Florida head coach Billy Napier expected a decent amount of attrition in his first year as head coach of the Gators, and the dominoes are starting to fall.
As the team’s list of departures and potential transfers grows, Gators Wire will be following all moves on that list. The window for players to officially enter the transfer portal starts on December 5th and lasts 45 days. Those who have already graduated from the University of Florida can enter the portal immediately.
While most of the early news will relate to those leaving the program, Florida will most certainly be an active player in the transfer portal market once the national pool is established. The Gators have struck gold by bringing in right guard O’Cyrus Torrence and running back Montrell Johnson Jr., and Napier has not remained hidden from college football’s ever-changing landscape.
The transfer portal is the college equivalent of the NFL’s free agency days, and the Gators should be an attractive target for many by 2023.
Here’s a look at every move the program and players have made so far.
OL Josh Brown
Offensive lineman [autotag]Josch Braun[/autotag] announced his intention to transfer from the University of Florida after graduating on October 18. Since then, Braun has been spotted visiting rival Florida State and has received offers from Penn State and UCF, who will be in the Big 12 next season, among others.
Braun is leaving Florida with 26 career appearances, including seven starts in 2021. He can play redshirt this year after playing just two games and should be eligible for three more years wherever he ends up.
LS Marco Ortiz
Long snapper [autotag]Marco Ortiz[/autotag] was the next domino to fall for Florida and announced his intention to move on Oct. 30, but he’s still with the team despite picking up an injury that kept him sidelined except for one game this season . He will likely apply for a medical redshirt and have two more years of eligibility after this season.
He’s already graduated from university, which means Ortiz is eligible to enter the portal right away, but it seems he’ll wait until he officially leaves the team. Players who enter the transfer portal do not have to leave the university if they decide to return to a program that is willing to keep them.
OLB Brenton Cox Jr.
JACK linebacker [autotag]Brenton Cox Jr[/autotag]. was fired from the team following the Gators’ loss to the Georgia Bulldogs. He went into the season hoping to set a new sack record for Florida but finished the season with just two sacks and a total of eight tackles to a loss. Though Cox could have switched and played another year at the college level, he has opted to declare himself for the 2023 NFL draft.
On November 15, the East-West Shrine Bowl announced that Cox had accepted an invitation to attend the game. This will be the scouts’ last look at him in play before the draft.
DB Kamar Wilcoxson
defensive back [autotag]Kamar Wilcoxson[/autotag] left the team after the Texas A&M game after not being listed on the team’s depth chart. On3 reported that Wilcoxson was not attending meetings or exercising as of Wednesday this week, which is the reason for his removal from the depth map.
He announced on November 3 that he plans to join the transfer portal after three seasons with the team. Originally a member of the Class of 2021, Wilcoxosn was reclassified and joined the team at the end of the 2020 cycle. Injuries kept him sidelined throughout his sophomore year at UF, but the COVID year granted to each player kept him headed into 2022 as a redshirt freshman.
WR Trent Whittemore
wide receiver [autotag]Trent Whittemore[/autotag] left the team on November 14 and announced his plans to enter the transfer portal. As a graduate, Whittemore doesn’t have to wait until December 5 and can immediately start talking to other programs.
Whittemore’s departure was not surprising considering he was less used among Billy Napier’s staff. His brother, [autotag]Creed Whittemore[/autotag]recently retired from UF and shortly thereafter relocated to the state of Mississippi.
Whittemore ended his Florida career with a total of 33 receptions for 425 yards and two touchdowns in four years. He still has two years of eligibility to play wherever he ends up.
TE Nick Elksnis
Redshirt freshman tight end [autotag]Nick Elknis[/autotag] announced his departure from the program on November 15; However, he cannot enter the portal until December 5th.
In his freshman year with the Gators, Elksnis played in the four game limit before picking up a redshirt. He had an injury in the spring that affected his position on the depth chart and also only played in four games that year.
TE Griffin McDowell
Close end [autotag]Griffin McDowell[/autotag] was the third Gator to leave the program in as many days when he announced his intention to switch on November 16.
McDowell was signed to play offense for Florida in 2018, but he would switch to defense after serving as a reserve. As Billy Napier’s staff at Gainesville took over and the need for more depth in the tight end arose, McDowell stepped up and switched positions.
As a graduate, he can enter the portal immediately and still has one year remaining authorization.
LB Diwun Black
linebacker [autotag]Diwun Black[/autotag] was released from the team on November 16 and quickly tweeted his plans to enter the transfer portal. That tweet has now been deleted so this might be one to keep an eye on.
Napier said Black needed to focus on academics when asked about the layoff, but gave no further details. Black had to serve time at the junior college level before eventually making it to Gainesville and has one year left to play after taking a redshirt this season.
Story originally appeared on Gators Wire