Portis to leave UF
Published: Friday, December 9, 2005 at 9:42 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, December 9, 2005 at 12:18 p.m.
True Florida freshman quarterback Josh Portis is transferring to another school, his mother confirmed Friday.
Patricia Portis said her son informed the UF coaches and other school officials Friday morning that he is leaving.
"He has been very puzzled about this for some time," Patricia Portis said. "Now he's relieved. This was a long, hard decision. There comes a time where every family has to make their decision and that's what we've done."
Patricia Portis said Josh will remain with the team through the Jan. 2 Outback Bowl.
She said her son is transferring for a number of reasons, the most significant being a lack of playing time and a lack of opportunity to show his skills on the rare occasions he has played this season.
"Josh has been very loyal to the program, very loyal to the Gators," she said. "He's done everything he's been asked to do. He's been a good student and he's a great kid.
"The bottom line is (the coaches) won't let his talent be shown on the field. He needs to be at an institution where all his talents can be taken care of. He needs to grow. He needs to be in a situation where they will develop him and not put him in one play and take him out the next. They would only let him run the ball and if he made one mistake and they would take him out.
"A lot of things were told to him in recruiting. Coach (Urban) Meyer never told him he would start (as a true freshman), but he said he would give him a fair chance to compete Josh feels he hasn't gotten that chance."
Josh Portis told The Sun late Thursday night that "everything was fine" and he planned to stay at Florida. But Patricia Portis said that changed after she had a conversation with Josh early Friday morning. Patricia said she Josh met with Meyer and UF associated athletic director Jamie McCloskey to inform them of Josh's decision to transfer. Josh could not be reached for comment.
Patricia Portis said Josh will not transfer to another SEC school. She said she and Josh gave UF officials a list of schools he might look into, but she would not reveal the schools..
Patricia Portis said her son's transfer is something he's been discussing with her for the past month.
"I can't go into detail," Patricia Portis said. "He just has to do what's best for him."
Portis has played in six games this season, rushing for 163 yards on 29 carries and completing six of 12 passes for 81 yards, with one interception.
Patricia Portis said her son's lack of playing time isn't as disappointing as the fact he hasn't had a chance to show what he can do (especially in the passing game) when he does play. She said she and Josh were especially upset that Josh didn't get an opportunity to play in the the second half of the Florida State game, a 34-7 Gator rout.
"If you're trying to develop your backup quarterback, don't you give him an opportunity in a situation like that?," Patricia Portis said.
Patricia Portis said UF's recruitment of St. Augustine Nease's Tim Tebow, one of the nation's elite quarterback prospects, was not a factor in Josh's decision.
"Heck, no," she said. "It doesn't matter who they are going after. There are just a lot of things Josh is capable of doing and he hasn't had a chance to do them. There are no hard feelings. He's just going to do what he feels is best for him."
Josh Portis' relationship with Meyer goes back to his junior year at Taft High School in Woodland Hills, Calif. Portis committed to Meyer, who was the head coach at Utah, early in his senior season. When Meyer took the UF job last December, Meyer recruited Portis to Florida. Portis enrolled at UF last January and participated in spring drills. He has been Chris Leak's backup throughout the 2005 season.
Portis' departure leaves the Gators with only two scholarship quarterbacks — Leak, a junior, and redshirt freshman Cornelius Ingram, whom the coaches were considering moving to another position after the season. Junior Gavin Dickey played quarterback in his first two seasons, but has been strictly a wide receiver in 2005.
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