Posted by Jerry Hinnen
A Florida roster that has thinned considerably since the arrival of first-year head coach Will Muschamp has just gotten that much thinner.
Sophomores Gerald Christian and Robert Clark announced Tuesday that each would be transferring out of the Gator program due to concerns over playing time. Christian, a tight end, and Clark, a wide receiver, were teammates at Dwyer High School (Palm Beach, Fla.) before signing with Florida under Urban Meyer in the spring of 2010.
"Both of these players have expressed a desire for more playing time and felt that it would be in their best interests," Muschamp said. "We wish them both the best of luck."
Both players had seen limited action in their season-and-a-half in Gainesville. Christian did not have a reception in his freshman campaign, and ranked ninth on the team in 2011 with four catches for 72 yards and score. Clark had seven receptions for 69 yards and a touchdown in 2010, but had yet to make a catch this season.
Looking at their relative lack of impact, it's easy to say the Gators won't be too stung by Clark's and Christian's departures. But the numbers that might really matter where their absence is concerned are these: their decisions bring the total of players who have left the Gator program since Muschamp's arrival to 9, and reduce the number of scholarship players on Muschamp's roster to 72--13 below the NCAA limit of 85, and several fewer than even probation-addled USC.
Those kinds of depth issues aren't easy to simply paper over (as the Gators' 1-3 SEC record attests), and makes a solid 2012 recruiting class absolutely essential. Once you've lost as many players as Florida has, every additional loss -- whether a starter, backup, or third-stringer -- is an important one.