Gator Growl returns with new location

The countdown to Gator Growl ticks closer and closer to all zeros with kickoff coming at 6 p.m. on Friday night for arguably the largest student-run pep rally in the nation.

For the first time in its 90-plus year history, the Stephen C. O’Connell Center will host the rally. The night will open with the band Neon Trees and rapper Gunna will headline the show.

Skits and performances will come throughout the night by student organizations and athletics teams like the UF Cheerleaders, Dazzlers and the Pride of the Sunshine Marching Band.

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Perhaps the biggest star will be emcee Titus O’Neil. The former UF Gator under Steve Spurrier and NFL player turned WWE showstopper won the 2020 WWE Hall of Fame Warrior Award and is the global ambassador for the entertainment company.

“I’m looking forward to working with The Gator Growl team to showcase one of the many reasons that it’s great to be a Florida Gator,” O’Neil said in a press release.

Comedian Daphnique Springs will bring the laughs. The L.A. performer hails from Florida and has appeared on “How I Met Your Mother” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”

The doors open at 5 p.m. and tickets start at $25 for students and $45 for visitors with limited supplies remaining, and parking is first come, first serve. The O’Connell Center holds approximately 9,000 people.

The crowning jewel of homecoming week, Gator Growl will also feature the homecoming king and queen reveal while preparing Gator fans for the Saturday game against Vanderbilt.

Brady Alexander, executive producer of Gator Growl, said it takes more than 250 students to prepare and run the event.

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