Florida needs help at tight end. Jake McGee of Virginia is a big-time tight end who is suddenly available. Could Florida end up with an instant starter at the position?
That's the tantalizing prospect The Gainesville Sun's Robbie Andreu detailed last Friday, reporting that McGee received his release from Virginia and was "expected to consider a possible transfer to Florida."
On Monday, Jeremy Fowler of CBS Sports added this:
I'm told Florida feels it has a "good shot" at #UVA TE transfer Jake McGee. @RobbieAndreu first reported McGee as potential Gator.— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerCBS) April 28, 2014
On its face, it makes sense in almost every regard: McGee, who was Virginia's leading receiver in 2013 despite being used as an in-line blocker more often than the pass-catcher he wants to be, is looking for a new home where a tight end would be a featured factor in the offense; Florida, under Kurt Roper, is going to give tight ends many things to do; Florida, as of right now, has very little returning production at the position, and doesn't know what it will get from freshmen DeAndre Goolsby, C'yontai Lewis, and Moral Stephens.
McGee will also graduate this semester, and is thus eligible to use his final season of eligibility this fall, so long as he finds a graduate program not offered by Virginia to satisfy an SEC rule that will allow him to slide into Florida and onto the Gators' roster. Which should be, pardon the pun, academic: Graduate transfers pick new programs for the purpose of being eligible year after year.
It's as neat a fit as any in the transfer market this season, aside from perhaps Jacob Coker leaving Florida State for Alabama1 — something that didn't bring any fretting about how onerous the SEC's restrictions on graduate transfers are, because Coker has two years of eligibility remaining, and thus isn't subject to the SEC's rule (14.1.15 in this PDF), which only limits players with one year of eligibility remaining.
But now we have to wait and see if McGee will actually consider and choose Florida, after being expected to ... and we really can't do anything else.
Treat the news of McGee transferring, and potentially considering Florida, for what it is at this moment: A great tease.
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I'm not even sure anyone cared about Coker's academics; a quick scan of a half-dozen articles about his transfer turned up no mention of Coker's major, much less the graduate program. Good thing Coker graduated from Florida State in three years with a degree in indeterminate studies! Student-athletes!