Florida held its first scrimmage this spring on Saturday, but sophomore quarterback Treon Harris did not participate as he continues to grieve after a death in the family.
Harris’ cousin, Richard Hallman, a 16-year-old football player at Miami Booker T. Washington, was shot and killed in Overtown on Tuesday.
The Gators’ ongoing quarterback battle between Harris and redshirt freshman Will Grier has been shelved for now, with UF coach Jim McElwain offering a bit of perspective.
“You really kind of wonder sometimes the true importance of what we do when it comes to family and just how important third-and-6 really is,” he said.
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“Right now, our hearts go out to him and his family and what he’s going through, and we’re here to support him and his mom and aunt in every way we can. … When you go through some things that some of these guys go through, none of us will ever know. Sometimes it’s time to sit back and reflect about the importance of family and what that truly means. We’re with him, we’re here. We’re his family here. He’ll fight through it, and we expect him back when the time is right.”
Harris first missed practice Wednesday, and he is not expected to return to the field until later this week. The former Tornadoes star quarterback has tweeted a series of emotional tributes to Hallman, including, “Didn’t drop a tear in so long,” “Never thought I could hurt this bad,” and “Watch over me and guide me lil rich.”
Meanwhile, Harris wasn’t Florida’s only playmaker to miss practice, as electric wideout Brandon Powell has been shut down after reaggravating a foot injury. Powell, a sophomore from Deerfield Beach, will be sidelined indefinitely.
“We’re going to hold him, which is a big loss because he was flying around and making plays,” McElwain said.
“He’ll be back.”
Powell, who was transitioning from tailback to wideout this spring, had foot surgery last March. McElwain said UF’s medical staff recently found “a hot spot” in Powell’s foot where doctors had inserted a screw.
“I’m one of these coaches that will not put a player out there until [his injury] is all cleared,” McElwain said.
“We’re going to hold him from any contact, scrimmage work, all that stuff, until we get a shoe fitted and make sure we not mess that [up].”
Powell is projected as Florida’s starting slot receiver this fall after catching 15 passes for 147 yards and one score as a running back last season.