Opt Outs, Missed Practices and Updates From Florida Gators Players

Updated: This story was updated August 21, 2020 at 12:31am to reflect new information provided by Trevon Grimes on social media.

Dan Mullen doesn't want to provide names or details about reported missed practices, but he doesn't mind confirming the situation.

On Monday, following the Florida Gators first official day of fall camp, Mullen told reporters, "We had a couple guys not practice today, but we'll see how that goes moving forward for us."

Zach Goodell of Sports Illustrated All Gators reported the hold outs were receivers Trevon Grimes, Kadarius Toney and Jacob Copeland along with defensive end Zach Carter.

Mullen was hesitant to confirm names but added, "that's for those guys, if they want to share that, I'm sure they will with you."

There is an understandable assumption that missing practice will lead to opt-outs for the season. The NCAA and SEC have told athletes that if they want to sit out the season due to COVID-19 concerns, they will not lose a year of eligibility.

Mullen has said don't be shocked if the Gators have those cases this fall.

"I wouldn't be surprised if you have guys opt out. I'm going to support them fully. Really wouldn't be surprised if we had coaches opt out, to be honest with you. Coaches are at such high risk because of the age group that they're in. So statistically I think coaches are probably even at a higher risk. I think when you look at those things, but we'll figure it out. We're going to adapt to whatever happens as we continue to move forward.

"I think it's the team that's able to adapt best to whatever situation -- there's a lot of moving parts -- and the team that's able to adapt will end up holding up that national championship trophy at the end of the season."

Grimes, Toney and Carter have all since taken to social media to seemingly address their absence. There also seems to be a theme among their posts—that they still plan to play.

Grimes hasn't said outright if this is the reason he has concerns, but his mother did battle cancer a few years ago. It's why he transferred from Ohio State to Florida, to be closer to home.

Toney and Carter have both revealed losing loved ones to COVID-19 over the summer, spurring their concern with playing a season during a pandemic without the best protection.

Grimes is the latest to post his plans to play, tweeting his intentions late Thursday night.

Carter also posted his plans to play, doing so Thursday morning. Mullen told reporters on Thursday that while he had not spoken to Carter by that point yet in the day (this was around 12:30 in the afternoon), he understood the difficulty and would continue to support whatever decision his players made.

"I think it’s tough on everybody. These are unique times, and like I said, it’s just something else. We have players that deal with all kinds of different things, you know, that have dealt with all kinds of different issues, lots of different family issues, so many different things that are going on right now and everybody handles things differently and everybody’s got to kind of make their own decisions about what’s going on and where they’re at and our job is to just kind of help guide them and manage them and support them in their decisions."

Grimes and Toney have been seen as the Gators two best returning receivers, both seniors. While neither had team leading numbers in 2019, it was largely due to four senior receivers—Van Jefferson, Josh Hammond, Freddie Swain and Tyrie Cleveland—having that covered. Grimes had 33 catches for 491 yards and three touchdowns his junior year. Toney posted 10 receptions for 194 yards and one touchdown, in addition to 12 rushes for 59 yards. Copeland finished his redshirt freshman season with 21 receptions for 273 yards and two touchdowns.

Carter concluded his sophomore year in 2019 with 31 total tackles, 4.5 sacks for 54 yards, two pass breakups, four quarterback hurries and one forced fumble.

Their most recent posts concerning missed practices, opt outs and playing the 2020 season are below:

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