On Tuesday, Florida lost its third player to transfer in the Will Muschamp era when the Gators announced freshman running back Mike Blakely would transfer from the program.
Blakely, a 5-foot-9, 198-pound early enrollee from Manatee, sat out all of spring practice recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder.
“Mike has come to the conclusion that the University of Florida is not where he wants to play football,’’ Muschamp said. “We wish him the best of luck.’’
Blakely arrived at Florida as one of the highest-touted running backs in the state. He racked up more than 1,400 yards rushing and 23 touchdowns as a junior in high school.
He was named to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in 2011 and had offers from several SEC schools, including Auburn, Ole Miss, South Carolina and Tennessee.
While he missed spring practice, Blakely was expected to compete for playing time in the rotation at running back behind seniors Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey and junior Mike Gillislee.
When reached for comment, Blakely said via text message he has not yet decided where he will transfer.
“Everyone at Florida has been very supportive of me in my time here, and I’m thankful for the experience that I had, but I’ve made a decision to continue my college football career somewhere else,’’ he said.
Blakely’s decision to transfer comes less than one month after wide receivers Javares McRoy and Chris Dunkley transferred from the program.
Derek Tyson and Thomas Goldkamp contributed to this report. Gator Country will update this story as more information becomes available.