In Will Muschamp’s second season as coach, the Florida Gators have undergone a significant transformation on the field.
Last season, the Gators struggled to a 7-6 record, only finishing with a winning season because they were able to beat an equally underwhelming Ohio State team in the Gator Bowl.
This season, however, has been different.
No. 3 Florida (11-1, 7-1 Southeastern Conference) performed on the field well enough to earn a chance to play No. 21 Louisville in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 2.
Though the results have been a vast improvement from Muschamp’s first season, the football field is not the lone area the Gators have improved this season.
In a press conference held shortly after arriving at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport on Thursday, Muschamp spoke about his players who have excelled in the classroom this past semester.
“We had probably our best semester academically since I have been at Florida,” Muschamp said.
The Gators, according to Muschamp, had 39 players with a grade point average that was 3.0 or better. Of those 39 players, 10 were freshmen.
Muschamp praised the 10 first-year players — Raphael Andrades, Jon Bullard, Dante Fowler Jr., Antonio Morrison, Kent Taylor, Skyler Mornhinweg, Colin Thompson, Quinteze Williams, Austin Hardin and Alex McAllister — for performing well academically during their first fall semester at the University of Florida.
For those five freshmen who were also playing, the accomplishment was even more impressive, Muschamp said.
Senior linebacker Jon Bostic headlined three Gators who finished the semester with a sterling 4.0 GPA. Frankie Hammond Jr. and Tim Clark were the other two players who also accomplished the feat.
“That’s outstanding,” Muschamp said. “Really proud of our accomplishments off the field in the classroom.”