Gators’ Chris Martin transfers from Florida

Florida defensive end Chris Martin will transfer from the program, a University of Florida spokesman confirmed.

The former five-star linebacker from Colorado, who transferred to Florida last summer from California, has had various off-the-field incidents since arriving in Gainesville.

However, in a statement released to the media, Florida head coach Will Muschamp said Martin’s decision to transfer stemmed from his desire to be closer to home.

“Chris and his family have indicated that it might be best for him to be closer to home,” said Muschamp. “We wish him nothing but the best of luck.”

Martin was arrested for misdemeanor marijuana possession in late January, and scared Gators fans in mid-March when he posted on his Facebook account that he had been dismissed from the team.

Martin’s Facebook status read “wow? Dismissed from the team??? well Cali…here i come. WTF.” Martin later updated his status to inform his friends that his previous update was simply an early April Fools joke.

According to Alachua County Court records, Martin was cited for misdemeanor marijuana possession of less than 20 grams on Jan. 29 at 11:26 p.m.

Police smelled marijuana coming from his vehicle in a parking lot in downtown Gainesville. According to a Gainesville Police Department report, he had about two grams of marijuana in the center console of the car he was in and was given a notice to appear.

Martin reached a deferred prosecution agreement on Feb. 15.

The license plate number that appeared on the Gainesville Police Department arrest report for Martin’s January citation was also the same one listed on the arrest report for Janoris Jenkins’ April citation for marijuana. It had Colorado tags.

The 6-foot-5, 255-pound linebacker sat out during the 2010 season due to NCAA transfer rules, but was expected to be a major contributor in the 2011 season. He was the backup to Ronald Powell at the Buck position.

Florida entered the offseason in need of playmakers at defensive end after the two starters from the 2010 team graduated. The Gators’ depth at the position takes a hit with the transfer of Chris Martin.

Transfers have hit the Gators hard early in the Will Muschamp era in Gainesville, as Martin becomes the fifth player to leave (fourth to transfer) since his arrival.

Wide receivers Javares McRoy and Chris Dunkley transferred in mid-April. Running back Mike Blakely transferred to Auburn in mid-May.

Following his dismissal from the team, Janoris Jenkins enrolled at Division-II North Alabama.

Florida is down to 72 current scholarship players heading into the 2011 season, well shy of the NCAA limit of 85.