Story's transfer, injuries reduce Gators' numbers
Published: Friday, August 10, 2012 at 11:02 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, August 10, 2012 at 11:02 a.m.
Florida has been in preseason camp for only a week, but there's already been significant attrition.
A week after wide receivers coach/recruiting coordinator Aubrey Hill resigned, Florida coach Will Muschamp announced Friday that two players have sustained possible season-ending injuries and another has decided to transfer.
The injuries are to reserve defensive linemen Nick Alajajian and Kedrick Johnson.
Alajajian, a senior from Naples, is out for the season after fracturing his right knee. Johnson may be out for the season after dislocating his left knee.
The player who is transferring is redshirt freshman wide receiver Ja'Juan Story, a highly rated prospect coming out of high school who has struggled on the field in his short time at Florida, Muschamp said.
“Ja'Juan Story came to me yesterday and just didn't feel like he was fitting,” Muschamp said. “He's done an outstanding job as a student here, close to a 3.0 or 2.97, I believe. He just felt like he needed to transfer and sometimes that happens.
“When you don't fit or don't feel like you're fitting with what we're trying to (it's better to transfer). We wish him all the luck in the world.”
Story was a four-star prospect coming out of Nature Coach High School in Brooksville, but he was a high school quarterback who has struggled to make the transition to wide receiver.
“I had a great experience here and met a bunch of great people,” Story said in a statement released by UF. “It is a great football program with great players and coaches. It just wasn't the right fit for me."
Muschamp said UF has given Story his release, but there are some restrictions to where he can transfer.
“He and I discussed that. And that's between he and I,” Muschamp said. “He just felt like it wasn't a fit for him. That's fine. I get that. I understand that. At the end of the day, I want the young man to be happy and I'm going to help the young man anyway I can. The University of Florida, being a Gator, isn't for everybody.”
With the departure of Story, the Gators are down to seven scholarship wide receivers, including two true freshmen (Latroy Pittman and Raphael Andrades) and one veteran (Stephen Alli) who is still recovering from a fractured foot.
UF's defensive line also takes a hit with the loss of Alajajian, a tackle, and Johnson, who played in 12 games at defensive end last season.
“(Alajajian) got rolled up on in a drill. Disappointing for him in his senior season,” Muschamp said. “I hurt for him right now. We all need to pull together and support him.
“Kedric Johnson dislocated his knee. It's not determined totally how long he will be out, but it will be for a significant time. Again, another situation of contact. Just an unfortunate situation.”
As a true senior, Alajajian still has the option of redshirting if he decides he wants to return in 2013.
Also on the injury front, tailback Chris Johnson injured his neck in practice earlier this week, but is fine, Muschamp said. The target date for Alli to return is Sept. 1, while true freshman safety Marcus Maye (knee) could start practicing Sunday or Monday, Muschamp said.