, as this is a matchup of strength versus strength. The Jacksonville offense has been strong in third-down situations this season, converting 17 of 29 opportunities, a rate of 58.6 percent that ranks second best in the AFL. However, Tampa Bay’s defense ranks third in the League, as the Storm have allowed opponents to convert just 36.1 percent of their third-down chances.

Finally, special teams could play a pivotal role in this week’s game. In the second quarter of Friday’s game, the Sharks gained an extra possession with a successful onside kick in the final minute of the first half, a play that played a key role in the Sharks breaking the game open to a 35-14 halftime margin. However, the Sharks allowed a kickoff return touchdown for the second time in as many weeks. While Las Vegas’ return touchdown came with the Sharks in front by 28 points, the team will look to shore up its kick coverage in order to contain Ings on Saturday night.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

SUNS: Jacksonville Clinches Series Victory, Donatello Nails Down Fifth Save

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Suns (9-9) defeated the Birmingham Barons (8-10) after plating the go-ahead run in the eighth to win by a 6-5 score and win the series Tuesday night from Bragan Field.

Suns reliever Craig Stem (W, 1-0) earned the victory in 1 and 2/3 innings of work allowing no runs on two hits including the game-tying two-run triple to Marcus Lemon, in which the runs were charged to starter Chipper Smith. Barons reliever Kyle Hansen (L, 0-1) took the loss after manufacturing three innings surrendering the go-ahead run in the eighth while not walking a batter and striking out three.

The scoring began in the bottom of the first for the Suns after a pair of walks to start the inning, would soon be followed by Matt Juengel’s RBI fielder’s choice, then by Ryan Rieger’s two-run double, leaping Jacksonville to a 3-0 scoreboard advantage.

Moving to the second Birmingham crept closer with a solo run driven in courtesy of a Danny Hayes RBI double to get his team on the board now trailing 3-1.

In the third frame Jacob May provided a lead off double to set the table for Tim Anderson, who promptly laced a run-scoring single to set the score at 3-2 through three frames.

Birmingham tacked on another run in the fourth after Christian Marrero (HR, 2) blasted his second home run of the year on the first pitch he saw to tie the score at three apiece.

The Suns quickly regained the lead in the last of the fourth courtesy of Austin Nola’s sac fly that sent home Carlos Lopez from third. The Suns now lead 4-3 through four innings.

The fifth saw Juengel (HR, 4) blast his fourth home run with two outs to double up Jacksonville’s lead to 5-3.

The Suns two-run lead would only last until the sixth. Marcus Lemon’s two-run triple, brought home both Jeremy Farrell and Joey DiMichele who each reached after a pair of two-out singles. The game was now knotted at five.

Jacksonville maneuvered back on top when David Adams lined a go-ahead RBI single off of Barons reliever Kyle Hansen that plated Juengel to finish the scoring at 6-5.

Suns starter Chipper Smith lasted 6 and 2/3 innings allowing five runs (all earned) on six hits while walking a batter and striking out five in his no decision.

The Suns and Barons will square off in the series finale Wednesday afternoon from Bragan Field with a first pitch set for 1:05 p.m. ET. The Suns will send out right-hander Kendry Flores (1-2, 4.11 ERA) while the Barons will give the ball to righty Tyler Danish (2-0, 5.40 ERA).

Armada FC Returns Home for Meeting With Reigning NASL Champions San Antonio Scorpion

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Armada FC, Jacksonville's new professional soccer team, return to Community First Park at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville this Saturday for a vital clash with defending North American Soccer League Champions San Antonio Scorpions (kickoff 7:30 p.m.) presented by Community First Credit Union.

The Armada is encouraging fans to arrive early on Saturday to enjoy the three-hour, pre-match build-up at the Armada Matchday Experience on Duval Street, presented by PRI Productions. The pre-match party, which is FREE for match goers, continues the World of Nations activities taking place in downtown Jacksonville this weekend with a "World Celebration on Dos de Mayo" theme, and includes a live performance from Jacksonville's "hottest" Latin band Ritmo y Sabor, a nine-piece ensemble that features musicians living on the First Coast of Florida, playing Latin sounds usually heard in the clubs of New York, Miami, Puerto Rico or L.A.. The Armada FC will also be teaming up with the YMCA and World of Nations to support activities ahead of the match on Saturday morning.

The Armada Matchday Experience, which runs from 4-7 p.m., will also be offering select $1 beers from 4-6 p.m. Fans will be able to take in all the entertainment from the Armada Beer Garden inside the Matchday Experience while the kids will enjoy the Armada Soccer Experience inflatables.

The Armada's traditional "March to the Match," led by supporters group Section 904, will begin from in front of the main stage at 7 p.m. All fans are encouraged to join the march to get into the stadium in good time prior to the 7:30 p.m kickoff. Fans will be presented with free Armada Kraken Tentacle Sticks, supplied by Community First Credit Union, on entry to the stadium, while supplies last.

The Armada will unveil two 12-pounder Dahlgren Boat Howitser Civil War-era cannons, provided by the U.S. National Parks Service at Fort Caroline, which will fire off at the start of the match and to signal Armada FC goals. A U.S. Naval Air Station JAX-Sector Color Guard will present the Colors and the National Anthem will be sung by Ritmo y Sabor lead-singer, Yanira Cardona; before the Armada - which features 16 nationalities on its roster - get the soccer action underway with a crucial match against the defending champion Scorpions. The Armada are currently five points behind NASL leaders New York Cosmos in the sprint for the Spring Championship, which qualifies for post-season play.

Halftime will feature a number of spectacular "Big Ball" promotions and the announcement of the new name for "The Kraken," which is currently being voted on by Armada FC fans at the club's website. The Armada players will sign autographs at pitch-side immediately following the match.

Match tickets, available from $10, and parking, available from $5, can be purchased at or by calling 1-844-2-ARMADA.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Jacksonville Jaguars 2015 Draft Preview

NFL Editor

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jaguars made their decision at the quarterback position last year when they drafted Blake Bortles meaning the organization is in a great position this time around with the No. 3 overall selection.

If things fall as expected and Tampa Bay selects Florida State QB Jameis Winston with the No. 1 overall pick and Tennessee either drafts Marcus Mariota or trades out to an organization that wants the Oregon Heisman Trophy winner, that leaves the Jags with the pick of the litter.

Many have focused on Florida's Dante Fowler, the best edge player in the draft, as the logical choice for the Jags but if Southern Cal's Leonard Williams, the best overall prospect in the class, falls, he will be hard to pass up.

Fowler is the better fit based on need but Williams is a versatile player who can line up virtually anywhere on the defensive line and has the potential to be a dominant player.

2014 Record: 3-13

Top Needs: DE, OL, CB, RB

First Three Picks: No. 3, No. 36, No. 67

Number of Selections: 7 (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)

RECENT FIRST ROUND HISTORY: 2014 - Blake Bortles (QB, Central Florida); 2013 - Luke Joeckel (OT, Texas A&M); 2012 - Justin Blackmon (WR, Oklahoma State); 2011 - Blaine Gabbert (QB, Missouri); 2010 - Tyson Alualu (DT, California); 2009 - Eugene Monroe (T, Virginia); 2008 - Derrick Harvey (DE, Florida); 2007 - Reggie Nelson (S, Florida); 2006 - Marcedes Lewis (TE, UCLA); 2005 - Matt Jones (WR, Arkansas)

Monday, April 27, 2015

LACROSSE: BIG EAST Tournament Schedule Set

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The Florida Gators head into this week's 2015 BIG EAST Women's Lacrosse Championship, presented by New York Life, as the No. 1 seed.

The end of the year tournament will begin with the semifinals on Thursday, April 30, and conclude with the finals on Saturday, May 2. All games will be played at George J. Sherman Family-Sports Complex in Storrs, Connecticut.

No. 1 Florida, who earned a share of the BIG EAST regular-season title with Georgetown, plays No. 4 Villanova in the semifinals on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. The winner of that game will play the winner of the No. 2 Georgetown-No. 3 Connecticut game on Saturday at 4:30 p.m.

During the regular season, Florida defeated Villanova, 21-3, on April 11 in Gainesville.

Both BIG EAST Championship Semifinal games will stream live on the BIG EAST Digital Network. Saturday's final will air live on FOX Sports 2, with John Sadak and Kara Lentz on the call.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

NASL: Flores, Johnson Net Goals in 3-2 Loss to Rowdies

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - The Tampa Bay Rowdies came out on top, 3-2, over the Jacksonville Armada FC at Al Lang Stadium on Saturday night in the clubs' first-ever North American Soccer League (NASL) regular season meeting.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

AFL: Jacksonville Sharks Shut Down Las Vegas Outlaws for 60-28 Victory

JACKSONVILLE - The Jacksonville Sharks broke the game open with 35 consecutive points on Friday and never looked back, shutting down the Las Vegas Outlaws to the tune of a 60-28 victory in front of 9,682 on Sea Best Field at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.

Jacksonville (1-4) trailed 14-7 early in the second quarter before changing the complexion of the game with a series of defensive stops and quick scores. After Tommy Grady hit Tiger Jones on a Scooter Berry stripped the ball from Las Vegas (2-2) fullback Joe Mortensen, forcing a fumble that Alvin Ray Jackson recovered. On the ensuing drive, Grady again found Jones in the end zone, as the second of their three touchdown connections gave the Sharks their first lead, 21-14, with 50 seconds remaining in the first half.

Jacksonville then gained an extra possession on special teams, as Julian Rauch executed a slow-roll onside kick that Jimmy Gordon came away with following an extended scramble for the ball. Five plays later, Grady hit Jeron Harvey for a 10-yard catch-and-run touchdown that put the Sharks on top by two scores, 28-14.

On the very first play of Las Vegas’ next drive, Joe Sykes slammed Outlaw quarterback J.J. Raterink from behind, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Nicolas Jean-Baptiste. It only took one play for the Sharks to cash in, as Grady found Jones for a 15-yard score, capping an avalanche of 21 points in a 48-second span that allowed the Sharks to take command of the game.

Up 35-14 at halftime, the Sharks extended that lead by opening the third quarter with a score, as Joe Hills pulled in a one-handed grab for an 18-yard touchdown on the first drive of the second half. Though Las Vegas’ Gerald Young ended the Sharks’ 35-0 run with a kickoff return touchdown, the Sharks still led 42-21 at that point, and Las Vegas never came closer than that 21-point margin.

The Jacksonville defense continued to bring the intensity in the second half, as Jackson hauled in diving interception off of a tipped pass, and Sykes brought down backup quarterback Sean Brackett for a safety early in the fourth quarter. On offense, fullback Ross got in on the action with a two-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter, while Hills capped a 12-catch night with his third touchdown of the game with nine minutes remaining in the contest.

Grady was efficient under center throughout, as the Sharks scored a touchdown on each of their first six offensive possessions. He completed 23 of his 31 pass attempts for 262 yards and seven touchdowns without throwing an interception. Hills totaled 12 catches for 113 yards and three scores, while Jones led all players with 130 yards, adding three touchdowns on his 10 catches. Jones has now gone over the 100-yard mark in each of the Sharks’ first five games. On the ground, Ross rushed for a season-high 47 yards and a touchdown on eight carries.

Defensively, Sykes was absolutely dominant up front, totaling three tackles for loss and two sacks to go along with his safety. Sykes has now recorded a strip-sack in each of the last three weeks. Jackson totaled 3.5 tackles to go along with his interception and fumble recovery, while Xavier Brewer led the Sharks with six tackles and Terrance Smith notched five solo tackles and two pass breakups.

For Las Vegas, Raterink went 17-of-27 for 124 yards and three touchdowns to go along with his one interception. Clinton Solomon led the Outlaws with six receptions, totaling 45 yards and a touchdown, while Jomo Wilson caught two touchdown passes in his return to Jacksonville.

The Sharks return to action next Saturday night, as the team travels to take on the Tampa Bay Storm on May 2. Kickoff from Amalie Arena is set for 7:30 p.m.

Media Awards

Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game – Jacksonville QB Tommy Grady

Riddell Defensive Player of the Game – Jacksonville DL Joe Sykes

J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game – Jacksonville JLB Alvin Ray Jackson

Cutters Catch of the Game – Jacksonville WR Joe Hills’ back-shoulder catch for a four-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter

AFL Highlight of the Game – Jacksonville FB Derrick Ross’ hurdle of a defender en route to a 16-yard run in the third quarter

Friday, April 24, 2015

SUNS: Jacksonville Held to Four Hits in Loss, Trail 3-1 in Series

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Suns (6-7) were stifled at the plate against the Biloxi Shuckers (8-5) who picked up a 5-1 win and a series victory Thursday night from Bragan Field.

Earning the victory for Biloxi was Hobbs Johnson (W, 1-0) tossing five scoreless innings allowing only one hit on two walks and six strikeouts. Suns starter Austin Brice (L, 0-2) took the loss lasting 3 and 1/3 innings relinquishing five earned runs on seven hits (one home run) while walking two and striking out four.

The scoring began in the bottom of the third inning for Biloxi, and with two runners on and one out, that set up Nick Ramirez (HR, 4) to blast a three-run shot into right leaping his squad out to a 3-0 lead.

In the fourth frame the Shuckers would add to their lead. With the bases loaded, Yadiel Rivera would ground into a RBI fielder’s choice to swell the Shuckers advantage to 4-0. In the same frame, and Suns reliever Lay Batista on the mound, Orlando Arcia grounded a RBI single into left to push Biloxi to a 5-0 edge through four innings.

In the ninth Jacksonville avoided the shutout when Zack Cox scored via a wild pitch from Shuckers reliever Martin Viramontes to create the final score of 5-1.

Lay Batista worked 2 and 2/3 innings out of the Suns bullpen allowing no runs on one hit. Blake Logan lasted two scoreless innings surrendering two hits in relief for Jacksonville.

The Suns and Shuckers will square off again Friday night from Bragan Field with a first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. ET. The Suns will send out left-hander Matt Tomshaw (0-1, 2.70 ERA) to the mound to be opposed by Shuckers righty Jorge Lopez (0-2, 9.00 ERA).

Thursday, April 23, 2015

NFL: 2015 Schedule Features Back-to-Back Home Games to Open Season

The Jacksonville Jaguars’ 2015 schedule is highlighted by back-to-back games at EverBank Field to begin the season, a trip to London to play the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, October 25 and a nationally-televised home game on NFL Network against the Tennessee Titans on Thursday, November 19.  

The Jaguars open the season at home on Sunday, September 13 against the Carolina Panthers.

The Jaguars have back-to-back home games to open the season for the fifth time in franchise history (1996, 2001, 2006, 2007).  Three of the club’s first four games are against 2014 playoff teams and five of the first six games are against teams that finished .500 or above in 2014. 

Fifteen of the Jaguars’ 16 regular season games will be played on Sundays, with 13 scheduled for 1:00 p.m. Eastern kickoffs, one at 9:30 a.m., one at 4:05 p.m. and one at 8:25 p.m.  The Jaguars play consecutive games at EverBank Field three times and consecutive road games three times including a stretch of three straight games in the first five weeks. 

The 2015 schedule for the Jaguars features four teams that qualified for the 2014 postseason – the Panthers (Sept. 13), New England (Sept. 27), the Colts twice (Oct. 4, Dec. 13) and the Ravens (Nov. 15).  The Jaguars will play on NFL Network for the seventh time in the last eight seasons when they host the Titans.  The Jaguars have played in 34 nationally-televised prime time games in their 20 seasons with at least one each season and eight overall on Thursday night. 

                The Jaguars open the 2015 season and 21st season in franchise history at home for the 12th time overall as they host Carolina on Sunday, September 13.  It marks the fifth time in franchise history and second consecutive season the club will open the season against an NFC team (1998, 2003, 2012, 2014).  The Jaguars own a 3-2 mark against the Panthers including a 2-0 record at EverBank Field.  In week two, the Jaguars play a second consecutive home game as they battle the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, September 20 at 4:05 p.m.  It marks the second straight season and seventh time overall the clubs will meet in the regular season.

                The Jaguars face a slate of three straight road games with trips to defending Super Bowl champion New England (Sept. 27), Indianapolis (Oct. 4) and Tampa Bay (Oct. 11).  It marks the seventh time in franchise history the club will face a Super Bowl defending champion, with the last coming in 2007 against the Colts.  The Jaguars open AFC South play against the Colts for the third straight season in week four. 

                Following a home game against division foe Houston on Sunday, October 18, the Jaguars won’t return to EverBank Field for 31 days.   The Jaguars travel to London for a battle with the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, October 25 with kickoff scheduled for 9:30 a.m. ET.  It marks the third game of a four-year commitment by the Jaguars to play one regular season game in the United Kingdom, all at Wembley Stadium.  The game will be the first to be distributed over a digital platform that will be available worldwide, in addition to local broadcasts in Jacksonville and Buffalo on CBS. 

                The Jaguars’ open date is scheduled for Sunday, November 1. Following the bye week, the Jaguars finish the regular season with five road games and four home games.   The Jaguars open up November with back-to-back road games beginning on Sunday, November 8 against the New York Jets followed by a tilt with Baltimore on Sunday, November 15.  The Jaguars and Ravens are meeting for the second straight season at M&T Bank Stadium.   Four days later, the Jaguars welcome Tennessee to EverBank Field on Thursday, November 19 for an 8:25 kickoff on NFL Network.  It marks the second straight season the teams will meet on a Thursday night in Jacksonville.

                San Diego visits EverBank Field on Sunday, November 29, the third straight season the clubs will meet in the regular season and fourth time in the last five seasons.   Following a visit to Tennessee on Sunday, December 6, the Jaguars wrap up the home portion of their schedule with back-to-back games against the Colts on Sunday, December 13 and the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, December 20. 

                The Jaguars close out the 2015 regular season schedule with back-to-back road games, at New Orleans on Sunday, December 27 and at Houston on Sunday, January 3.  The Jaguars and Saints are meeting for the first time since 2007 and only the third time overall in New Orleans.   The Jaguars conclude the regular season against the Texans for the second straight year and it marks the ninth time in the last 10 seasons the Jaguars finish on the road. 
In an effort to provide the best ticket value for fans, the Jaguars are introducing a dynamic pricing system for single game tickets for the 2015 season. Utilizing advanced pricing software, the Jaguars will be able to adjust single game ticket prices in real-time based on ticket availability and changing factors such as league standings, opposing team, rivalries, star players, day of the week, supply and demand.

Dynamic pricing empowers fans by providing more options during their ticket purchasing process as well as delivering ticket prices that better reflect actual market value. Similar to the travel and entertainment industries, fans who purchase their tickets early are more likely to get the best value and best locations.

Jacksonville Jaguars season ticket and mini-plan holders will still pay the best price for their seats. Fans will be able to purchase single game tickets online through and at the Jaguars ticket office at EverBank Field.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

UNF Ospreys Grind Out Team and Medalist Titles at ASun Men's Golf Championship

BRASELTON, GA. - No. 26-ranked North Florida survived the marathon Tuesday at the 2015 Atlantic Sun Men's Golf Championship to take home the program's fourth conference title and third in the last four years.

UNF junior Austin Padova birdied No. 18 to capture the medalist honors at three-under par, 207, one stroke ahead of Kennesaw State's Jimmy Beck and Lipscomb's Dawson Armstrong.

Taylor Hancock joined Padova in the top-five to earn All-Tournament honors as the junior from Clearwater, Fla. fired rounds of 70-68 in the final 36 holes to earn fourth place. 

As a team, North Florida finished the 54-hole event at the Legends Course of Chateau Elan with a total of 849 including registering a final round 277 to set the program's A-Sun Championship 18-hole record.

"Great day for the guys and we battled until the very end," said UNF head coach Scott Schroeder. "We gave away a bunch of shots over the first 40 holes or so but then were able to finish strong. Shooting under par in the final round this afternoon was very impressive. We are excited for Austin to get his second career win. He has been close for awhile so this was really great for him. I thought everybody stepped up at some point and it was truly a team effort. It was pretty cool to see the guys come back and overcome a deficit to get the victory. We are now focused on getting prepared for NCAA Regional play."

In addition to Padova and Hancock's strong finishes, redshirt freshman Dillon Woods finished tied for 7th at 214 including rounds of 72-70 on Tuesday, and senior Parker Jones was 13th at 219 (72-73). Senior Joey Petronio had to withdraw midway through the second with a tight back, but got treatment and carded a final round 1-over 71 to help the Ospreys secure the championship.

No. 24-ranked Kennesaw State captured runner-up honors seven strokes behind the Ospreys led by Beck and his final round 68. The senior from Columbus, Ga. added scores of 71 and 69 for his first career A-Sun Championship top-five performance. The Owls took an eight-stroke lead into the final round after setting the program's A-Sun Championship record with a 277 in the second round. 

Lipscomb posted its best-ever finish at the A-Sun Championship and also its two-best individual performances as Armstrong tied for runner-up and Eric Ansett landed in fifth after a final round 68 to propel the Bisons into third place. The final round team total of 284 set the program A-Sun record, which Lipscomb recorded in their opening rounds.

The best round of the A-Sun Championship came from USC Upstate as Ryan Cornfield blistered the course for a 66; tied for the second-lowest final round score in conference history. Cornfield led the Spartans to fourth place; the program's top performance at the conference tournament. 

FGCU took home fifth place led by Keaton Jones in 14th, while Jacksonville's Raul Pereda tied for seventh with UNF's Dillon Woods to help the Dolphins to sixth as a team. Stetson and Northern Kentucky rounded out the championship field.

North Florida locks up a spot in NCAA Regional play with the conference championship title, while Kennesaw State is a guarantee to earn an at-large spot as the Owls sit ranked in the top-25. The sites for the NCAA Regionals will be announced at 10 a.m. on May 4th on the Golf Channel.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Jaguars Open 2015 Preseason at Home Against Pittsburgh

The Jacksonville Jaguars have finalized their 2015 preseason schedule.

The Jaguars will open the 2015 preseason at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Friday, August 14 at 7:30 p.m. ET at EverBank Field. It will mark the first time the two teams have faced one another in the preseason.

On Saturday, August 22, the Jaguars travel to MetLife Stadium to play the New York Giants at 7:30 p.m. ET. The Jaguars will play at MetLife Stadium again during the 2015 regular season when they take on the New York Jets.

In their third preseason game, the Jaguars return home to host the Detroit Lions on Friday, August 28 for a nationally-televised game on CBS at 8:00 p.m. ET.

To close out the preseason the Jaguars will travel to Washington to play the Redskins at FedEx Field on Thursday, September 3 at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Tickets for the Jaguars’ preseason and regular season home games will go on sale later this week when the regular season schedule is announced by the NFL. Fans should go to for ticket information.

The Jaguars’ first, second and last preseason games will be televised locally on WJXT-TV and regionally on the Jaguars television network. All Jaguars preseason and regular season games will air live on 1010XL Radio, 92.5 FM and 99.9 Gator Country as well as the Jaguars radio network.

Week Opponent Date Time (ET), TV
1 PIT Friday, August 14 7:30 pm, WJXT-TV
2 @ NYG Saturday, August 22 7:30 pm, WJXT-TV
3 DET Friday, August 28 8:00 pm, national on CBS
4 @ WAS Thursday, September 3 7:30 pm, WJXT-TV

Monday, April 20, 2015

SUNS: Jacksonville Drops 2-0 Decision to Biscuits

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Suns (5-4) were shutout by the Montgomery Biscuits (4-6) by a 2-0 score Sunday afternoon from Bragan Field.

Bradin Hagens (W, 1-0) earned the victory in relief of rehabbing major leaguer Drew Smyly, Hagens lasted four innings surrendering four hits one walk and three strikeouts over four scoreless frames. Suns starter Matt Tomshaw (L, 0-1) lasted six innings relinquishing two earned runs on nine hits while striking out three in the loss.

The scoring began in the top of the second after Justin O’Conner (HR, 3) served one over the left field wall to give Montgomery a 1-0 lead through two innings.

In the third frame, Daniel Robertson delivered a RBI base knock to leap the Biscuits to a 2-0 advantage, and that would prove to be enough for the win.

The Suns went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position while leaving a total 10 men on base.

The Suns bullpen would have a strong showing, starting with Brian Ellington who entered in the seventh frame, tossing two scoreless innings while striking out two. Sean Donatello pitched a perfect ninth accompanied with a strikeout.

The Suns will welcome the Biloxi Shuckers into town with the first of five games starting Monday night from Bragan Field with a first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. ET. The Suns will send out Trevor Williams (0-0, 0.75 ERA) to the mound to be opposed by Shuckers left-hander Brent Suter (1-0, 0.00 ERA).

Sunday, April 19, 2015

UNF Advances to ASun Tennis Championship Men's Final

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - After inclement weather forced the Atlantic Sun Men's Tennis semifinals matches to finish on Sunday, FGCU and North Florida earned victories to move on to the A-Sun Championship Final. The Eagles defeated Stetson, 4-2, while host UNF won over USC Upstate, 4-1.

FGCU jumped out to an early lead against the Hatters after claiming the doubles point. Jordi Vives and Eduardo Alfonzo defeated Stetson's Chester Espie and Loic Blanco at No. 1 doubles, 8-2. Soon after, Ricky Ventura and Lucas Vaz clinched their match at No. 2 doubles with an 8-4 result.

Taking a 1-0 lead into singles play, FGCU added another point when Vives won in straight-sets at No. 1 singles, 6-1, 6-2. Stetson answered the FGCU run with a win at No. 6 singles as Espie defeated Michael Beiler, 6-2, 6-3. A rain delay postponed the rest of the matches until Sunday where the Eagles had a 2-1 lead. 

On Sunday, Alfonzo grabbed a quick victory for the Eagles to start the day at No. 5 singles over Graham Ball, 6-4, 7-5. Stetson stayed alive after Blanco scored a win on No. 2 singles over Andres Alfonzo of FGCU, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3. With the match on the line, Tianyu Bao took an early advantage in the third set against Simon Julin and pulled out the three-set victory at No. 4 singles. FGCU moved on to the A-Sun Championship Final with a 4-2 team win. 

In the UNF and USC Upstate match, the Ospreys gained the first point of the match by winning the doubles advantage with wins on No. 1 and No. 2 doubles. Lasse Muscheites and Zach Goldberg won at No. 1 by a score of 8-2, while Norbert Nemcsek and Julian Bradley took No. 2 doubles with a score of 8-3. 

In the singles portion of the match on Saturday, Alberto De Meo of UNF was the only player to score a singles point with a win on No. 6 singles, 6-3, 6-2. 

Heading into Sunday with a 2-0 lead, UNF's Yannick Zuern scored the first singles point of the day when he defeated Viktor Selander at No. 2 singles in three sets (2-6, 6-1, 6-2). USC Upstate got a point back at No. 3 singles when Jamie Yates defeated Bradley in three sets to make the team score 3-1, UNF leading.

The rest of the singles matches were coming down to the wire between the Spartans and the Ospreys. All eyes were on No. 4 singles as Muscheites of UNF and Ignacio Garrido of USC Upstate battled to a third set. Muscheites came back from one set down and jumped out to an early advantage in the third set. The UNF freshman put away the match in the third set, 6-3, and clinched an A-Sun Championship Final berth for the Ospreys, 4-1.

The Eagles and the Ospreys meet in the Atlantic Sun Men's Tennis Final today, April 19, at 2 p.m. ET.

Tennis Match Results
No. 4 Stetson vs No. 1 FGCU
Apr 18, 2015 at Jacksonville, Fla.
No. 1 FGCU 4, No. 4 Stetson 2

Singles competition 
1. Jordi Vives (FGCU) def. Nathan Debut (STET) 6-1, 6-2
2. Loic Blanco (STET) def. Andres Alfonzo (FGCU) 6-4, 3-6, 6-3
3. Ricky Ventura (FGCU) vs. Laurynas Antropikas (STET) 3-6, 6-4, 3-5, unfinished
4. Tianyu Bao (FGCU) def. Simon Julin (STET) 6-7 (5-7), 6-1, 6-2
5. Eduardo Alfonzo (FGCU) def. Graham Ball (STET) 6-4, 7-5
6. Chester Espie (STET) def. Michael Beiler (FGCU) 6-2, 6-3

Doubles competition 
1. Jordi Vives/Eduardo Alfonzo (FGCU) def. Chester Espie/Loic Blanco (STET) 8-2
2. Ricky Ventura/Lucas Vaz (FGCU) def. Laurynas Antropikas/Simon Julin (STET) 8-4
3. Tianyu Bao/Austin Bates (FGCU) vs. Nathan Debut/Graham Ball (STET) 6-4, unfinished

Saturday, April 18, 2015

AFL: Jacksonville Sharks Fall to San Jose SaberCats, 68-48

A touchdown pass from Tommy Grady to Joe Hills pulled the Jacksonville Sharks to within three points with 12 minutes remaining on Friday night, but an ensuing kickoff return touchdown and “bar-ball” recovery proved costly as the Sharks fell to the San Jose SaberCats, 68-48, on Sea Best Field at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.

In a game in which the Sharks trailed by four points at halftime, Jacksonville (0-4) held serve into the fourth quarter, as Grady fired an 11-yard strike to Joe Hills to bring the Sharks to within a 41-38 margin. But the Sharks did not get a chance to make a defensive stop, as San Jose (4-0) kick returner brought back the ensuing kickoff the length of the field for a touchdown.

After the two sides again traded scores – on a pass from Grady to Harvey followed by a 39-yard bomb from Erik Meyer to D.J. Stephens, Nich Pertuit sent the ensuing kickoff careening off the iron. Jacksonville returner Terrance Smith was unable to secure the carom, and San Jose recovered the loose ball at the Sharks’ eight-yard line. The short field led to a quick score, as Meyer found Gray from seven yards out to give the SaberCats a three-score lead, 62-45. 

From that point, the Sharks were not able to come closer than 14 points, as Julian Rauch kocked home his second field goal of the game with 57 seconds remaining. After San Jose recovered the ensuing onside kick attempt, Meyer hit Tennell on a 11-yard pass for the game’s final score.

In what was largely a close game in the first half, San Jose gained the early edge with a pair of defensive stops. David Hyland intercepted Grady on the Sharks’ second offensive possession, and the SaberCats forced a turnover on downs on Jacksonville’s next drive. The SaberCats cashed in on both stops, as Odie Armstrong opened the second quarter with a four-yard touchdown run to give San Jose a 21-7 lead.

The Sharks did close the margin with a defensive stop of their own, as Jimmy Gordon pounced on a loose ball when San Jose was in a goal-to-go situation. Two plays later, Tiger Jones made a spectacular diving catch over the wall to bring the Sharks all the way down to the two, and Derrick Ross hammered home the third of his four rushing touchdowns to tie the game at 21.

Jacksonville had chances to come up with key defensive stops, forcing San Jose into several fourth down situations. But three different times, Meyer responded with three fourth-down touchdown passes to prevent the Sharks from getting off the field without allowing points.

In the loss, Grady completed 26 of his 39 passes for 324 yards and two touchdowns against two interceptions. Ross carried the ball 11 times for 35 yards and four scores, becoming the first player in Arena Football League history with 150 career rushing touchdowns. At receiver, Hills led the Sharks with 14 receptions for 155 yards and a touchdown, while Jones caught seven passes for 109 yards and Jeron Harvey added four receptions for 44 yards and a score.

On defense, Joe Sykes recorded a sack for the third consecutive game, while Gordon has now recovered a fumble in each of his first two AFL contests. Terrance Smith led the Sharks with four solo tackles.

For the SaberCats, Meyer completed 19 of his 30 passes for 246 yards and eight touchdowns, while Gray recorded nine receptions for 80 yards and three touchdowns and Tennell found the end zone four times. David Hyland led all players with 13 total tackles to go along with his interception. Eric Crocker also recorded a pick, while Francis Maka notched the SaberCats’ lone sack.

The Sharks now toward their attention to next week’s game, as the Las Vegas Outlaws come to town on Friday, April 24. Kickoff from Sea Best Field at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena is set for 8 p.m.

Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game – San Jose QB Erik Meyer

Riddell Defensive Player of the Game – San Jose DB David Hyland

J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game – San Jose WR/KR Reggie Gray

Cutters Catch of the Game – Jacksonville WR Tiger Jones’ over-the-wall diving catch late in the second quarter

AFL Highlight of the Game – San Jose KR Reggie Gray’s 58-yard kickoff return touchdown in the fourth quarter

Thursday, April 16, 2015

SUNS: Othman RBI Double Propels Jacksonville to Win

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Suns (4-1) defeated the Montgomery Biscuits (1-5) by a 3-2 score Wednesday night from Bragan Field.

The scoring began in the bottom of the first after Zack Cox (HR, 1) mashed a solo long ball over the right field wall to provide the Suns with a 1-0 lead through one inning of play.

Blake Logan (W, 1-0) earned the victory for the Suns tossing a scoreless seventh and eighth innings out of the bullpen while allowing one run on three hits along with no walks and three strikeouts. For the Biscuits Parker Markel (L, 1-1) took the loss after pitching the eighth, in which he surrendered one run on two hits while not walking a batter and striking out one. Sean Donatello (S, 2) nailed down his second save of the year tossing a perfect ninth that was accompanied by a pair of strikeouts.

Moving to the fourth, Justin O’Conner (HR, 2) mashed his second home run of the year over the left field wall to knot up the score at one apiece through four innings.

After a one hour and 29 minute rain delay, and in the seventh, Kenny Wilson (HR, 1) would break the tie after a deep shot over the left field wall gave the Suns a 2-1 edge.

In the eighth the Biscuits tied the score at two after Patrick Leonard’s RBI fielder choice scored Leonardo Reginatto to tie the score at two. In the bottom of the same frame, it was Shariff Othman’s RBI double plating the go-ahead run in the form of Ryan Rieger that pushed the Suns up for good 3-2.

Suns starter Trevor Williams went a strong six innings allowing four hits and one run while striking out five in his no decision. Biscuits starter Jaime Schultz lasted four innings allowing one run (earned) on three hits while walking four and striking out seven in his no decision.

The Suns and Biscuits will square off for the second game of the series from Bragan Field Thursday with a first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. ET. The Suns will send out left-hander Chipper Smith (1-0,0.00 ERA) to the mound and he’ll be opposed by Montgomery righty Austin Pruitt (0-1, 0.00 ERA).

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

NFL DRAFT: FSU on the Verge of Record-Breaking Three-Year Run

TALLAHASSEE –Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher joked earlier this spring that the Seminoles have probably sent an entire starting roster to the National Football League over the last few seasons.

By the time the 2015 draft concludes early next month, Fisher may turn out to be more right than he knew.

Since Fisher took over as FSU’s head coach in 2010, the Seminoles have had 25 players drafted into the NFL.

And that number is due to climb in a few weeks, when as many as 12 more former Seminoles potentially hear their name called to join the professional ranks.

“As talented a group as you’ll see anywhere in the country,” NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said after FSU’s Pro Day in March.

Fisher has developed a strong reputation as one of the top quarterback coaches in the nation, and with good reason. He’s got three first-round quarterbacks on his ledger, and each of his starters at FSU (Christian Ponder, 2011; EJ Manuel, 2013) have been selected in the first round.

Heisman-winner Jameis Winston is expected to join that club later this month, and could be Fisher’s second No. 1 overall pick (Jamarcus Russell, 2007) and the first for FSU. Andre Wadsworth holds the FSU record for highest draft pick, going No. 3 to the Arizona Cardinals in 1998.

“If I was betting in Vegas, that’s what I’d bet on,” Fisher said. “But you can’t guarantee. … It’s going to be very high, I know that.”

But FSU’s pipeline to the NFL is built on far more than just quarterbacks.

Since the 2011 draft, FSU has had at least one player drafted at every position except tight end.

That group features two quarterbacks, two running backs (Devonta Freeman, Chris Thompson), one wide receiver (Kelvin Benjamin) and five offensive linemen (Bryan Stork, Menelik Watson, Zebrie Sanders, Andrew Datko, Rodney Hudson).

On defense, the Seminoles have sent two defensive tackles (Timmy Jernigan, Everett Dawkins), four defensive ends (Bjoern Werner, Tank Carradine, Brandon Jenkins, Markus White), four linebackers (Telvin Smith, Nick Moody, Vince Williams, Nigel Bradham), three cornerbacks (Xavier Rhodes, Lamarcus Joyner, Mike Harris) and a safety (Terrence Brooks).

Even kicker Dustin Hopkins checked off the specialists box in the 2013 draft.
FSU in 2015 isn’t just looking to add to its draft total – it’s looking to make history.

If 11 former Seminoles are drafted, it will give FSU 29 draftees over the last three seasons, breaking the modern-day record of 28 held by Miami (2002-04) and Southern California (2008-10).

“One, we’ve gotten guys who are talented,” Fisher said, “but two, we run a pro system. And they’ve walked up and they’ve done all the things you’re doing in pro football.

“We run a pro system so the guys adapt to that system extremely quickly.”

Winston is expected to by most the be the No. 1 pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and he could be joined in the first round by defensive lineman Eddie Goldman and offensive lineman Cameron Erving.

Receiver Rashad Greene, cornerbacks P.J. Williams and Ronald Darby, defensive end Mario Edwards Jr., tight end Nick O’Leary, running back Karlos Williams and offensive linemen Josue Matias, Tre’ Jackson and Bobby Hart expect to be drafted as well.

O’Leary, the 2015 John Mackey Award winner, would be the first FSU tight end drafted since Lonnie Johnson in 1994.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

AFL: Sharks' Jones Named Offensive Player of the Week

JACKSONVILLE – The Jacksonville Sharks and the Arena Football League announced Tuesday that Jacksonville wide receiver Tiger Jones has been named the League’s Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Week for Week 3 of the 2015 AFL season. 

Jones receives this honor for his record-breaking performance in Jacksonville’s loss to the Philadelphia Soul on Sunday.

Facing the team for which he played from 2012 through 2014, Jones established a new franchise record with 239 receiving yards, breaking the old mark of 210 set by Jeff Hughley during the 2011 season.

 Jones totaled 13 receptions in the game, scoring five touchdowns for the second consecutive week. He opened the game with a 36-yard touchdown on a fourth-down pass during the game’s opening drive, then went on to score two more touchdowns in the first half and another two in the second half. 

It is worth noting that Jones now hold both the record for most receiving yards by a Shark in a single game, as well as the record for most receiving yards by an opponent against the Sharks. Jones’ total of 208 when he played with the Dallas Vigilantes in 2011 remains the record for a Jacksonville opponent.

Just three games into his Jacksonville career, Jones has already proven to be one of the most reliable targets for Jacksonville quarterback Tommy Grady, catching at least 10 passes in every game to this point. Through three weeks, Jones leads the AFL in receiving yards (496), is tied for the AFL lead in receiving touchdowns (10), and ranks third in the AFL in receptions (33).

Jones becomes the second Shark to receive a weekly League award in 2015. Wide Receiver Joe Hills was named the J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Week for Week 1.

COLLEGE BASEBALL: No. 13 FSU Faces No. 7 UF in Rubber Game

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – No. 13 Florida State (26-12) returns home after a tough weekend series in South Bend, Ind., to face No. 7 Florida (28-9) on Tuesday in the rubber game between these two intra-state rivals. First pitch for the third and final game of the ‘Share A Little Sunshine Showdown’ regular season series is set for 6:00 p.m. and will air live on ESPN3.

The Gators defeated the Seminoles 14-8 in Gainesville in the first match-up this year, before FSU evened the series with an 8-3 victory at the Baseball Grounds in Jacksonville.

In the first meeting in Gainesville, the Gators outhit the Seminoles 16-9, while FSU tied a season-high committing five errors. The 14 runs by Florida were the most scored by the Gators in the series since plating 16 against the Seminoles in Jacksonville on April 3, 2007. It also marked the most combined runs by the two teams since a 17-11 victory by Florida State in an NCAA Regional elimination game on May 31, 2008.

In Jacksonville on March 31, the Seminoles got 5.0 strong innings from Bryant Holtmann, while Dylan Silva worked the final 4.0 innings to earn the save. FSU outhit UF 13-6 on the night led by John Sansone’s career-high 4-for-4 performance at the plate.

Holtmann will make his second straight start against the Gators on Tuesday night. In seven career appearances, six in relief against UF, Holtmann is 1-0 with a 2.03 ERA. He has allowed three runs, 13 hits, four walks and 10 strikeouts in 13.1 innings. The senior southpaw is 1-0 with a 2.35 ERA in 7.2 innings against the Gators in 2015.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Florida Yacht Club Team Wins at USTA Florida 65 & Over Tennis Championships

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Pinellas County (Clearwater, Largo) was the big winner with two titles among five men’s and women’s division winners at the 2015 Adult 65 & Over League Sectional Championships, held April 10-12 at the Florida Tennis Center in Daytona Beach.

Claiming titles for the second consecutive year were Duval County in the Women’s 6.0 division, and Lee-Charlotte in the Men’s 7.0 division.

Captain Larry Blohm of the winning Lee/Charlotte team from Ft. Myers said his team had a close call even before reaching sectionals.

“We defeated Park Meadows, the former national championship team, in the final match of the season with a super tie-breaker in the third set to tie for the [local Ft. Myers] league title,” Blohm said. “We won the title using the tiebreaker format.”

Teams consisted of three doubles lines competing in a non-elimination round-robin format. The winner of each flight advanced into a single-elimination semifinal followed by the final.

Collier County was denied in two finals on Sunday, with the Pelican Marsh 6.0 women of Naples and The Strand 8.0 men of Naples both coming up short in championship matches.

Here are the final round results:

Women’s 6.0 Division (Photo)

Final: Duval County (Florida Yacht Club, Jacksonville) finished ahead of Collier County (Pelican Marsh, Naples) 4-0 to 2-2 in round robin play

Duval Season Roster: Barbara Riffel (captain), Sandy Cannon, Mannie Kinner, Pamela Yonge, Carol Hamilton, Patterson Rogers, Marcia Gwinn, Margaret Greene, Candace Clark

Women’s 7.0 Division

Final: Indian River County (The Boulevard Tennis Club, Vero Beach) d. Marion County (Ft. King Tennis Center, Ocala) 2-1
Championship Match Results:
No. 1 Doubles: Penelope Chambers/Ursula Nuechterlein (IR) d. Patricia James/Princess Aiello 6-4, 5-7, 1-0 (super-tiebreaker)
No. 2 Doubles: Susan Wood/Nancy Little (Marion) d. Francisca Hickok/Diane Mello 6-2, 6-3
No. 3 Doubles: Rose Schafer/Jody Fallis (IR) d. Cherri Bauer/Janice Bullock 7-5, 7-6
Indian River Season Roster: Penelope Chambers (captain), Francisca Hickok, Veronica Smith, Diane Mello, Sandra Demello, Fauna Simer, Rose Schafer, Jody Fallis, Wanda Shay, Ursula Nuechterlein, Dianne Steiner, Jacqulyn Logan

Women’s 8.0 Division

Final: Pinellas County (McMullen Tennis Center, Clearwater) finished ahead of Sarasota County (Palm Aire, Sarasota) 4-1 to 4-1 in round robin play, with Pinellas winning the head-to-head tiebreaker
Pinellas Season Roster: Sharon Carlile (captain), Nancy Morgan, Beverly Fisher, Ria Graham, Judith Siracusa, Patti Prestera, Deborah McCleery, Frances Strazzulla, Susan Hobbs, Marion Murch

Men’s 7.0 Division

Final: Lee/Charlotte counties (Heron’s Glen Tennis Club, Ft. Myers) d. St. Johns County (Marsh Creek Country Club, St. Augustine) 3-0
Championship Match Results:
No. 1 Doubles: Matthew Schmelter/Jack Davis (L/C) d. Phillip Vernon/Hans Breukhoven 2-6, 6-4, 1-0 (super-tiebreaker)
No. 2 Doubles: John Blohm/Nile Evans (L/C) d. Frank Clark/Roger Thomas 6-4, 6-4
No. 3 Doubles: Carl Olsen/Dan Keesling (L/C) d. Philip Mitchell/John Carroll 6-0, 6-1
Lee/Charlotte Season Roster: John Blohm (captain), Dan Keesling, Matthew Schmelter, Carl Olsen, Nile Evans, Lester Blood, Jack Davis

Men’s 8.0 Division

Final: Pinellas County (Shipwatch Tennis Club, Largo) d. Collier County (The Strand, Naples) 2-1
Championship Match Results:
No. 1 Doubles: Todd Whitney/Wendall Walker (Pinellas) d. Craig Boyd/John Moter 2-6, 6-4, 1-0 (super-tiebreaker)
No. 2 Doubles: George Morton/Matthew Davie (Collier) d. Robert Mullis/Patricio Dillon 6-3, 6-3
No. 3 Doubles: Jim Kennerly/Ronald Thomas (Pinellas) d. Rick Parker/Richard Townsend 6-3, 6-7, 1-0 (super-tiebreaker)

To see team match schedules go to

For more information on USTA Florida Leagues go to

(through 4/13/15)

1. Pinellas County (2) — 65 & Over Men’s 8.0, Women’s 8.0
2T. Duval County (1) — 65 & Over Women’s 6.0
2T. Indian River/Manatee/St. Lucie counties (1) — 65 & Over Women’s 7.0
2T. Lee/Chalotte counties (1) — 65 & Over Men’s 7.0

Sunday, April 12, 2015

SUNS: Nola Two-RBI Performance Clinches Series Victory

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Suns (3-1) topped the Jackson Generals (1-3) 4-2 in a series-clinching win Sunday afternoon from Bragan Field.

Suns starter Kendry Flores (W, 1-0) picked up the victory tossing five innings allowing one run (earned) on two hits and two strikeouts. 

Dylan Unsworth (L, 1-0) took the loss in his start for Jackson manufacturing four innings relinquishing six hits four runs (three earned) while walking two and fanning four batters. 

Nailing down the victory was Sean Donatello (S,1) for his first save of the season, although he did allow and earned run while walking and striking out a solo batter respectively.

The scoring began in the bottom of the first after Austin Nola’s sac fly pushed the Suns out to a 1-0 lead in the first.

Moving to the top of the second, a Julio Morban RBI triple scored Jordy Lara to tie the score at a run apiece. In the bottom of the same frame, Sharif Othman broke the tie with a line drive single to left scoring Ryan Rieger who doubled one batter prior. The Suns would now lead 2-1 through two innings of play.

Moving to the fifth against Jackson reliever Matt Anderson, Jacksonville would bring home a pair of runners on a Nola single to left to give the home team a 4-1 lead.

In the ninth, Dario Pizzano would work the Generals a bit closer after mashing a single to center creating Sunday’s final of 4-2 in favor of the Suns.

The Suns turned to Frankie Reed for a pair of shutout innings in the six and seventh, and Brian Ellington in the eighth went one frame while striking out two.

The Suns and Generals will be back at it tomorrow with first pitch at Bragan Field slated for 12:05 p.m. ET. The Suns will send right-hander Austin Brice to the mound for his first start against Generals southpaw Misael Siverio in his opening appearance.

Monday is a special 12:05 matinee and Senior Services Day!  Catch Baseball in the SUNShine and senior citizens are invited to enjoy a special day game with the City of Jacksonville!

The 2015 season of Suns baseball is presented by EverBank, the official banking partner of the Jacksonville Suns. Sponsorships, group outings, and season/individual game tickets are currently available by calling the Suns front office at (904) 358-2846.