Florida freshman Daniel Imatorbhebhe "will be leaving school and looking for a transfer," according to a Tuesday afternoon report from Scout's Bob Redman. In All Kinds of Weather reported the same shortly afterward.
Sources have also indicated to Alligator Army that Imatorbhebhe will transfer, with one calling the move "basically official."
The on-field reasons for transfer aren't hard to reason out. Imatorbhebhe, an early enrollee and a tight end, was more likely to contribute at the position this fall before Florida tight end Jake McGee was given an extra year of eligibility by the NCAA. With McGee getting another season in orange and blue, Imatorbhebhe was likely to be shuffled toward the back of a crowded depth chart at the position, where sophomore DeAndre Goolsby and redshirt freshmen C'yontai Lewis and Moral Stephens, Jr. would likely have slotted in ahead of him. And given the relative youth of Florida's tight end corps, it could've been years before Imatorbhebhe saw the field.
But there's also the matter of fit. Imatorbhebhe's younger brother, Josh, a four-star wide receiver in the 2016 class — landing the elder Imatorbhebhe — who was the first public commit to Florida under Jim McElwain — was seen by many as an effort to grab both players out of the Peach State as a package deal. The younger Imatorbhebhe choosing USC may have been a hint of the elder's dissatisfaction with Florida, which a source tells Alligator Army may be related to the spiritual Imatorbhebhe struggling to fit in with a less spiritual locker room and the difficulty of being away from his high school during what should have been the final semester of his senior year.
And it's also true that the Imatorbhebhes have West Coast roots: Born in Los Angeles, they grew up in Southern California before moving to Atlanta early in their lives. Daniel Imatorbhebhe considered Cal deep into the recruiting process, choosing the Gators over them and a few other schools. Heading to USC — as both players very well might — would be going home, in a way.
From all reports, Imatorbhebhe is a bright guy, and was a positive presence in the Florida locker room, so it's very hard to begrudge him making the difficult decision to transfer after one semester. We wish him the best of luck in finding his home in college and in college football.
For Florida, though, this isn't a huge loss. McGee is the obvious starter at tight end, and Goolsby and/or Lewis should be fine depth at the position in 2015, while a transfer this early in the 2016 recruiting cycle means Florida can simply return to the recruiting trail in pursuit of more tight ends.