Florida football news: Gators lose defensive assistant to Michigan, add two graduate transfers

By Adam Silverstein
January 15, 2021
Florida football news: Gators lose defensive assistant to Michigan, add two graduate transfers

Image Credit: UAA

Just as it looked like head coach Dan Mullen was set to fill all the vacancies on his coaching staff, another opened Friday. Linebackers coach Christian Robinson has decided to leave the Florida Gators for Michigan, according to FootballScoop.

It is not yet known what role Robinson, whose first three years as an on-field assistant were spent at Florida under Mullen, will take at Michigan nor why he has decided to leave the Gators. However, his former linebackers coach at Georgia is Michigan’s defensive coordinator. Robinson was the youngest coach on staff and a solid recruiter who is seen as an up-and-comer in the industry.

Prior to joining Florida, Robinson was a graduate assistant at his alma mater of Georgia (2013-14), Ole Miss (2015-16) and Mississippi State under Mullen in 2017.

Mullen now must find a new linebackers coach and one additional assistant for the secondary. Mullen fired assistants Torrian Gray and Ron English on Jan. 1 and has since hired Wesley McGriff for one of those roles.

It was believed that the Gators were seeking a co-defensive coordinator to work alongside embattled defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, but that may no longer be the case.

Former Florida assistant Travaris Robinson was believed to be a top candidate but ultimately joined the Miami staff instead. Longtime Gators assistant Charlie Strong is another name who has been bandied about but may now wind up on ex-Florida coach Urban Meyer’s staff with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Texas defensive coordinator Chris Ash, who is not expected to remain with the Longhorns, was concerned next up after Robinson, but that courting has apparently stalled.

Defensive line talent incoming

Auburn defensive tackle Daquan Newkirk (6-foot-3, 317 pounds) has decided to transfer to Florida. Newkirk, a former four-star prospect and the No. 15 JUCO prospect in the Class of 2018, started 10 games for the Tigers this season. The Orlando, Florida, native will join the program as a graduate transfer and be eligible immediately for his final collegiate campaign.

Earlier this month, Penn State defensive tackle Antonio Shelton (6-foot-2, 280 pounds) announced he would transfer to Florida. A three-star prospect in the Class of 2016, Shelton is also a graduate transfer who will be immediately eligible for the Gators. Shelton has started 19 games over the last two seasons but only seven in 2020. He committed to Florida over interest from other big-time programs, including Florida State and Michigan.

These additions are especially important for Florida, which will lose Kyree Campbell and Tedarrell Slaton from the interior of its defensive line this offseason.

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