Florida Gators need to bolster roster with transfers

Jim McElwain announced on Wednesday that redshirt junior quarterback Skyler Mornhinweg has decided to transfer away from the Florida Gators and has enrolled at Columbia.

Mornhinweg saw action in three career games, starting all of them in 2013 at South Carolina and then two at home against Georgia Southern and Florida State. Mornhinweg completed 44-of-63 pass attempts, including three touchdowns and an interception.

“We wish him the best, we’d love to have him stay here, but obviously as it sits, we’re right now with two scholarship quarterbacks,” McElwain said. “So moving forward, as you guys all know, that position, especially in this league now, you need to have some depth, so we’re constantly looking at that spot, as well as some other spots on the roster to try to make sure that we get some needed bodies in those areas.”

This leaves Florida with two scholarship quarterbacks, technically.

That sentence looks scary and it should, especially given the injury history that Florida has had at the position the past few years. However, Mornhinweg transferring didn’t change that sentence at all. Mornhinweg was light-years behind both Will Grier and Treon Harris in spring camp, not even coming close to consideration for the starting quarterback job. It could be argued that walk-on quarterback Jacob Guy had surpassed Mornhinweg on the depth chart as well. Mornhinweg was a “scholarship quarterback” in name, not in playing ability or talent and his decision to transfer shouldn’t affect anything Florida was planning on doing this coming season.

Still, Jim McElwain is still standing on the corner or University and 13th avenue holding a “Help Wanted” sign. The roster he inherited is razor thin and that has led he and his staff to look for any way possible to fill the giant depth holes they have.

McElwain tried and failed to get three junior college offensive linemen into school before signing day — something he has spoken about publically. Now, after spring practice and with the beginning of summer courses, it’s officially graduate transfer season.

Everett Golson was reportedly visiting the Gators on Monday and Tuesday. Florida has also had interest in Vanderbilt receiver Josh Grady. Luke Del Rio, the son of Oakland Raiders coach Jack Del Rio, is expected to enroll at Florida later this summer as well.

“Per NCAA rules, he’s a prospective student-athlete, so I can’t really comment on that part,” said McElwain. “Obviously [Golson] mentioning us is something that’s exciting and at the same time, we’re doing it at a lot of different spots. So heading into this year, it’s got to be one of those things that’s evolving as we go. There’s some really good opportunities.”

McElwain declining comment on any transfers or graduate transfer would lead one to believe that no potential transfer has enrolled at Florida. Not mentioning a transfer by name keeps Florida and McElwain out of any potential hot water with the NCAA.

The bottom line is that the Florida Gators need help.

The goals don’t change but the roster has and McElwain will be fighting an uphill battle to achieve those goals this season.

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Nick de la Torre
A South Florida native, Nick developed a passion for all things sports at a very young age. His love for baseball was solidified when he saw Al Leiter’s no-hitter for the Marlins live in May of 1996. He was able to play baseball in college but quickly realized there isn’t much of a market for short, slow outfielders that hit around the Mendoza line. Wanting to continue with sports in some capacity he studied journalism at the University of Central Florida. Nick got his first start in the business as an intern for a website covering all things related to the NFL draft before spending two seasons covering the Florida football team at Bleacher Report. That job led him to GatorCountry. When he isn’t covering Gator sports, Nick enjoys hitting way too many shots on the golf course, attempting to keep up with his favorite t.v. shows and watching the Heat, Dolphins and Marlins. Follow him on twitter @NickdelatorreGC


  1. It would seem that reality is starting to emerge for those who think the Gators are going to win 8-9, maybe 10 games next year. My humble prediction is something more like 5-7 wins. As a best case situation rebuilding the program is a 3-4 year project. And, in my humble opinion, depending too heavily on transfers is a huge mistake. There are reasons why a ‘transfer” is a ‘transfer’. Usually, it is not because the kid was a Super Star and Good Citizen at the old place. Nine times out of ten the kid was not good enough to start or he was ‘poison’ in the locker room. McElwain must rebuild the program from the damage caused by Foley-Muschamp. That starts with a firm foundation, in developing the three-star talent currently available to the Gators, playing exciting if not always winning football on the field and avoiding the temptation of the ‘quick fix’.

    • Don’t agree with the statement that 9 out of 10 times a transfer was not good or was a locker room poison. The article is talking about graduate transfers who are able to play immediately and these are usually not bad players or teammates and they are perfect because they fill holes for 1 year and don’t hurt recruiting in the future.

  2. I don’t know that all transfers fall in your category. Jake McGee is a perfect example, Russell Wilson also comes to mind. I do get what you’re saying, but depth is depth. Bringing in guys that can help with practice and be solid backups and potential contributors is never a bad idea, especially when we’re in the situation we’re currently in. The Golson situation might be a little different, but I don’t know that you don’t entertain him coming to town, when our QB situation is what it is. Maybe he’d be the starter or maybe he’d push our QB’s harder. A lot has been written about him and he’s definitely carrying some baggage, but if you have one year left and the staff is favoring another QB, then no one is going to waste their senior season on the bench. So I have no problem with him wanting to leave. Again, I know he’s had some more trouble as well, but if he’s just a kid who is asking for a second chance. I’m fine with it.