GAINESVILLE -- If you told me back in January that only one University of Florida football player would transfer come summer, then I wouldn't have believed you.
It appears that reserve linebacker John Jones is going to be the Gators' only mid-summer transfer. Seeking more playing time, he is expected to transfer to Tennessee State this fall. If it's true that Jones is the only player transferring this summer, then consider the offseason a success.
Jones, of course, isn't the offseason's only transfer, but he is the only transfer to leave Florida by choice. Defensive tackle John Brown transferred to a Mississippi junior college because he was failing out of school. (Brown recently committed to play for the University of Tennessee in 2010.) Quarterback Cam Newton, arrested for a felony last year, transferred because he was never coming out of the doghouse. Then there's the story of Torrey Davis, another academic casualty.
Take Brown, Newton and Davis out of the equation and Jones is the lone deserter. That's an interesting trend considering a handful of players transferred last year. A junior, Jones has been buried on the depth chart since he arrived at UF in 2007. He played in 11 games last season (kickoff team, mostly) but never came close to breaking into the permanent linebacker rotation. With the arrival of freshmen linebackers Jon Bostic and Jelani Jenkins, Jones would likely have fallen further down the depth chart this summer.
Jones' story isn't unique for UF's defensive reserves. There are a couple players on the team who might never see the field as a defensive starter. So, what's keeping junior cornerback Moses Jenkins and junior linebacker Lorenzo Edwards from transferring? Florida coach Urban Meyer credits team chemistry.
"I made the comment as we were getting ready to play for that national championship game that this was the most professional, unselfish group I've ever been around," Meyer said. "Kids leave for a lot of reasons -- and if someone is not going to play, it's probably best to go ahead, if you want to play somewhere -- but we have really good chemistry on our team right now. Guys want to be here."
Guys want another ring.