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A wave of Florida Gators football players made announcements about their futures on Tuesday, and two of the most important came from offensive linemen as redshirt junior center Cameron Dillard plans to leave the program as a graduate transfer and junior left tackle David Sharpe is departing early for the 2017 NFL Draft.
“With a lot of consideration and prayer I would like to say that I will not be playing my final year of eligibility at the University of Florida, but instead, I will graduate transfer and pursue my masters,” wrote Dillard in a lengthy Twitter post. “This school has provided me with a great education and even better friends that I will cherish for the rest of my life. It has been a great ride here with great people surrounding me. … I am excited for this adventure and thank you to everyone that has had an impact on my life the last four years.”
Sharpe shared a similar message. “I just want to thank the University of Florida for everything they’ve done for me and 3 years of life changing experiences. I will forego my senior season and declare for the NFL draft!!” he wrote. “I Appreciate all the support throughout the years and I’ll always love gator nation!!”
Dillard started the first eight games of the season for Florida before going down with an injury against Arkansas. He started 19 games over the course of his time with the program, but once replaced by redshirt freshman T.J. McCoy, Dillard did not win his job back and was unlikely to start next season.
Sharpe played 27 consecutive games for the Gators, starting at left tackle in 18 straight to end his career. He will likely be replaced on the left side of the line by sophomore Martez Ivey, who spent the entire 2016 season playing guard.
Due to Florida having nearly no depth at the position when head coach Jim McElwain took over, the Gators are quite young at the position with 12 other scholarship players returning next season. Many of them have playing experience they otherwise wouldn’t due to a lack of depth and a bevy of injuries over the last two seasons.
No statement has been made by Florida on either player’s departure.