The Florida Gators football team is sitting on a 24 man recruiting class at this point with the decommitment of linebacker Quinton Powell yesterday. Considering they are looking at upwards of twelve plus recruits remaining on their board, there looks to be quite a bit of offseason attrition in order to get to the magic number of 85 scholarship athletes.
I do not wish to get into all the mathematics of where the roster is and how many need to blah, blah, blah…
I’ll simply give you a list of guys who will definitely be gone due to graduation, likely to be gone due to early entry to the NFL draft, and likely to be gone due to other reasons, i.e. transfer, graduation with eligibility, injury, etc…
Nick Alajajian (DL), Jon Bostic (LB), Josh Evans (S), Mike Gillisllee (RB), Frankie Hammond (WR), Omarius Hines (TE), Omar Hunter (DL), Larentee McCray (LB), Xavier Nixon (OL), Earl Okine (DL), Sam Robey (OL), Caleb Sturgis (K), James Wilson (OL).
Possible Early Entry
Sharrif Floyd (DL)-likely to leave, Matt Elam (S)-strong possibility, Jordan Reed (TE)-likely, Jelani Jenkins (LB)-strong possibility
Possibility to leave due to other factors
Stephen Alli (graduating with eligibility)-has played sparingly on special teams only. Not likely to return on scholarship.
Jeremy Brown (graduating with eligibility)-medical issues have kept him off the field the last two seasons and will likely move on.
Matt Patchan (graduating with a possibility of medical hardship)-like Brown has barely seen the field due to numerous injuries not likely to return at least not on scholarship. He probably will hang up his cleats for good at this point.
Jacoby Brissett is likely to transfer as he is a clear backup at best if he stays. Not definite, just likely.
Tyler Murphy is merely a scout team quarterback at best and odds are he won’t remain on scholarship.
Mack Brown has barely seen the field his whole career and was beat out this season by true freshman Matt Jones. That’s really all you need to know here. With two, possibly three, big time recruits coming at the position next season, look for Brown to transfer out.
Chris Johnson, like Mack Brown, has little likelihood of seeing the field at running back and was moved there last season from defense so there’s an even smaller chance he sees the field at linebacker or safety. His only playing time has been at special teams and that is where he will stay if he stays which is not likely at this point.
De’Ante “Pop” Saunders is in the doghouse for unspecified reasons. He didn’t play much late in the season and is suspended for the bowl game and indefinitely. There was a rumor started by a Gator blog that Saunders was transferring to Ohio State and that Andre Debose was booted from the team and was transferring to Louisville. Neither was true. Debose is eligible and likely to play in the bowl game. Saunders, however, may be contemplating a transfer, any time you have a player violating team rules and dealing with suspension there is always a strong chance one of two things happens: either the staff relieves the player of their scholarship if they do not meet requirements or the player chooses to leave and seek greener pastures elsewhere, kind of a new start. Not sure of the severity of the transgression as the staff is very mum on these types of things but the likelihood of Saunders seeking a transfer is much greater at this point than of him being booted from the team. He is a good player and still figures into the mix in the defensive backfield down the road as long as he meets requirements. That may be a big “if” however.
Realistically, with the quality of the players already committed and the quality of players that are giving Florida a look at this point, particularly at positions of extreme need right now such as wide receiver, the Gators could be looking at a 30+ player signing class which would mean significant attrition. Look for the guys that have contributed little positionally whether due to lack of talent, lack of effort, or medical issues to be gone from the roster after this season as Muschamp attempts to build depth with “his guys” at this point.
Last season was a revelation for Muschamp dealing with lack of depth, attitude issues, and poor “fits” for his system. After weeding out the bad apples last season and sorting through the remaining players this season seeing who was on-board and who was a good fit, look for more weeding out in the offseason as Muschamp seeks to upgrade the base level of talent in the program across the board. This is his first true class from top to bottom where he’s been able to build the long-term relationships necessary in recruiting. With the success of this past season as well as an upgrade in the staff with the hiring of Joker Phillips, the Gators are starting to get late looks from top level guys who want in on an SEC program ready to compete with Alabama.
Look for another story in the next day or two with some new guys giving the Gators a look at this point. They could realistically close with one of those top classes for the ages that may well bring more championships to Gainesville. It’s a great time to be a Gator and Gator Nation should be getting very excited over what’s happening right now with Gator recruiting.