Two former Gators decide on Louisville

Published: Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at 5:05 p.m.

Tight end Gerald Christian and wide receiver Robert Clark, who left the Florida football team during the bye week in October, have decided to transfer to Louisville, where they will play for former UF defensive coordinator Charlie Strong.

Christian and Clark will have to sit out next season, per NCAA transfer rules. They will be eligible as juniors in 2013.

Christian, the No. 2 tight end behind Jordan Reed, and Clark both cited a lack of playing time as their reason for deciding to transfer.

In seven games this season, Christian caught four passes for 72 yards. He had a 45-yard touchdown reception in the victory over Kentucky.

Clark had no receptions this season and was mainly a special teams player. As a true freshman in 2010, he caught seven passes for 69 yards and a touchdown.

While the two former Palm Beach Dwyer teammates are heading to Louisville, assistant strength coach Scott Holsopple is following former offensive coordinator Charlie Weis to Kansas, which announced last Wednesday that Holsopple was named the Jayhawks' director of strength and conditioning.

Holsopple served as the Gators' interim strength and conditioning coordinator after Mickey Marotti left last month to join Urban Meyer's staff at Ohio State.

UF named Marotti's full-time replacement last Tuesday — Jeff Dillman, who was the head of physical conditioning at the IMG Performance Institute in Bradenton.

Meanwhile, running back Chris Rainey and defensive tackle Jaye Howard have been selected to participate in the 2012 Senior Bowl on Jan. 28 in Mobile, Ala.

Rainey and Howard are the 15th and 16th players in UF history to participate in the Senior Bowl. Their selections mark the third consecutive year Florida has been represented in Mobile. In 2009, Riley Cooper and Tim Tebow took part in the Senior Bowl and in 2010 Ahmad Black, Marcus Gilbert, Chas Henry and Mike Pouncey played in the annual contest.

"It feels good. I know a lot of great players have come to this game and I'm glad I'm invited and hope to do the best that I can to compete with the other greats," Rainey said.

Howard, who garnered three SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week honors in his career, was fourth on the team with 65 tackles and second on the team with a career-high tying five and a half sacks in 2011.

"I want to prove that I'm one of the elite defenders in this class this year and it's a business trip for me," Howard said of the Senior Bowl.

Robbie Andreu is a Gainesville Sun staff writer.

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