Nov 11, 2023; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA; Florida Gators quarterback Graham Mertz (15) calls form the ball against the LSU Tigers during the first half at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Mertz, Umanmielen: Mixed News for Gators Football

With the end of the Gators’ season coming after the loss to Florida State, the offseason has arrived a bit sooner than Florida fans would have hoped. The transfer portal has gotten off to a hot start this season, with stars like Ohio State quarterback Kyle McCord entering the portal. The Gators have had quite a few additions to the transfer portal as well. After a rough season, each player has to make a decision on their future.

Mertz Returning to Gainesville

Gators quarterback Graham Mertz was one of the players who had to make a decision on whether he wanted to continue as a Gator next season. On Nov. 30, Mertz decided that he wanted to go another year in The Swamp.

https://twitter.com/GrahamMertz5/status/1730324425545781556

Mertz had a career year with the Gators before getting injured in their game against Missouri. The Florida quarterback threw for over 2900 yards and 20 touchdowns in his 11 games this season.

Mertz spoke to the media on Wednesday about his future and the future of this Florida team. This is what he had to say about his decision to return next season.

Mertz was given another chance with the Gators this season.

The transfer quarterback praises the Florida staff for bringing him in and welcoming him to the program. Mertz plans on giving it all next season, even with a tough schedule ahead.

With players such as Ricky Pearsall entering the NFL draft and others being lost to the transfer portal, it is going to be a tall task to be able to pull off a strong season next year. When asked about the look of the offense next year in light of all the transfers, Mertz said this:

The Gators are hoping to have another strong season in Mertz as he mentors incoming freshman DJ Lagway.

Lagway is a top recruit and is primed to be the future of Florida football. When asked about Lagway and his mentorship, Mertz expressed his excitement.

Princely Umanmielen Leaves the Gators

Gators edge rusher Princely Umanmielen has decided that he will not declare for the NFL draft this offseason, but won’t be retuning to Florida next season either.

Umanmielen announced Wednesday afternoon that he has entered the transfer portal after an all-SEC season for the Gators.

https://twitter.com/d1princely/status/1732448865343705174

The rising senior was a leader for the Florida defense and will be a big loss. Umanmielen recorded seven sacks and 17 quarterback hurries this season and was a presence on the edge on every play.

He will be a tough player to replace, but the Gators are up to the challenge.

Umanmielen isn’t the only player set to transfer from the Gators. Many other Gators are rumored to be considering a move after the disappointing season. Quarterback Graham Mertz was asked about the popularity of the transfer portal this season in his media conference on Wednesday.

It will be a transition period for Florida this offseason, but there is still hope for Florida fans.

If the Gators can be active on the transfer portal and maintain their recruiting class, Florida could even improve on their season.

About Nick Abreu

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