Florida Gators grant Saunders release

A Florida Gators football player has asked for and been a granted a release from the team.

GatorCountry.com confirmed the story through various sources and even spoke with the player about the decision.

“Yes, I have been released from Florida,” De’Ante Saunders told Gator Country’s Andrew Spivey on Wednesday afternoon. “Louisville is one of the schools I’m considering. I’m not sure at this moment if I’m going to stay at Florida for the spring semester or if I’m going to enroll at a different school.”

Florida coach Will Muschamp already had ruled Saunders out for the Allstate Sugar Bowl, which is scheduled for New Orleans at 8 p.m. on Jan. 2.

“Nothing against coach Muschamp,” Saunders said. “It’s for personal reasons. I like coach Muschamp.”

The 5-foot-9, 189-pound sophomore from Deland, Fla., missed the first two games and the last two games of 2012, reportedly with injuries. Shortly after a 23-0 win against Jacksonville State on Nov. 17, Muschamp said he would not return this season.

“Pop’s had another injury,” Muschamp said. “He’ll be out next week (a 37-26 win at Florida State) and the bowl game.”

Saunders played in eight games with seven starts this season. He made 18 tackles with .5 stop for a loss. He had four pass breakups, recovered a fumble and intercepted a pass he returned for 29 yards. He also lined up at punt returner, but did not record a return.

For his career, Saunders has played in 20 games with 16 starts. He had 44 tackles, six pass breakups, three interceptions, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble.

Saunders was arrested in May of 2011 for possession of marijuana. He also was suspended for last season’s Alabama game for a violation of team rules, which Muschamp said at the time was a separate issue from the arrest.

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Mike Capshaw brings a wealth of experience to the Gator Country team. He’s been overseeing all editorial aspects of GatorCountry.com and Gator Country magazine by managing our team of staffers, interns and freelancers. He is now moving into a bigger role as a reporter by covering the football and basketball beats as well as providing coverage of all sports on campus. Mike’s 15 years in the business has included more than six years of covering SEC sports and recruiting at a daily newspaper in Arkansas. He has also helped launch a newspaper, magazines, websites and even a sports talk radio show. Because Mike puts family ahead of his career, he left the place where he was established when his wife received an opportunity to further her career at UF. He took a leap of faith that he could find a job in the Gainesville area and worked for a year at a newspaper group before joining the Gator Country family in November, 2011. Mike has won Florida Press Association awards for Best Sports Game Story and Best Sports Feature Story in the past two years as well as a company-wide award at his former newspaper group that includes some 60 publications, for Excellence in Sports Reporting. You can follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeCapshawGC.