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NCAA Football Florida GatorsSEC Football

Implications of Loss of Florida Gators’ De’Antre Saunders

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida Gators learned some rather surprising news last week as three of their players decided to transfer out of the program.

Head coach Will Muschamp revealed last Thursday that sophomore safety De’Antre Saunders and junior offensive tackle Matt Patchan have decided to leave the program seeking a fresh start elsewhere:

“Really appreciate their time at Florida. We wish them the best. I think they just needed a fresh start, both guys and both situations. That’s all I’ve got to say about it.”

Saunders, a 5-foot-8, 185-pound sophomore, missed four games this season, but started seven of the eight games in which he was healthy.

So, what does this mean for the Gators? Well, aside from losing his strong play at safety and his potential to be one of the better safeties in the SEC, the Gators will be losing depth at the position.

The Gators look like they will be losing both starting safeties in 2013, hurting their depth tremendously. Josh Evans is going to be lost to graduation and All-American Matt Elam, who started all 12 games, is considering leaving the Gators early for the NFL.

Although they might not feel the effects of this transfer for the bowl game, Florida will be feeling this depth hit next season and the seasons to follow as they will have to play a whole different, inexperienced group of safeties.

Patchan, on the other hand, didn’t look to figure into the offensive line plans any time soon and with his collegiate career nearing an end, he looked to find playing time at another program.

This is the second and third transfer of the season for the Gators since December, the other being freshman defensive back Willie Bailey. Tough December for the Gators.