Billy Napier‘s transition class is nearly complete, but there is still a good chance that the Gators add some new faces during the spring.
The one-time transfer exception rule has created what he calls the “winter portal period” and the “spring portal period.” With national signing day over with, Florida’s recruiting team can focus on the next wave of players to hit college football’s version of free agency.
In the winter, Napier brought in quarterback Jack Miller (Ohio State), cornerback Jalen Kimber (Georgia), offensive lineman O’Cyrus Torrence (Louisiana), running back Montrell Johnson (Louisana) and offensive lineman Kamryan Waites (Lousiana) from the portal. Florida also lost six players of its own during that time.
Napier expects more turnover in the coming months. Plenty of players decide that a change of scenery is needed following spring practices, particularly when there’s a new staff in town. Those departures will not only open up spots for transfers, but it’ll also help UF reach the 85-player scholarship maximum they must adhere to.
“There’s a delicate balance between the number of players we add and also hitting that 85 number,” Napier said. “So, a little bit of this is to be determined. It’s always a big juggling act, a big math problem. You’re adding and subtracting today. Certainly, as we approach May 1, there will be more attrition.
“And really in the transition year, with a new staff and kind of a new culture, I think that there’s some things that come with that, both positive and negative.”
Right now, the math doesn’t work out. Florida has 89 players under scholarship for next season. Trey Dean, Ventrell Miller and Marco Ortiz are all returning as super seniors thanks to the extra year of eligibility granted to all players in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The NCAA hasn’t created any sort of waiver yet for the upcoming season, but players returning in 2021-22 did get a pass. If things remain consistent, Florida would be just one spot over the limit with a waiver in place.
With transfers included, Florida’s class of 2022 is ranked No. 17 in the country, according to 247Sports. Napier has a chance to improve that number if he can be as successful in the spring as he was in the winter.
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