By Mark Long, AP Sports Author
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) – No. 10 Florida will be without its top four pass catches in the Cotton Bowl against eighth-ranked Oklahoma.
Trevors Grimes and Katherys Tony announced on Monday that they were leaving the game in Arlington, Texas to prepare for their NFL futures. Fellow receiver Jacob Copeland announced that he would not travel after testing positive for COVID-19. The All-American Tight and Kyle Pitts dropped out of the Bowl Hours after the South-Eastern Conference championship game.
His absence sees Florida trying to convert four men who in 2020 tried to catch 174 passes for 2,778 yards and 34 touchdowns. Justin Shorter, Zezvier Henderson and Trent Whitemore are expected to receive additional playing time in their place.
Grimes, a 6-foot 4 senior from Fort Lauderdale, thanked coaches for allowing him to relocate from Ohio State in December 2017 and thanked teammates for “the bond I built with my journey”. He said that “playing football at the highest level in the NFL has been my lifelong dream.”
Tony, a 6-foot senior from Mobile to Alabama, thanked his family and both coaching staff for helping him during his time in Gainesville. “I can’t imagine a second program preparing better for the next step in my career,” he said.
Grimes and Tony already accepted an invitation to play in the Senior Bowl at Mobile, another opportunity to impress NFL officials. He is expected to participate in the NFL combine in Indianapolis.
Grimes had 38 receptions for 589 yards and nine touchdowns this season. He finished his college career with 100 catches for 1,464 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Tony was at his best this season, catching 70 catches for 984 yards and 10 touchdowns. He ran 19 times for 161 yards and a score. He finished his college career with 1,590 yards rushing, 715 yards rushing and 16 total touchdowns.
Pitts is expected to be a top-15 draft pick, and Grimes and Tony could also go in the opening round.
Grimes has a rare combination of size, speed and body control, and he would probably outnumber Florida. He didn’t have a deep group of pass catchers that included Pitts and Tony’s this season, and Van Jefferson, Tyree Cleveland, Freddie Swain, Josh Hammond, Pitts & Tony in 2019
Tony may not be as fast as Grimes, but he is one of the most shifty players in the country.
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