Eight Florida Gators in senior games

The Florida Gators will be well represented in senior games as a total of eight players have accepted invitations to play in three separate games this month.

Each game serves as another opportunity for seniors to showcase their skills in front of scouts as all 32 NFL teams are represented at practices and games. Two of the games will air on the NFL Network.

Up first is the Casino Del Sol College All-Star Game in Tucson, Ariz., at 7 p.m. on Friday.  Florida receivers Frankie Hammond Jr. and Omarius Hines will play in the game that will be broadcasted live on ESPN3. It’s the second year the game has been played.

Three Gators will play in the 2013 East-West Shrine Game, which kicks off at 4 p.m. on Jan. 19 in St. Petersburg, Fla. Safety Josh Evans, linebacker Lerentee McCray and kicker Caleb Sturgis will represent Florida on the East squad. It will air on the NFL Network.

The 2013 Under Armour Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., closes out the senior game slate for the Gators. Linebacker Jon Bostic accepted his invitation on Wednesday to join UF running back Mike Gillislee and offensive tackle Xavier Nixon.

While Florida juniors Matt Elam and Sharrif Floyd are projected to go in the first two rounds, the seniors still have plenty of room to improve their draft stock with strong performances this month.

Sturgis and Bostic appear to be in the best shape of all of the seniors as ESPN ranks them No. 2 and No. 7, respectively at their positions. Floyd is the No. 29 prospect overall, regardless of position, while Elam comes in at No. 40.

The site also has Gillislee slotted as the No. 10 running back in this draft class.

Other positional rankings for Florida’s players who have declared are Jelani Jenkins (No. 3), McCray (33), Nixon (33), Omar Hunter (41), Evans (47), Hines (54) and Hammond (87).

Junior tight end Jordan Reed does not appear in the ESPN database for the 2013 draft class despite declaring last week. Other sites have him projected to be drafted in the fifth or sixth round although one GC source said he receive much better feedback than that from the NFL College Advisory Committee.

GatorCountry.com will provide live coverage of each game, including practice updates, and will have reporters at the East-West Shrine Game and the Under Armour Senior Bowl.

Here’s a look at the schedule for the senior games. All times ET:

2013 Casino Del Sol College All-Star Game
Tucson, Ariz., 7 p.m., Jan. 11, ESPN 3
Florida players (Jersey No.): Frankie Hammond (10), Omarius Hines (5)

2013 East-West Shrine Game
St. Petersburg, Fla., 4 p.m., Jan. 19, NFL Network
Florida players (Jersey No.): Josh Evans (24), Lerentee McCray (34), Caleb Sturgis (17)

2013 Under Armour Senior Bowl
Mobile, Ala., 4 p.m., Jan. 26, NFL Network
Florida players*: Jon Bostic, Mike Gillislee, Xavier Nixon
*Jersey number have yet to be announced.

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Mike Capshaw brings a wealth of experience to the Gator Country team. He’s been overseeing all editorial aspects of GatorCountry.com and Gator Country magazine by managing our team of staffers, interns and freelancers. He is now moving into a bigger role as a reporter by covering the football and basketball beats as well as providing coverage of all sports on campus. Mike’s 15 years in the business has included more than six years of covering SEC sports and recruiting at a daily newspaper in Arkansas. He has also helped launch a newspaper, magazines, websites and even a sports talk radio show. Because Mike puts family ahead of his career, he left the place where he was established when his wife received an opportunity to further her career at UF. He took a leap of faith that he could find a job in the Gainesville area and worked for a year at a newspaper group before joining the Gator Country family in November, 2011. Mike has won Florida Press Association awards for Best Sports Game Story and Best Sports Feature Story in the past two years as well as a company-wide award at his former newspaper group that includes some 60 publications, for Excellence in Sports Reporting. You can follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeCapshawGC.