Mike Blakely will not a play a down of football for the Florida Gators.
The early enrollee freshman running back announced Tuesday he will transfer from UF after sitting out all of spring practice recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder.
Blakely committed under Urban Meyer but remained loyal to UF when Will Muschamp took over — until he saw the new regime‘s on-field product.
“I just didn’t like the pro-style offense once I saw what it was all about,” Blakely said.
The former Manatee High standout said he is used to being “the back” on the field, and said he feels he can start immediately somewhere else instead of waiting in line at Florida.
He would have been competing for playing time in a crowded backfield featuring Chris Rainey, Jeff Demps, Mike Gillislee and Mack Brown in the fall if he stayed. Blakely said it’s clear that Charlie Weis’ pro-style attack is only going to utilize one or two backs, and he would prefer to play for a spread offense.
“Mike has come to the conclusion that the University of Florida is not where he wants to play football,” Muschamp said in an official statement. “We wish him the best of luck.”
Blakely informed the Gators head coach of his decision in a very short phone conversation.
“(Muschamp) asked, ‘You’re going to transfer?’” Blakely said. “I said ‘Yeah,’ and that was it.”
Blakely said transferring is something he thought about for a long time. It was clear to him for most of the spring that UF wasn’t where he wanted to be.
During his high school career, the 5-foot-9, 198-pound Blakely was an All-American and was rated the No. 6 running back in the nation by Rivals.com.
He is not yet sure where he will transfer, but it won’t be the Southeastern Conference — at least not immediately.
“[UF] told me I can’t transfer anywhere in the SEC, so I’m leaning toward going [to junior college] and then coming back to the SEC,” Blakely said.
The freshman is the third player to transfer from Florida in less than a month. Wide receivers Javares McRoy and Chris Dunkley announced they were leaving the Gators on April 15.