Blakely Departure No Big Deal For Gators

For the second time in the off-season, Florida football coach Will Muschamp finds himself losing a member of his first recruting class. Bradenton Manatee running back Mike Blakely is leaving campus after just one semester in Gainesville. Blakely's departure shouldn't have much of an impact on the 2011 Gators or the program in general, as long as the Gators remain healthy going forward.

The Gators will head into the fall with two proven performers in Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey. Demps has run for 1,901 yards and 17 touchdowns in his Gator career, while Rainey has 1,603 yards and 11 TD running the ball. The two seniors will be backed up by Mike Gillislee who gained 325 yards and scored seven touchdowns a year ago and Mack Brown who redshirted in 2010.

Four running backs is one fewer than you would like to have, but it's not a concern as long as three of the four are available most of the time. And that does not even consider utilizing Trey Burton in the running game. Burton ran for 349 yards and led the Gators with 11 touchdowns last season.

Looking to the future, Muschamp and company are in good shape with two of the nation's best already committed. Matt Jones (Seffner Armwood) and Mike Davis (Stone Mountain Stevenson) will get a chance to contribute right away. In fact, Blakely's departure might make it easier for the Gators to hold on to both standout runners since rarely does one school bring in two top runners in the same class.

Chances are Blakely's departure won't matter much. Truth is the 5-9, 180-pound scat back might not have been an ideal fit for this offense. Still, if the position is hit by injuries in the fall like it was this spring things could get dicey.

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