Florida will be missing freshman wide receiver/wildcat quarterback Kadarius Toney and sophomore defensive end Jabari Zuniga for tonight’s game against Texas A&M, according to ESPN’s College GameDay.
Both had been considered doubtful for the game from earlier comments in the week by Florida head coach Jim McElwain.
Toney’s absence hurts the Gators who already are missing star wide receiver Antonio Callaway, one of nine players suspended before the season, and Tyrie Cleveland, the team’s leading receiver who is out with an ankle sprain.
Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin doesn’t talk about injuries, but there’s speculation redshirt freshman quarterback Nick Starkel could be back this week or for the Mississippi State game on Oct. 28 after the bye week.
Starkel, who won the starting job in fall camp over true freshman Kellen Mond and senior Jake Hubenak, suffered a broken ankle in the season opener against UCLA. He had surgery the following week and Sumlin said that Mond and senior nickel back Donovan Wilson, who also had a foot injury in the game, would be out for a long time.
ESPN sideline reporter Holly Rowe reported during last week’s game against Alabama that Starkel could soon return.
Sumlin was coy when asked about that possibility at his Tuesday weekly press conference.
“We’ll see,” he said.
Mond has taken every snap in the last four games after getting bench in the second half of a 24-14 victory over Nicholls State. Hubenak replaced an ineffective Mond in that game to lead A&M on its last two scoring drives, but he didn’t play in next week’s 35-15 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette because of an injured shoulder, and hasn’t seen action since.
Mond helped A&M bounce back from a 45-44 season-opening loss to UCLA to win four straight before losing to top-ranked Alabama last week.
A&M’s first trip to “The Swamp” as a Southeastern Conference member is a big one for Sumlin, who is trying to put a trio of three straight. cbssports.com reported this week that Penn State officials were preparing for A&M to make a run at PSU head coach James Franklin should the Aggies decide to change coaches.
CBS Sports did not cite the source for the information. Franklin, who came from Vanderbilt, is from Western Pennsylvania, one of the reasons he went to the Nittany Lions.
A&M (4-2, 2-1) with a victory over Florida would be in great position to exceed eight victories, adding to the intrigue of the timing of the cbssports.com report. It would have been Franklin's agent, someone connected with the coach, or it could have been someone that wants to keep the pressure on Sumlin. The bottom line is the timing is strange or good, depending on your point of view.