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Florida offensive lineman Brandon Sandifer to transfer

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The Gators’ glut of offensive linemen gets a bit smaller.

SEC Championship - Alabama v Florida Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Redshirt freshman offensive lineman Brandon Sandifer will transfer from Florida, Jim McElwain announced in a Monday press conference.

Sandifer was one of the offensive linemen pulled into McElwain’s 2015 recruiting class, and was considered a potential contributor at guard if he could shed some of the weight he carried as a high school senior. Sandifer did plenty of that shedding during a redshirt year in 2015, going from close to 400 pounds to a listed weight of 323 on Florida’s 2016 roster.

But he played only sparingly as a reserve lineman in 2016, appearing in just Florida’s games against North Texas and Tennessee. And Florida also appears to have its rotation at guard locked in, with Tyler Jordan, Fred Johnson, and Antonio Riles, Jr. likely to compete for the two starting roles, and probable centers T.J. McCoy and Brett Heggie also in the mix at interior lineman positions. With three years of eligibility remaining, Sandifer’s chances of spending most of those seasons on the field are much higher if he is somewhere other than Florida.

Sandifer’s departure is, likewise, not a huge blow to Florida’s offensive line. McElwain said Monday that he was “really excited about how our offensive line has progressed,” and it is expected that the Gators — who return every starter from their 2016 line other than left tackle David Sharpe, and are moving Martez Ivey out to that position, his most natural one, to replace him — will have a deep and talented corps of players for new offensive line coach Brad Davis to mold this year.

Sandifer is the third of the 20 enrollees in Florida’s 2015 recruiting class to transfer away from the program, following early enrollee tight end Daniel Imatorbhebhe — who transferred before even making it to June in 2015 — and all-purpose back Jordan Cronkrite, who left the team in December 2016. Imatorbhebhe landed at USC, while Cronkrite has yet to announce his next destination.