Florida Gators kicker Chris Howard says he's entering NCAA transfer portal

Graham Hall
Gator Sports

Florida kicker Chris Howard will enter his name into the NCAA’s transfer portal, the fifth-year senior announced Monday on social media. 

“Gator Nation, Thank you for the countless memories, the relationships that will last a lifetime, and for the endless support over these last 5 years. To all my coaches, trainers, professors, and to everyone else who contributed to making my journey at Florida so special, I cannot begin to say how grateful I am for the opportunities,” Howard wrote. “As I enter my 6th and final year of my collegiate football career, my family and I have decided it’s time to see where the next step on my journey will take me. I will be entering the transfer portal with 1 year of eligibility remaining and am beyond excited to see what’s next. Thanks again, and Go Gators! #71G”

Howard arrived at Florida as a walk-on prior to the 2017 season, though he didn’t see the field in either of his first two seasons, and he made just five appearances between his redshirt sophomore and redshirt junior seasons with the Gators program.

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Florida Gators kicker Chris Howard (71) attempts a field goal during the annual Orange and Blue spring game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville Fla. April 14, 2022.

Chris Howard was expected to compete for starting job

During the 2021 season, Howard appeared in nine games with the Gators while splitting time with transfer Jace Christmann. Howard converted 7-of-9 field goal attempts while nailing all four of his extra-point attempts, and he was expected to compete for the role of the team's starting kicker under new UF coach Billy Napier. 

But in Florida’s Orange and Blue game on April 14, Howard missed a 32-yard field-goal attempt in the first half, while walk-on kicker Adam Mihalek converted a 52-yard attempt, followed by a successful 49-yard conversion. 

The Gators also signed kicker Trey Smack as part of the 2022 class. A native of Severna Park, Maryland, Smack will arrive in Gainesville prior to UF’s preseason camp.