Photo: Andrew Chatfield; Credit: University of Florida athletic association
It was an interesting sight to see redshirt junior edge rusher Andrew Chatfield on the field for the Florida Gators against FAU on Saturday night. Just five days before the game, Chatfield had entered the NCAA transfer portal and was expected to take his talents elsewhere.
Lo and behold, though, Chatfield earned playing time in week one as Florida rotated players through its defense. He continues to practice with the team as well, according to head coach Dan Mullen.
“Yeah, yeah," Mullen said on Monday, asked if Chatfield remains with the team and if has been practicing. "Yeah, he played in the game on Saturday.”
Chatfield's entrance into the transfer portal came as a bit of a surprise last week as the Plantation, Fla. native has strung together some flashy performances during the 2020 season. Appearing in all 12 games a year ago, Chatfield would compile 13 tackles, two sacks, 3.5 tackles for loss and a batted pass.
A member of a deep edge rushing unit, Chatfield had been expected to see his role continue to increase in 2021. However, he dealt with what Mullen described to be nagging injuries throughout fall camp prior to his name appearing in the portal.
Asked if the Gators hope to keep Chatfield in town and on the team, Mullen responded: “That would be up to him, I guess, more than us. I mean, there’s nowhere to go right now. So, he’s still here with the team.”
Well over 1,000 players could be found in the transfer portal throughout the offseason, many of which found new homes while many others could not find proverbial greener grass to play on.
As things stand, despite the confusion, Chatfield is a Gator and is a part of the team's plans moving forward. However, this is obviously a situation worth monitoring as the 2021 season continues, as the decision to play elsewhere or remain in Gainesville lies solely in Chatfield's hands.
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