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CBS Sports expects transfer portal addition to make impact for Gators

The college football transfer portal has seen its busiest offseason yet as players utilize the de facto free agency system to search for greener pastures around the country. Some teams have benefitted from it remarkably, while others are struggling to keep up with mass exoduses.

Among those in the latter category are the Florida Gators, who have done a fair job restocking the cupboard after seeing a myriad of players exit stage right. CBS Sports’ Will Backus recently took a look at the Southeastern Conference as a whole, picking a newcomer for each program that is expected to make waves out of the portal next fall.

For the Orange and Blue, former South Carolina Gamecocks linebacker Grayson Howard got the call. Here is what the author had to say.

“Florida’s lack of quality linebacker depth got exposed a bit last year when Shemar James missed the last month of the season due to injury,” Backus begins.

“The Gators took another hit in December when James’ running mate, Scooby Williams, entered the transfer portal. Instead of looking for another proven option, Florida’s staff went with upside by landing Howard from South Carolina. It was the right choice,” he continues.

“He had 19 total tackles, one for a loss, and a forced fumble with the Gamecocks in 2023, providing some legit minutes off the bench as a freshman despite the presence of several veteran options. At 6-foot-4 and 242 pounds, he has a frame built for the SEC and the athleticism to run around the field and make plays.

He should start alongside James from Day 1. Though there might be growing pains, that gives UF an enticing duo around the line of scrimmage.”

A former Gator also made the list — running back Trevor Etienne, who is expected to shine for the Georgia Bulldogs in 2024. “He averaged almost 6 yards per carry in his two seasons as a Gator and gives the Bulldogs some lightning to go alongside their more thunderous options,” Backus notes.

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Story originally appeared on Gators Wire