Orange Park, Fla. – The Jacksonville Sharks’ 2014 training camp continued Monday, as field conditions and impeding rain postponed the team’s first scheduled day of full-contact hitting. Though the Sharks were unable to take the field for a full practice on Monday, the team used the extra time for mental preparation. Players and coaches studied film and conducted a walk-through designed to further acclimate players with the team’s system.
Because of the postponement of Monday’s practice, the team is now scheduled to hold its full-contact workout of 2014 on Tuesday. The 24-hour delay should serve to make Tuesday’s workout that much more intense, as veterans and rookies alike are eager to show what they can do at full speed.
Receivers in Focus
Heading into this season, the Sharks feature a talented and balanced group of receivers. The group at wideout is led by three veteran Sharks, as Jeron Harvey, London Crawford and Shamar Graves are all back in the fold for 2014. Those three players have a combined seven years of AFL experience, and accounted for 42 of the team’s 84 touchdown receptions a year ago. A fifth-year Shark, Harvey is coming off of a career season, in which team-leading totals of 146 receptions, 1,593 yards and 39 touchdowns resulted in his earning his first All-Arena selection.
Joining the three returning Sharks is another veteran in Jeremy Kelley, who played with the Utah Blaze in 2012. At 6-foot-7, Kelley brings tremendous size to the Jacksonville receiving corps, and he also comes with knowledge of the National Football League, spending time with the Indianapolis Colts in 2013.
Another player with NFL experience is AFL rookie Mardy Gilyard, whose athleticism looks to be an asset to the Sharks this season. A Flagler Palm Coast High School alum, Gilyard was selected by the St. Louis Rams in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft and played in the NFL for four seasons. Including Gilyard, the Sharks have a promising crop of rookies in camp this year, as Andrew Bodenheimer (East Carolina), Willie Carter (Howard) and Tristan Purifoy (North Alabama) have all made an impact in the first few days of practice.
Sharks quarterback R.J. Archer has had a chance to work with each of the team’s receivers. Following Sunday’s practice, Archer discussed the versatility of this position group, which features a mix of speed, quickness, size and strength.
“I think there will be some tough choices at the end of camp for the coaches,” Archer said. “Even the guys that have the most speed are not that small. They’re 5-10, 5-11, close to six feet. Then we’ve got Jeron, Jeremy Kelley, a couple of guys that are 6-5, 6-6, and about everywhere in between. It’s nice to be able to throw to those options for sure.”
The Sharks are scheduled to return to the practice field on Tuesday morning for what will be the first contact workout of training camp. Tuesday’s practice will be held at Plantation Park, located at 3060 Race Track Rd. in St Johns. Practice is scheduled to start at 8:30 a.m.
About the Jacksonville Sharks
The Jacksonville Sharks are members of the Arena Football League (AFL). The ArenaBowl XXIV and four-time South Division Champions are presented by Sea Best Seafood and play all home games on Sea Best Field at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. Season Tickets for the 2014 season are now available, two tickets for as low as $185. To purchase your season tickets or for more information, please call (904) 621-0700. Follow the Sharks on facebook at facebook.com/jaxsharks and on Twitter @jaxsharks, as well as the Attack Dance Team at facebook.com/sharkattackdance and Chum at facebook.com/chumsharks.
About the AFL
Since its inception in 1987, the Arena Football League has showcased a fast-paced and exciting game to millions of fans in a myriad of markets across the country. The ESPN family of networks and CBS Sports Network will nationally broadcast AFL games each week for the entire season. The AFL schedule then culminates with the ArenaBowl Championship game live on ESPN.