The Florida football team could get a tremendous boost if Ronald Powell comes back healthy, and it sounds like he is on track.
Powell, a defensive end and outside linebacker, missed last season while enduring two major surgeries to repair the ACL in his left knee. As he gets ready to plunge into the offseason conditioning program, he appears to be ready.
“I can’t wait,” Florida coach Will Muschamp said. “I’m looking forward to it. I don’t know if I’m more excited or him. The guy’s worked hard.
“There will be a couple moments early on to feel that contact and taking on that 300-pounder and understanding that your leg’s gonna be OK. Any injured player goes through that. But when you talk to him about playing, he gets a smile on his face. He thinks about it every day.”
Muschamp added that Powell is medically cleared for all conditioning activities this summer.
As a sophomore in 2011, he led the team with six sacks and seemed to be developing into an SEC-caliber pass rusher. He tore his ACL in the ensuing spring game, however, and has been out ever since. He will be a red-shirt junior this fall.
Status quo: As of now, it looks like the only off-season departure will be offensive lineman Jessamen Dunker. Muschamp said there are no roster changes or new injury announcements at this time.
Dunker, from Boynton Beach High School, still has a felony theft case pending in Alachua County, as well as two misdemeanors. Muschamp said last month he and Dunker reached a mutual decision that he should transfer.
Muschamp said Wednesday they have yet to hammer out the details of his release. Once Dunker completes the spring semester, they will talk about potential restrictions and destinations.
Keep it tame: Muschamp began his annual Gator Gathering booster club speaking tour with an event at the Hilton in Gainesville.
In each of his first spring circuits, he made mildly inflammatory comments about Miami and Texas A&M. When the subject of traveling to Missouri for a game this fall came up, he answered carefully.
“I’m really looking forward to going to Columbia, Missouri,” he said dryly. “It’s a wonderful place.”