GAINESVILLE -- Mark Herndon is no longer a walk-on running back.
Florida’s third-string tailback behind starter Matt Jones and backup Mack Brown was awarded a scholarship Tuesday.
Coach Will Muschamp announced the honor in front of the whole team, immediately making the sophomore cry.
“I just broke down. It brought tears to my eyes,” he said. “The first thing I did was call my mom. She was ecstatic.”
Herndon (5-9, 193 pounds) has impressed during practice, leapfrogging heralded freshmen Kelvin Taylor and Adam Lane on the depth chart.
“When I first got here, Coach Muschamp told me that it’s at least two years until you get a scholarship, so I wasn’t expecting it,” he said. “When he told me today, I felt like I was in a dream. My mouth just dropped.”
Cornerback Jaylen Watkins (foot) returned to practice Sunday, while sophomore wideout Raphael Andrades (turf toe) is out for at least 10 days. Left guard Jon Halapio (torn pectoral), fullback Hunter Joyer (hamstring), cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III (shoulder) and tackle Damien Jacobs (patella) are all expected to return for the opener against Toledo Aug. 31.