Florida dismisses DB John Huggins as secondary depth continues to shrink

By Adam Silverstein
August 10, 2019
Florida dismisses DB John Huggins as secondary depth continues to shrink

Image Credit: @NaturalWorks_ / Twitter

In a move long anticipated to come from the Florida Gators, sophomore defensive back John Huggins was dismissed from the team on Saturday night. Huggins had been away from the program while dealing with what head coach Dan Mullen referred to as a “family issue,” and while Florida did confirm his dismissal, it did not provide a specific reason for it.

The Orlando Sentinel‘s Edgar Thompson first reported Huggins’ dismissal.

Huggins’ extended absence has come under curious circumstances as, despite chatter, there are presently no formal charges or active student conduct violations publicly known at this time. However, it has become widely reported that he was accused of attempting to choke or strangle a 19-year-old female student during a tutoring session in October 2018. The woman did not pursue criminal charges, and Huggins was never arrested. Mullen said this week that Huggins, who missed five games last season, was already punished for that incident.

Mullen and the Gators have pointed out that, while there have been five members of the team (four players, one staff member) accused of violence against women recently, all of them have either had accusations/charges withdrawn or were dismissed from the program. Still, despite Mullen explaining that the program is constantly educated about this subject, these incidents have nevertheless occurred in some form.

While Huggins was not a top-tier prospect for Florida, he nevertheless saw action in eight games last season and was said to be impressive during spring practice, enough that he at the least would have factored into the rotation this fall.

The Gators have been hemorrhaging defensive backs this offseason, recently losing redshirt junior C.J. McWilliams to a ruptured Achilles that will see him out of action until 2020. Junior Brian Edwards transferred following an offseason arrest for first-degree misdemeanor battery as he was accused of choking his girlfriend (charges were dropped). Incoming four-star freshman Chris Steele also transferred, claiming an offseason incident involving his roommate and the staff’s lacking response to his roommate requests as a primary reason; others close to the program and the transfer process believe the Californian was also homesick.

While Florida’s depth is shrinking, its starters remain healthy at this time and could develop into one of the nation’s strongest units. Still, with more limited opportunities to rest and take plays off during games, the Gators may need to get creative over the course of the 2019 season.

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