2011 Florida Gators: Bye Bye, Chris Martin; Who Steps Up Now?

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2011 Florida Gators: Bye Bye, Chris Martin; Who Steps Up Now?
Joe Murphy/Getty Images
Former Gator defensive end Derrick Harvey was once a BCS title game defensive most outstanding player. Is there a current UF DE who can have similar big games?

Bye bye, Chris Martin. We hardly knew you.

The one-time 5-star prospect who transferred to Florida after signing with California sat out the 2010 season per NCAA rules. He was to be eligible to play next season, and the Gators expected he could play a major role as a pass rusher.

But now he's gone.

Gone for real. Not gone like "reported" in an embarrassingly erroneous story on a Gator fan site in March. Really gone. 

After letting coach Will Muschamp know he would like to be closer to his home in Colorado, Martin was released from his scholarship and obligations to UF just a couple of months after completing spring ball as a second-team defensive end.

So, who is left to step in for Martin?

A few possibilities include 6'2", 241-pound redshirt junior Lerentee McCray (14 career tackles, 1 FF and 0.5 TFL), 6'4", 225-pound redshirt sophomore Kedric Johnson (four career tackles, 1 TFL, 1 PD), 6'7", 217-pound redshirt freshman Lynden Trail (who has supposedly added around 30 pounds since being listed at 217 upon arrival), 6'4", 234-pound true freshman Clay Burton and 6'5", 260-pound true freshman Tevin Westbrook. Also don't discount 6'7", 282-pound redshirt junior tackle Earl Okine (five career tackles, one TFL, one sack) moving back to end.

How obscure are those guys? We don't have a photo for any of them.

Because of that, don't be surprised to see 6'2", 278-pound sophomore Dominique Easley (four tackles), 6'3", 303-pound sophomore Sharrif Floyd (23 tackles, 6.5 TFL) or 6'3", 302-pound fifth-year senior Jaye Howard (66 tackles, 19 TFL, seven sacks, one FR) slide over to end from tackle to allow UF to get its best players on the field. Of that trio, Howard may be the best bet, having started four times at end in 2010.

But there are two who have established themselves, and they will be expected to step up the most.

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