Former Fordham offensive lineman Mason Halter will transfer to Florida in 2015, having announced the move via a tweet that linked to the below Instagram post.
On the 23rd of June I'll be heading down to the University of Florida to start my masters degree and fulfill my last year of eligibility playing as a Gator! Can't thank the Fordham coaching staff and all my teammates over the year for molding me into the player I am today! Can't wait to get down to Florida and start grinding with the team #GoGators
Halter spent four years at Fordham, but did not play in his freshman season in 2011, due to a bout of mononucleosis, and was unable to get a redshirt granted by the notoriously strict Patriot League, meaning that he had a year of elilgibilty remaining, but no way of using it at Fordham.
And thanks to his graduation from the New York school in May, he will be able to compete immediately for the Gators — but he was also going to be able to compete immediately for nascent FBS team Old Dominion, and is backing off a pledge to the Colonials to come to Florida, he told The Virginian-Pilot's Harry Minium:
Halter said he feels bad about not honoring his commitment to ODU, but said the chance to play at Florida and in the SEC was something he could not turn down. The scholarship papers he signed with ODU were not binding, meaning he is a free agent until he enrolls in school.
"I think the coaches at ODU were a little upset, and I don’t blame them," he said. "I signed an agreement and went back on my word a bit.
"But this was a great opportunity. I could not turn it down."
That opportunity — Halter could figure into the mix for Florida at either tackle position — is great because of Florida's extraordinary need on the offensive line, but also because Halter's no scrub. An FCS All-American in both 2013 and 2014, Halter has excellent size for the position at 6'8" and 297 pounds, according to his Fordham bio. His highlight film — which begins with two catches on tackle-throwback plays, including one that produced a two-point conversion against Cincinnati in 2012 — is stellar.
Halter moves very well for his size, clearly, and though he may struggle with leverage against SEC defenders because of his height and relatively lanky frame — 297 pounds isn't that much for a 6'8" tackle, especially relative to the monsters that dwell on SEC defensive lines — he has long arms that he uses well.
Halter brings Florida's projected offensive lineman tally for the fall of 2015 to 14. Though only one of them — Trip Thurman, whose injury history leaves his status somewhat questionable — has started at the FBS level before, the numbers are definitely much healthier than much of the doom and gloom about the Gators' offensive line situation this offseason has implied.