The Florida Gators have released sophomore safety De’Ante “Pop” Saunders from the team according to several media reports today. Additionally, it is being reported that redshirt junior offensive lineman Matt Patchan will transfer out as well.
Saunders, who was suspended from the team in November for violations of team rules has been rumored to be seeking a transfer since the season ended.
He did not play in the last two games of the season and was ruled out of the Sugar Bowl by coach Will Muschamp.
He’s had a checkered career in Gainesville. A solid starter at safety his two seasons, he just couldn’t seem to stay out of Muschamp’s doghouse.
He was arrested for possession of marijuana in May of 2011 and sat out the first two games of this season for disciplinary reasons. He was also suspended for last season’s Alabama game for undisclosed reasons.
He’s been a versatile player for the Gators starting at safety and filling in at corner and at punt returner. He played in eight games this season, starting seven,and had 18 total tackles, one interception, and one fumble recovery with four pass breakups. Last season as a true freshman he played in 12 games, starting nine of them.
It’s unclear where he intends to transfer but at this point the likeliest destination is Louisville, which has taken in a number of ex-Florida players the last few seasons.
Patchan, a sixth year senior who has been plagued by numerous injuries throughout his Gator career, is another who has been rumored to be seeking a transfer before he announced it today.
He has suffered season ending injuries every season he’s been on the roster and missed two seasons entirely in 2010 and again this season.
A leg injury cut short his freshman season in 2008 where he played in 11 games at defensive tackle. In 2009 he started four games before being sidelined for the rest of the season.
Last season he started seven games but went out again with a pectoral injury before the bowl game. He re-strained the pectoral muscle before the season and didn’t see action in any games this year.
He received a medical redshirt and will have one more season to play and is expected to transfer to either Ohio State to play for Meyer who recruited him to Florida or Boston College to play for Steve Addazio who was his offensive line coach under Meyer.