Ingram is one of just nine scholarship seniors on the roster for the Gators. He became a member of the Gators' leadership committee after almost transferring from Florida to South Florida two years ago. After growing up just 15 miles down the road in Hawthorne, Ingram came to the Gators as a quarterback before being moved to tight end in 2005. He also played in 19 games as a freshman for the Gator basketball team.
"It's the hardest part of this game," Meyer said. "It's that hardest part of coaching, it's the hardest part of playing. He's one class away from graduation. The future of his career, I don't think will be hurt. I think it'll hurt that he won't be able to play because he's such a good leader and a good kid. He's one of my favorite kids of all time."
Ingram was one of the most popular guys on the team, and several of his teammates responded by going to his house last night to comfort him after learning of the news.
"They took it real hard," Meyer said. "I'm hoping that the chemistry on this team is so strong that when a guy goes down they all try a little bit harder. In the championship year we had an offensive linemen break his leg and another one get hurt almost in the same practice. Brandon James missed the first three or four practices and one of our best players go thrown off the team. Obviously when you have a good team with good players, they are a little tighter and go a bit harder."
"A lot of guys were very disappointed about it when they found out," quarterback Tim Tebow said. "A lot of guys went over his house last night to encourage him."
Tebow said Ingram's spirits were good despite yesterday's news.
"He's doing good for coming into his senior year and not being able to play," Tebow said. "It's tough. It's a game he loves to play and it was going to be a big year for him and he's not going to be able to experience it. He's also a very resilient guy that's going to work hard to get back at the next level."
Tebow also said the Ingram will remain a big part of the team.
"He's one of us and it's very disappointing," he said. "He's still going to be around and he's going to be a leader. This is still his team."
The Gators were hoping to utilize some two tight end formations this season, but Meyer said with redshirt senior Tate Casey back, that can still happen.
"It certainly puts a little dent in it," Meyer said.
"It takes away a huge asset for us and a key guy," Tebow said. "You can't replace a guy like CI. The good thing about Florida is that we have guys that can step up. They can't replace him, but they can fill in."
Ingram has 64 catches for 888 yards and eight touchdowns for his career. He had four catches for 58 yards in the national championship game against Ohio State and had one of his best games wearing the Orange and Blue against Arkansas in the 2006 SEC Championship Game when he pulled in six catches for 71 yards.
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