Skip to main content

How Does Demarkcus Bowman’s Transfer Decision Affect the Gators’ RB Room?

Florida Gators running back Demarkcus Bowman entered the transfer portal late Friday evening.

Photo: Demarkcus Bowman; Credit: Alex Shepherd

The Florida Gators running backs room will look a bit different this fall after redshirt sophomore RB Demarkcus Bowman opted to enter the transfer portal on Friday. Bowman was slated to take on a role within the Gators' offense this year after playing sparingly last season.

Bowman, 5-foot-9, 192 pounds, originally transferred to UF from Clemson near the end of the 2020 season, becoming eligible to play in 2021. Now, the team will have to re-evaluate its depth at the position, potentially giving other backs more opportunities to play this season.

RELATED: Florida Gators RB Demarkcus Bowman Entering Transfer Portal

Taking a look at Florida's roster, there appears to be a path already in place for a few of its backs to see plenty of playing time. As it stands, redshirt senior RB Lorenzo Lingard, redshirt junior Nay'Quan Wright and transfer sophomore Montrell Johnson are the team's leading backs, in no particular order.

For Florida, Bowman was slated to compete for playing time with Lingard as Wright, one of the players expected to become a leader within the group, and Johnson, an impressive transfer who has already played within head coach Billy Napier's offense, are expected to lead the charge at the position.

Over the past couple of seasons, Wright has played second-fiddle to Florida's lead-backs, Dameon Pierce and Malik Davis. Both players are now headed off to greener pastures with Pierce selected in the fourth round of the NFL Draft by the Houston Texans and Davis signed to the Dallas Cowboys in undrafted free agency.

In his career, Wright has accounted for 142 carries for 563 yards and three touchdowns, while catching 34 passes for 401 yards and a touchdown. His experience and ability were reasons why he was thought to be the next player up in the rotation at RB regardless of who the coach was.

However, after the acquisition of Johnson via the transfer portal, things began to change. Johnson, who starred as a freshman at Louisiana last season, enters the Florida backfield with the most experience within Napier's offense. He accounted for 162 carries for 838 yards and 12 touchdowns last season.

Scroll to Continue

Read More

It is likely that Bowman's decision will affect neither Wright nor Johnson as they continue to appear to be the team's leaders within the RB room.

The biggest change could come to Lingard's potential playing status. After transferring to Florida in 2020 (via Miami), Lingard has yet to carve out a role within the Florida offense. He's accounted for just 16 carries for 75 yards and one reception for nine yards in two years.

The ability he showed at the prep level, however, has always seemed to elevate his status. Now, it appears that Napier and his staff have gained a level of confidence in him to expand his role this season.

During the team's spring game, Lingard played as one of the program's starting tailbacks due to Wright's recovery from injury. Lingard split time with Johnson with the first team, likely so the coaches could get a closer look at the redshirt senior.

Lingard would carry the ball just four times for 13 yards on the day due to an injury in the game. But, his ability shown in practice potentially gave him the leg-up on Bowman.

Florida's backfield is expected to be even more crowded during the fall, too, with incoming freshman tailback Trevor Etienne now on campus and ready to take on some type of role this season.

Though it's unlikely that Etienne will get serious playing time in just his first season at UF, his arrival likely played a role in Bowman's decision to transfer. 

Simply put, Florida's RB room was crowded. Though unproven, there are plenty of capable players within the building, and Bowman, although he always had potential, was the odd man out.

Stay tuned to AllGators for continuous coverage of Florida Gators football, basketball and recruiting. Follow along on social media at @SI_AllGators on Twitter and Florida Gators on Sports Illustrated on Facebook.