Back injury ends Kelleher's career

Florida offensive lineman Nolan Kelleher came to Gainesville with a back injury and it ended up costing him his career.

Drew Sarvary announced on Facebook Monday that his career was over because of concussions, and on Tuesday, Florida made it official that Nolan Kelleher’s career is over because of a back injury.

Kelleher enrolled at Florida during the spring but was held out of practice because of the back injury. As a four-star recruit, the Gators stole him out of Mount Pleasant, S.C., away from instate Clemson and South Carolina.

The 6-5, 311-pounder would have provided depth to an offensive line that will desperately need it in 2015. Whenever a new Florida coach is announced, the Gators might need to add some junior college bodies to the position.

If all of the underclassmen return on the offensive line next season, Florida will return only nine scholarship offensive linemen. It’s still possible that junior D.J. Humphries elects to enter the NFL Draft, which would cause the Gators to have only eight scholarship linemen next season.

The more concerning part is how many of those players are experienced. Without Humphries, only Trip Thurman and Rod Johnson would have any starting experience on next year’s offensive line. The Gators would also have to depend on second-year players to play next season, including David Sharpe, Andrew Mike, Kavaris Harkless and Travaris Dorsey. Sharpe is the only one of the four that played during the 2014 regular season.

The Gators will also be searching for a new center. Max Garcia made the transition before 2014 and played very well, but the former Maryland transfer will graduate later this month and move on to the next level. Thurman did take snaps at center this year and could be a fit to make that move, but it would thin out the number of interior linemen on the roster.

Florida continues to wait on its bowl game and should know by the end of Sunday.

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