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.
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.