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Marcell Harris’ decision and Randy Russell’s bad break dotted a busy day of news for Florida football

Veteran safety Marcell Harris was coming off a career-best season and poised to become the face of Florida’s young defense when those plans were dashed in an instant last summer.

A torn right Achilles tendon before the start of preseason camp would wipe out Harris’ redshirt senior season, but fortunately he still gets a shot to pursue his ultimate goals as he announced Thursday he will declare for the NFL draft rather than pursue an extra year of eligibility.

It’s a significant loss for the Gators, but not a surprising one considering what Harris would have risked by returning and exposing himself to the potential for another major injury.

For incoming freshman safety Randy Russell, meanwhile, the totally unexpected news he and his family received Thursday was much heavier.

Russell, a very impressive and likable young player from Miami Gardens, Fla., was found to have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition in which the heart muscle becomes abnormally thick. This was revealed during his physical at Florida, and it means the immediate end of his football career.

Russell was a highly intriguing 3-star prospect whose tenacity and approach to the game had convinced Florida’s coaching staff his modest size belied his upside, but the news here is more about the person than the player.

For Florida fans who won’t get the chance to see what he could have been on the field, read his poised and mature public response to