Gators star CB Vernon Hargreaves III out for Saturday with leg injury

Vernon Hargreaves III had started 23 straight games heading into Saturday.

Kim Klement/Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III won’t play against East Carolina because of a leg injury.

The Gators ruled Hargreaves out about a half hour before kickoff Saturday night, saying the junior All-American "tweaked a leg injury Thursday during practice." Hargreaves showed no problems in pre-game warmups. He didn’t wear a knee brace and even danced around during drills.

But Florida wanted to be cautious with its best defensive player, especially with the first of eight consecutive Southeastern Conference games beginning next week at Kentucky.

Hargreaves had started 23 consecutive games. He has 92 career tackles, 24 pass breakups and seven interceptions. He led the Southeastern Conference with 13 pass breakups in 2014.

Without him, the Gators are expected to start Jalen Tabor and Quincy Wilson at cornerback against the Pirates.