Hoping to Play Cornerback, Cody Riggs Will Transfer from Florida

Later today, Florida head coach Will Muschamp will announce the transfer of Cody Riggs. Riggs started 12 games at safety, but hopes to return to his natural position of cornerback.

Cody Riggs, Florida Gators

Riggs spent his first three seasons at Florida at cornerback. He played in 26 games, starting 13, over the course of the 2010 and 2011 seasons. Riggs was improving and looking forward to a successful 2012 campaign when he injured his foot and took a redshirt. He was moved to safety for the 2013 and started all 12 games, finishing with 51 tackles

Riggs will have one season of eligibility remaining. There is no word on where he will transfer, but immediately playing time at cornerback will be the determining factor. Riggs ends his Florida career having appeared in 40 games, starting 26.

Gators Add Kicker; Brooks Abbott to Transfer to Florida

There may be one position on the Gators’ roster that is open to all competition more so than all others heading into the 2014 season. That position is, of course, kicker, and the competition is growing with the news that Brooks Abbott will transfer to Florida.

Brooks Abbott, Florida Gators

From Jacksonville, FL (Bolles), Abbott was one of the nation’s better high school kickers. He would commit to Virginia Tech after a senior season that saw him named an Army All-American. Abbott appeared in seven games for the Hokies in 2012, serving as a kickoff specialist. He spent the last year not playing football.

Because he already sat out a year while attending Florida State College at Jacksonville, Abbott will be eligible to play for the Gators immediately upon his arrival in Gainesville following the spring semester. Technically a preferred walk-on, Abbott can earn a scholarship if he wins the starting job.

The transfer gives the Gators two kickers that participated in national high school All-American games. Many will remember Austin Hardin’s appearance at the Under Armour All-American game. As stated, the competition is truly wide open and it’s anyone’s guess which kicker will come out on top.

Alex Murphy to Transfer from Duke to Florida; Erik Murphy’s Brother to Play for Gators

While the football program is routinely gutted by the transfer process, head men’s basketball coach Billy Donovan continues to convince those not happy with their current situations to come play for the Florida Gators. The latest to announce his intentions to transfer to Florida is forward Alex Murphy, younger brother of former Gators forward Erik Murphy.

Alex Murphy, Florida Gators

The younger Murphy was one of the nation’s better prospects coming out of high school. He was a four-star recruit across the four major services – 247, ESPN, Rivals, and Scout – and fell between No. 36 and No. 45 in overall rankings. Murphy committed to the Duke Blue Devils over Florida and redshirted his first season, 2011-12. Over the next season and a half, Murphy never became a consistent contributor for the Blue Devils, averaging 6.3 minutes in 2012-13 and 6.3 this season. Murphy only appeared in five of Duke’s 10 games this season.

When it became evident Murphy would look to pursue his college basketball career elsewhere, Florida became the logical choice. His No. 2 during the recruiting process, Murphy had come to know the Gators through both his brother and Donovan. There was a connection that benefitted Florida greatly when Murphy decided Duke was no longer for him.

Because of the timing of his transfer, Murphy will be eligible to play for the Gators one year from now, or about halfway through the 2014-15 season. He could become a big part of the rotation immediately as Florida loses Casey Prather, Will Yeguete, and Patric Young after this season. With Damontre Harris not an option and soon-to-be-playing freshman Chris Walker likely a one-and-done (or half-and-done to be accurate), the Gators need bigs. While Murphy plays a similar style of basketball as that of his older brother, he still has size and Florida will need it.

Florida Gators Transfer Roundup: Tyler Murphy Leads Offensive Exodus from Gainesville

As of the writing of the post, the Florida Gators have seen seven players announce their intentions to transfer. All seven players seeking to play football elsewhere are from the offensive side of the ball.

Tyler Murphy, Florida Gators

Leading the list of those intending to leave the University of Florida and pursue their athletic and academic careers elsewhere is redshirt junior quarterback Tyler Murphy. Murphy, who graduated this past Saturday, will be eligible to play immediately at whatever school chooses to accept him as a graduate student.

Despite being told by head coach Will Muschamp that there will be an open competition for the role of starting quarterback, Murphy decided to finish his career elsewhere. Few believe the competition to truly be open and Murphy was among those skeptics. It has long been believed that, if healthy, junior Jeff Driskel will return to the role he left after his season-ended injury against Tennessee.

Due to Driskel’s return, the decision to play redshirt freshman Skyler Mornhinweg when Murphy was himself hurt, and the impending arrival of recruit Will Grier, freshman Max Staver has also decided to transfer from the program. It was thought that Staver didn’t come off of the Florida bench when Murphy couldn’t play because he was a true freshman and the coaching staff didn’t want to lose his redshirt status to what was a lost season. With the possibility of being fourth or even fifth on the depth chart had Murphy stayed, Staver decided to leave as well.

While some think Murphy’s departure gives four-star prospect Grier a better chance to claim the starting spot at some point during the 2014 season, the incoming freshman may have his sights set on redshirting and learning all he can from the sidelines his first year. While Driskel is the starter and Mornhinweg does have experience at this point, if 2014 is anything like 2013, we may see Grier in action.

Also transferring is sophomore tight end Kent Taylor. Taylor came out of Land O’ Lakes, FL (Land O’ Lakes) as one of the top recruits at the tight end position, but leaves Florida after two seasons and only two receptions. Much more was expected when he signed with the Gators, but Taylor was never able to crack the lineup. A pass-catching tight end, Taylor was also the smallest scholarship player at the position on the roster. Not able to double as a blocker, Taylor was relegated to the sidelines during the 2013 season.

Redshirt junior offensive lineman Ian Silberman actually started four games during the 2013 season, but that was mostly due to injuries along the line. Silberman, like Murphy, graduated and will use the NCAA transfer rule to be immediately eligible with another program where he will look for increased playing time.

Redshirted freshmen Rhaheim Ledbetter and Quinteze Williams both elected to transfer after neither were able to find their way into the rotation on either side of the ball. Ledbetter came to Florida as a defensive back, but switched to fullback before the 2013 season. Williams couldn’t find a consistent role on either of the offensive or defensive lines.

Finally, freshman offensive lineman Trevon Young only needed one season to decide college football wasn’t for him. He is rumored to be hoping to play college basketball going forward.

With all seven transfers announced so far occurring on the offensive side of the ball, the struggles continue to mount for the Gators. In the midst of a slump that hasn’t been experienced in decades in Gainesville, the offense looks to rebuild again in 2014. While many of the players transferring were not contributors and most likely weren’t going to be in the immediate future, there are now seven additional roster spots to fill. With injuries seeming to be a never-ending problem at both quarterback and along the offensive line, you need bodies.

Florida will now turn to recruiting to fill those spots, but each additional day without an offensive coordinator may make that difficult. In December alone, the Gators have added three offensive players to their 2014 commitment list, but that could be difficult to maintain given the uncertainty present at the moment. From coaching to recruiting to the roster to the games, the offense has plenty of questions to answer.

Transfer News: Florida Gators Bid Farewell To Jacoby Brissett, Chris Johnson

We all knew this was coming. As much as we may have wanted a talented, highly-recruited quarterback sitting behind Jeff Driskel for the next two seasons, we knew that QB wouldn’t be Jacoby Brissett. The sophomore quarterback has now made it official, he will leave the Florida Gators, transferring to another school.

Jacoby Brissett - Florida Gators

This really is the best decision for Brissett. The ball had been given to Driskel and he wasn’t losing it any time soon. While Driskel took his lumps during the 2012 season, he also had moments that made us excited for 2013 and beyond. His stats won’t jump out at you, but 10-2 as a starter is something to build on. And because it has become obvious that Will Muschamp and Brent Pease will build behind Driskel, Brissett had to leave.

There are no hard feelings coming from this side at all toward Brissett. He went to battle against Driskel and lost. Now he has decided to move on. There will always be the “what could have been,” but it’s that case with any departing player. We (and by we, I mean me because many are split on this) wanted to see more of Brissett’s arm, but not necessarily at the expense of the overall package Driskel brings. They are two different quarterbacks and the coaches have to build the offense around one. So farewell Jacoby, we truly wish you luck.

Also announcing his intention to leave was one-time defensive back and current running back Chris Johnson. While Johnson was a special teams standout at times, he wasn’t able to crack the lineup on either the defensive or offensive side of the ball. Johnson had a less-than-memorable end to his Gators’ career after being ejected from the Sugar Bowl.

Transfer News: Matt Patchan and De’Ante Saunders To Leave Florida Gators

We’re back from the holidays, but two (now former) Florida Gators won’t be. Redshirt junior offensive lineman Matt Patchan and sophomore safety De’Ante “Pop” Saunders are leaving the program.

Matt Patchan - Florida Gators

Patchan came to the Gators out of Tampa, FL (Armwood) in 2008. After being one of the nation’s most sought after recruits, he saw immediate playing time as a freshman. After spending time on the defensive line as a freshman, he moved to the offensive side of the ball. The future looked promising for Patchan, but then injuries took their toll. In 2009, he appeared in only four games and then missed the entire 2010 season. Patchan was able to appear in 12 games in 2011, but wasn’t healthy enough to play in 2012. He recently graduated and will look to move to a graduate program elsewhere so he can play immediately. Likely destinations are Boston College–where former Florida offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Steve Addazio is now the head coach–or Ohio State–where Urban Meyer will begin his second season as head coach in 2013.

Saunders was a bit of a fly-under-the-radar recruit coming out of Deland (Deland, FL). He was only considered a three-star recruit, but there was plenty of talk of his potential to become a big-time player. Saunders came on strong out of the gate as a true freshman, showing vast improvement over the course of his first season with the Gators. He played in 12 games in 2011 and started eight. Saunders was expected to be an important part of the Gators’ defense in 2012, but he only appeared in eight games after missing the first two and last two. There was talk of injury problems, but discipline also came into the discussions. Saunders has now been released from his scholarship. He has already mentioned Louisville as a possible destination.

Florida head coach Will Muschamp has yet to comment on either player’s departure.

Transfer: CB Willie Bailey To Leave Florida Gators After Falling On Depth Chart

Freshman cornerback Willie Bailey will transfer after one season with the Florida Gators during which he saw no action on the field. Bailey was to receive a redshirt after not getting on the field during the 2012 season. Despite coming back in 2013 with four full years of eligibility remaining, Bailey decided to look for playing time elsewhere.

A three-star recruit out of Hallandale, FL (Hallandale), Bailey was one of the top 100 players in the state of Florida coming out of high school according to 247Sports. He was considered one of those fly-under-the-radar types and committed to Florida over Miami. He had an uphill battle to crack the depth chart, but he enrolled early and by all accounts had a productive spring. Throughout the 2012 season, Bailey reportedly fell back though. Not seeing a light at the end of the tunnel in terms of cracking the depth chart, he decided it was time to move on. No word yet and where Bailey will resurface.