Shoulder injury ends Jackson’s Gators career

By Adam Silverstein
February 9, 2014

Updated on Monday at 12:30 p.m.

According to a report from The Moultrie Observer published on Feb. 4, the college football playing career of redshirt freshman offensive lineman Octavius Jackson will end without him seeing action in a single game for the Florida Gators due to a chronic shoulder injury.

Florida confirmed Monday afternoon that the school has “recently submitted documentation to the Southeastern Conference for a medical exception” on Jackson’s behalf, in a statement the program released via Twitter.

Jackson, a three-star prospect out of Colquitt County High School in Moultrie, GA who joined the team last season, plans to finish out his final three years of college by signing a medical hardship waiver and remaining with the Gators “as a student assistant … so that at some point he can get into coaching.”

Florida head coach Will Muschamp said in Aug. 2013 that Jackson was dealing with shoulder issues throughout fall camp.

In late October, he noted that Jackson had been taking part in practice and being considered to see time as a replacement on the Gators’ struggling unit.

However, Jackson never saw the field and received a redshirt for his freshman campaign despite dressing for 10 of 12 games in 2013.

On Jan. 13, Muschamp announced that Jackson had surgery the week prior to repair a chronic shoulder injury that was still giving him problems

“We’ll know more about his future in the coming weeks,” he said. “He’s having some issues there with his shoulder.”

The Observer’s Wayne Grandy reports that Jackson had surgery on his labrum before his senior year of high school and “reinjured it during a [Florida] practice … last season.”

Coming out of his second surgery on the joint in three years, Jackson has reportedly made the tough decision to take a new path in his football career.

“I really wanted to have an impact on this program and the school,” he told the paper, “but I’m getting through it.”

Jackson was expected to have a legitimate shot at playing in 2014 with two starting spots opening up on the Gators’ offensive line.

A Florida spokesman reached Monday morning said the team was “looking into” the report and could not provide further comment. will updated this post as applicable.


  1. Gatorgrad79 says:

    Seriously hoping he will be able to do whatever is necessary to finish his degree, student assistant or whatever and graduate with a bright future! Good luck Octavius!

  2. Champ Supporter says:

    Adam, how does this work? Is Florida allowed to try to get a player this late or will they just have an additional scholarship for 2015?

  3. gatorboi352 says:

    Adam, you mention with this news that Florida now has 3 schollys open. Is that common at this stage of a given year?

    • It’s not uncommon. Teams usually hold scholarships for National Signing Day and then when some kids don’t commit, they’re open. Last year, Florida had five open but took two players late – the punter Johnny Townsend and someone else – forgetting this second. The Gators don’t seem to have any back-burner guys this year and are probably just going to roll the scholarships over to next year. The three open ones will probably go to walk-ons for this season, giving them full-ride scholarships for one year.

  4. Matt says:

    I think the guy you are referring to is Trevon Young. I wonder if the staff knew this was likely prior to signing day? We took a lot of OLineman.

  5. Tim says:

    It’s not uncommon to have scholarships open. Keep in mind that this was initially going to be a signing class of 15 that many thought would open up to be 18 to 20 or so and actually opened up to 25 after the transfers and early NFL entries. Should help us next year, especially if our offense improves and becomes more exciting under Roper. It will definitely create some opportunities for a few Walk-ons this year.

  6. Dave Massey says:

    Hey Adam,

    With all the transfers Florida had (eight I believe) and the early entries into the NFL and now Octavius out permanently how come the Gators didn’t have even more scholarships available since 25 is the normal amount you can sign in one year anyways. Thanks.

    • 25 is the maximum you can have in a year if you have the available space on your roster. (Technically you can take more if you have a bunch enroll early and count back to open scholarship spots from the previous year.)

      Florida was well under that number prior to the end of the season. Defections to the NFL and transfers left Florida with the ability to take more than 25 once everything shook out. But it still did not.

  7. ntcrze says:

    Does it really matter about scholarships open for this staff? Let’s hope they don’t use them and they are left for the next coach and his staff. Coming into this year, going back to the 2010 class, with the added 6th year 5-star, Andre Debose, UF doesn’t need any one for this staff to screw up. According to Rival’s recruiting rankings, Only one team has done a better job of recruiting than the Gators. That team is Alabama who have been number one in four of those five years. Not FSU, not LSU, not Auburn, etc. UF has had the highest rated classes of anyone besides Alabama. Last year this team was 4-8. THe injury thing is just an excuse, UF was horrible against Miami and the offensive line was the only one that made Miami’s horrific defensive line look good. Since the only team UF plays this year that has better talent, based on recruiting, than Florida this year is Alabama, anything less than an 11-1 record and a trip to Atlanta means something is rotten in Gainesville. Either UF does a better job of taking overrated players than anyone else in the country or the coaches don’t do a good job of teaching them how to play. I just find it astounding that UF can be expected to be mediocre again this year citing the above facts. UF probably won’t be ranked to start the season and will have little chance to be so since they start with three cupcakes. If UF isn’t competitive with Alabama, you’ll have to wonder if Gainesville is the place where 5-stars go to die.

    • Dave Massey says:

      Open scholarships do matter, it is a way to build depth, which Florida did not have last year. When you only have 52 scholarship players available for a game it is an issue. And you can’t exactly stockpile scholarships for future possible staffs. Trying to base strength of schedule on recruiting class rankings is ridiculous. These rankings are mostly done by the interest universities show in recruits, not on actual observations done by the sportswriters who do them. They’ve never seen 99% of these recruits play a full game, they only see some highlight tapes. Recruiting rankings really are garbage. There are always a lot of recruits that don’t work out and a lot of recruits that aren’t highly recruited that are way better than predicted, and this doesn’t happen at just Florida. The injury situation was not an excuse, it was a fact. Florida was basically playing the majority of the year with a guy at QB that they expected to be 5th string. Brissett tucked his tail between his legs and whined his way out of town because he didn’t want to wait. If he had stayed he would have been the starter after Driskell got injured. Instead he got to go collect splinters on his butt while he sat out this year. Florida didn’t want to play Staver this year because they wanted the redshirt year even though he was higher on the depth chart than Mohrningweh. Then he tucks tail and runs because he didn’t get to play right away. Recruiting rankings only really look at raw talent. The difference in competition between high school and college is huge so it really is difficult to tell how a guy is going to do against real competition and find out what kind of heart and attitude he is going to have as a competitor. In case you didn’t notice 8 of the top 10 recruiting classes were in the SEC this year, this is what we live with. There is not that much difference between 1 and 10 on the field. I don’t know if you were watching the same Miami game I was but Florida had over 40 minutes of possession time and almost outgained Miami 2 to 1. They had a blown coverage on defense and 3 turnovers in the red zone. Don’t see how Miami’s defensive line really affected the outcome of that game. If you think Florida is going to be 11-1 and in Atlanta with Driskell at QB, who by the way was the #1 rated dual threat QB coming out, you’re crazy. The guy can’t read defenses, can’t throw accurately down the field, and panics in the pocket. As far as the staff goes everybody thought that Weis and Pease were great hires and they turned out to be terrible. Weis is really building a powerhouse at Kansas isn’t he. Give Roper and the rest of the staff the opportunity to improve the team and it may not be this year. And it doesn’t matter where you start the season ranked only where you end it, after all Florida was ranked something like fifth starting last year.

      • ntcrze says:

        It’s just excuses again about why the Gators were terrible. Spurrier said statistics are for losers. Miami made plays to win the game, UF didn’t, end of story. As for not seeing improvement this year, do you really think Roper and the rest of the coaches will be around in 2015 if UF doesn’t make at least a 100% improvement over last year’s record? There’s no time to left for a coach who loses four in a row to Georgia and three of four to FSU. Yes, Driskel stinks, but after playing three cupcakes to start the year, another quarterback should see the field when he bombs at Alabama, then there will be hope for the future.

        • Dave Massey says:

          The injuries Florida had last year, particularly at quarterback was certainly a factor in the Gators record, that is not an excuse, as I said it’s a fact. There’s not a team in the country that wouldn’t have had their record seriously affected if they had had the injuries Florida had. I was just disagreeing with the comment about Miami’s defensive line looking good, Florida moved the ball up and down the field on them. But I agree that they didn’t make the necessary plays to win, which they didn’t and that’s always the bottom line. A 100% improvement would be eight wins. I think if Florida wins eight or nine games the coaching staff will return with the schedule Florida is playing. If they win four again I doubt it, you don’t keep a job like Florida with back to back losing records no matter what the circumstances. I don’t think they will have to win eleven games, the East, or the SEC for Muschamp to stay but there better be some serious improvement in the performance of the offense no matter what their record ends up being. Being ranked above one hundred in offense every year just won’t cut it. I hope Grier will be ready by game four because I think they will need him, I don’t think they will be able to redshirt him, and I think he is the future at QB, so the sooner he sees the field the better. Even if he takes some lumps and goes through growing pains. Thanks.

          • ntcrze says:

            I agree partially with you but there are teams that overcame significant injuries and did not fall apart like the Gators. The Gators defense, for one, fell apart after the injury to Easley, they never stopped anyone with a winning record after that game. Is he the only person that could be a leader on that defense? People blame the offense, that’s understandable when the coach does the same. Muschamp was stupid to throw the offense under the bus, for example, after the Georgia Southern game. Thye defense got run over for 459 yards on the ground anfd you blame the offense? This happens after the defensive coordinator says they had been working on Georgia Southern since the summer. When you have an offense that is struggling, they need some encouragement. that didn’t happen. As seen against Georgia Southern, Vandy, etc., the Gators would somehow score to make the game close and gain momentum, and what would then happen? The defense would just let the other team march down the fielsd and score to take any momentum away. The injury stuff does happen to other teams and they don’t fall apart like the Gators. Three come to mind from last season, Georgia, Oklahoma, and Georgia Southern. Of the three, Georgia Southern didn’t lay down and their injuries were far more devastating than UF’s. Georgia at least went to a bowl. By the way, both of them beat UF. Finally, Oklahoma lost their quarterback and had other devastating injuries, but still made a BCS game and beat mighty Alabama. The injury excuse is just that, an excuse. As I pointed out earlier, if you have the best players in the country outside of Alabama, you should find a way to not lose to an FCS team and go 4-8.

  8. SWFL Joe says:

    I hope he and his family are smart enough to get multiple opinions on this and not just rely on what Shands and the UF staff are telling him.

  9. DRU2012 says:

    Dave et al:
    Thanks for the well-informed, well-considered and well-expressed level-headed responses–and most of all, thanks for answering foolishness with facts and insight that make it unnecessary for ME to cover it all, point-by-point. A welcome (and satisfying) relief.

  10. ntcrze says:

    Hey Adam, I think you’re missing out on a great feature for the upcoming season. UF’s solution on offense is already on campus and he’s a Heisman candidate. IF you want to LOL, check out Bleacher’s Report on the fastest backs in the SEC. Check out who is number 1.

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