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Florida's Dickey gives up football for baseball


MrAndMrsFish
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) Florida two-sport athlete Gavin Dickey has given up football to concentrate on baseball.

Dickey spent the last two years playing both for the Gators. He was a backup quarterback and receiver on the football team and played outfield for the baseball team.

"Right now, I've just decided that it would be best if I focused on one sport coming up in the spring,'' Dickey said Wednesday. "I'm looking forward to that. I haven't had that opportunity yet, so I'm looking forward to the strides I can make coming up to this season.''

 

Dickey started his Florida career as a quarterback, playing two seasons behind starter Chris Leak and completing 11 of 15 passes for 127 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He moved to receiver last fall and caught one pass for 12 yards.

 

He also lined up at running back and receiver in previous years and returned kickoffs, but was unable to find a starting role.

 

He was more productive on the baseball diamond. Dickey sat out the 2003 season, but hit .273 in 34 games in 2004 and then became a full-time starter last season. He hit .292 with three home runs and 20 RBIs, started every postseason game in left field and helped the Gators reach the College World

Series for the fifth time in school history. They finished runner-up to Texas.

 

"I felt I have a lot more potential in baseball,'' said Dickey, a 5-foot-10 junior. ??I've done everything I could

possibly try to do to get better as a football player. I've invested hours and hours and hours, and I feel that I may have reached my peak with that sport. In baseball, I feel that the ceiling is higher and I have a lot more room to grow.''

 

Without Dickey, the Gators have two scholarship quarterbacks ? senior starter Chris Leak and highly touted freshman Tim Tebow. Cornelius Ingram, who gave up basketball last fall to concentrate on football, was moved to tight end before the Outback Bowl.

 

Ingram could move back to quarterback for spring practice, but coach Urban Meyer already has expressed a desire to have Tebow push Leak at the position.

 

Dickey said he started questioning playing both sports last spring because of the exhausting schedule of shuffling between football practice and baseball games.

 

"It was crazy,'' he said. "Just physically on your body, it tears you down.''

 

Dickey said he sat down with his parents after the bowl game and decided to give up football. But he said Meyer and both coaching staffs are open to him possibly rejoining the football team in the fall. He will remain on football scholarship through at least the spring semester.

 

"Coach Meyer, I'll be forever thankful to him because he gave me the opportunity to play in some games in The Swamp and that's something I can tell my kids and something that I'll remember forever,'' Dickey said.

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