GAINESVILLE — Florida Gators DB Vernon Hargreaves III, a third-team All-American as a freshman last season and a former Wharton High star, suffered a knee injury Thursday night during the Gators’ first open practice of the season.
However, an MRI revealed that Hargreaves has only a bone bruise. He will be listed as day-to-day.
Hargreaves was hurt at the end of a play in which receivers and defensive backs got into a brief scuffle. Hargreaves briefly walked with a limp under a tent with his left knee packed in ice before being taken off the field on a cart.
The injury might have brought chills to the Gators after last season’s nightmare preseason in which offensive stars such as QB Jeff Driskel (appendectomy), RB Matt Jones (viral infection) and WR/KR Andre Debose (knee) were quickly sidelined. A rash of injuries followed as the team tumbled to a 4-8 season.
For the moment, it looks as if the Gators have escaped a first-week repeat.
Hargreaves was named the national defensive freshman of the year by College Football News and was a first-team freshman All-American on teams named by The Sporting News and others. He was also a first-team All-Southeastern Conference pick by The Associated Press and the league’s coaches.
Hargreaves finished tied for seventh in the conference with three interceptions and was second in the SEC in passes defended (1.17 per game). His 11 pass breakups tied for the most by a freshman in Gators history, matching Janoris Jenkins in 2008.
With Hargreaves likely to miss at least a day or two of practice, Florida could be forced to turn to freshmen to take up some slack.