Transfer options for the Florida Gators offensive line
Following the annual Orange and Blue spring game, Florida Gators head coach Dan Mullen didn't hold back on the idea of adding veteran help to a youthful offensive line.
"Not that I don’t like our young players and where they’re coming in their development," Mullen stated following the spring game, "But when you’re looking at all these guys, we’d love to get a grad transfer come in, and add somebody that can come in and we’d feel comfortable that has that experience and can come in and play immediately for us."
While the starting front-five appears to be set following the spring program, it's easy to not have 100% confidence in a group consisting of four players with a combined 10 starts. And considering seven of those starts came from projected starting left guard Brett Heggie, who has missed significant time in his Gators career due to a season-ending knee injury in 2017 and ankle issues in 2018... who can blame Mullen for looking at other experienced options?
With these factors in mind heading into the 2019 season, who could the Gators be targeting on the grad transfer market? Could he also look into the entire transfer portal, considering it's a bit late in the process to strictly target a grad transfer? Keep in mind, the transfer portal is not public, so this list has been put together through a mix of reports and Gators Territory sources.
Drew Richmond, tackle, Tennessee
While he didn't quite live up to his 5-star Rivals rating as the No. 2 offensive tackle and No. 12 overall prospect coming out of Memphis University School in 2015, Drew Richmond would be a fantastic addition to the Gators offensive line via grad transfer.
Offering three years of SEC playing time, participating in 28 games (starting 25), Richmond would immediately compete at both tackle spots throughout the summer and into the 2019 season.
If Richmond were unable to beat out redshirt-junior tackles Stone Forsythe and Jean Delance, he'd at least provide valuable depth as a swing tackle. Richmond started his career as a left tackle, with 13 starts there before moving to right tackle in 2018, where he started 12 games. He has visited Oklahoma State, Florida State, and USC since entering the NCAA transfer portal, per reports.
However, an interesting nugget: Gators offensive line coach John Hevesy and Richmond both recently followed each other on Twitter, and Richmond has followed coaches from each previously mentioned schools that he has visited. While UF hasn't been publicly linked to Richmond throughout his transfer process, perhaps this tidbit indicates some mutual interest.
Larry Boyd, tackle, Illinois
A former Rivals 3-star, Larry Boyd started in nine of 12 games played as a freshman for the Fighting Illini. However, he received an academic redshirt in 2018 and decided to transfer following the end of last season. The academic redshirt makes Boyd immediately eligible to play in 2019 and going forward.
Boyd earned Big 10 All-Freshman team honorable mention for his performance in 2017 before receiving the academic redshirt. He offers great size at 6-6, 310, and experience at both left and right tackle to serve as a swing going forward, should he receive an offer to transfer to Florida. In high school, Boyd lettered in four years of football, as well as played basketball and ran track.
Zeke Martin, center, Illinois
Another former Illinois offensive lineman in the portal! Unlike Boyd, Zeke Martin is a graduate transfer with only one year of eligibility left. He has plenty of experience on special teams, but only started one game in his four years at Illinois, playing guard as a redshirt sophomore in 2017.
The 6-5, 300 lb lineman would serve as an immediate contributor on field goal and point-after attempt blocking units and provide depth along the entire interior offensive line. Martin, a former 3-star prospect by numerous outlets, has been named to the Academic All-Big 10 team in consecutive years dating back to 2017.
Derek Dumais, center, Massachusetts
A transfer to the Sunshine State would be quite a journey for former Massachusetts center Derek Dumais after growing up in the same state he's played college ball in, but after 14 starts in 24 games at UMass, Dumais has graduated and announced he is looking elsewhere.
Dumais is a big-bodied center at 6-4, 325 lbs, but came to UMass as a 2-star recruit and didn't necessarily face the toughest of competition. However, since Florida doesn't have a ton of options late in the process in terms of acquiring grad transfers, Dumais could be on their radar as a reserve center with starting experience.