Florida football: Three starters, including two OL, among four more Gators entering transfer portal

By OnlyGators.com Staff
December 24, 2022
Florida football: Three starters, including two OL, among four more Gators entering transfer portal

Image Credit: UAA

Significant attrition was expected for the Florida Gators this offseason with most players who entered the transfer portal coming as understandable departures. However, at least two of the most recent portal entries for Florida have come as a surprise — at least to many following the program.

Starting offensive linemen junior Ethan White and redshirt sophomore Michael Tarquin announced their plans to transfer this week despite being major contributors to arguably the Gators’ best unit this season. Florida’s starting left guard and right tackle, respectively, both were expected to return to serve as veteran leaders for a unit that allowed just 13 sacks all season and helped its running backs average nearly 214 yards rushing per game.

The Gators are now set to enter next season down four of five starters from that unit. Junior O’Cyrus Torrence and redshirt junior Richard Gouraige both declared for the 2023 NFL Draft.

To say the departures of White and Tarquin are strange is an understatement. Name, image and likeness monies are making a serious impact on players’ decision making across the country, and while there is no evidence that either was induced by another program, tampering is what comes to one’s mind when such decisions seemingly come out of left field.

If so, it is a notably frustrating development given Florida’s NIL strategy, which is to ensure players who contribute and excel are prioritized when financial opportunities present themselves. White and Tarquin are obviously high-level contributors given their level of play in 2022.

The Gators also put a heavy focus on offensive line with not one but two well-known position coaches in Rob Sale (offensive coordinator) and Darnell Stapleton. If anything, they should be seen as an oasis for offensive linemen with NFL aspirations — particularly given the way Torrence, Gouraige and the unit as a whole played this season.

Sophomore safety Tre’Vez Johnson is one of the two other players — both defensive backs — who entered the transfer portal this week. The decision for Johnson, who started nine games, is less surprising given the level of defensive backs being brought into the program, though he was a high-level — if somewhat frustrating, at times — contributor throughout the season.

Redshirt freshman cornerback Jordan Young is the other departure. His highlight of the season came in its final game as he blocked a field goal in the Las Vegas Bowl. Young was frequently passed over for playing time with others chosen in his place despite him flashing at times on the field. The staff’s evaluation of Young likely led to his transferring as there likely would have been a ceiling on his playing time.

Given Florida’s close to the early signing period was not as strong as expected, it now has a significant amount of work to do itself in the transfer portal. the Gators will need to find multiple starting-caliber offensive linemen, likely a tight end and a few defenders. The problem is that Florida has been strangely silent (comparatively) in acquiring players from the portal to this point.


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