Updated on Monday at 12:15 p.m.
Less than one week into 2016 spring practice, the Florida Gators are down two players, though neither joined the football team in the early going as it prepared for next season.
Redshirt sophomore offensive lineman Travaris Dorsey and redshirt senior kicker Austin Hardin are no longer with the program, head coach Jim McElwain confirmed Monday.
Dorsey, a three-star 2014 recruit out of Jacksonville, Florida, redshirted his first year and saw action on special teams last season. He was originally expected to be part of the team’s thin offensive line rotation but got injured early and was never in the mix as the season went on. He has decided to move on to finish his career at Tuskegee.
Expected to be the heir apparent to star kicker Caleb Sturgis, Hardin never panned out during his time with the Gators and would not have attempted as many field goals as he did had it not been for injuries. McElwain said Hardin will finish up an internship and graduate this spring.
Hardin always displayed a strong leg, particularly on kickoffs, but he simply had problems putting the ball through the uprights. After hitting 4-of-12 field goals (.333) and all 15 extra points as a redshirt freshman in 2013, he made 7-of-10 (.700) field goals and all 12 extra points in limited action in 2014. But he fell off in a major way last season despite having ample opportunities, going 5-for-14 on field goals (.357) – including 4-of-10 inside the 40-yard line – and 24-for-27 on extra points. For his career, Hardin made just 44.4 percent of his field goals (16-of-36).
Neither loss hits Florida particularly hard, especially considering the Gators have loaded up on young offensive linemen over the last two recruiting cycles. Hardin was not set to practice in spring anyway while recovering from an injury that also kept him out of the 2016 Citrus Bowl loss to Michigan.
Hardin was unlikely to be better than third on UF’s kicking depth chart behind redshirt sophomores transfer Eddy Pineiro and Jorge Powell, the latter of which is still recovering from a torn ACL suffered last season.