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Former Florida defensive back Keiwan Ratliff played for the Florida Gators football program from 2000 to 2003 and would go on to win the SEC Defensive Player of the Year by The Sporting News in 2003.
Keiwan Ratliff signed with the Florida Gators out of Whitehall-Yearling High School near Columbus, Ohio.
He would then walk on stage during the NFL draft, getting drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the second-round, seven years he played in the NFL.
Keiwan Ratliff is currently living in Orlando and has worked with former Florida football players to stay in touch with the game he fell in love with, to also stay in touch with the Florida Gators football program.
Since his days of playing football, Keiwan Ratliff has been mentoring and training kids, who are involved in football.
"I talk to kids about getting their degree when they go to college and I help them get scholarships and train,'' Keiwan Ratliff said. "I kind of felt like a hypocrite, preaching to them all the time about not letting these institutions take advantage of you, make sure that degree is the No. 1 priority while you are there. I didn't actually live those words."
He admits that school work always came second behind football.
When Keiwan Ratliff decided to enter the NFL draft, he was approximately 30 credit hours short of his degree in sociology, in 2015, he re-enrolled at the University of Florida and made a promise to himself that he would get his degree.
Keiwan Ratliff will be graduating, walking that stage Saturday to receive his degree. (Florida commencement ceremonies)
His kids, his wife, his mother, brothers, nieces and former teammates will all be there to watch him receive his degree.
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Former Gator quarterback Luke Del Rio made a statement early today regarding the ongoing quarterback at the University of Florida.
According to him, Feleipe Franks is the current leader in the competition, the favorites to win the starting job is Kyle Trask, Feleipe Franks and Emory Jones in no exact order depending on who you ask.
Luke Del Rio also added that Florida football head coach Dan Mullen has not made a decision on who will be the starting quarterback, however, Luke Del Rio said Feleipe Franks has been the most consistent quarterback during fall camp.
This what Luke Del Rio said earlier today:
“So I’ve talked to a couple of people within the team — I’ll just say they have seen it with their own eyes; apparently, Feleipe Franks has pulled ahead by a little bit,” Luke Del Rio said. “Not saying it’s over, not saying other guys aren’t getting reps. This guy just said he’s been the most consistent and he’s played the best so far. So looks like the Vegas odds were correct, in having him as the favorite."
He also said this:
“I asked, ‘Well, is Kyle Trask pushing him?’ He said, ‘Yeah, still pushing him just Feleipe is being more consistent.’ I said, ‘What about Emory (Jones)?’ He said that Emory is playing like a freshman right now, super talented but makes stupid decisions sometimes.”
We do know that Dan Mullen wants to announce a starter before the opening game.
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Former defensive backs Lito Sheppard and Reggie Nelson are both heading to the University of Florida's Athletic Hall of Fame.
Was announced Monday by the University of Florida.
Former Florida defensive back Lito Sheppard played for the Florida Gators football program from 1999-2001, including the 2000 SEC Championship team. He was titled All-American during the 2000 and 2001 season, finishing his career at Florida with a total of 87 tackles, 3 forced fumbles and 8 interceptions.
I should also add that Lito Sheppard the started in the 2000 Citrus Bowl and started the 2001 Sugar Bowl. College was not the end of his football career, he was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the first round during the 2002 NFL draft.
He would then play a total of seven seasons with the Eagles and become a two-time Pro Bowl.
Teams He Also Played For:
New York Jets
He would end his NFL career with a total of 345 tackles and 19 interceptions
While at UF, Sheppard was a member of the 2000 SEC Championship team and Nelson contributed to the 2006 SEC and National Championship team.
Former Florida defensive back Reggie Nelson played two seasons for the Florida Gators football program during the 2005 and 2006 seasons. Because he received multiple awards, I shall put them down below.
Consensus first-team All-American in 2006
Finalist for the 2006 Jim Thorpe Award
Finalist for the 2006 Bronko Nagurski Award
2006 All-SEC First Team
He finished his career at Florida with a total of 51 tackles and 6 interceptions.
And again, Reggie Nelson did not end his football career at Florida, during the 2007 NFL draft, he was selected as the 21st overall pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
I should also add he was named to the NFL All-Rookie Team during the 2007 season.
He would then go on to play three seasons with Jacksonville Jaguars, another six with the Cincinnati Bengals and is now playing his third season with the Oakland Raiders.
As of now, he has earned two Pro Bowl selections during the 2015 and 2016 season, with a total of 802 tackles, 99 pass deflections, including 36 interceptions.
Photo is owned by the University of Florida and information was gathered from there as well.
Justin Stinson is a blogger who covers the Florida Gators, he mainly covers football and Basketball. He's also an recruiting analyst.