Florida freshman guard Chris Bleich enters transfer portal

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Florida guard Chris Bleich, who started eight of the team's first nine games this season, has decided to transfer.

Bleich entered the NCAA transfer portal Tuesday, three days after getting benched in a 24-17 loss to Georgia.

Gators offensive line coach John Hevesy confirmed the redshirt freshman's exit following practice, saying "we support Chris and everything he's doing."

Bleich emerged from fall camp as Florida's youngest starting offensive lineman. The 6-foot-6, 330-pounder showed his inexperience weekly, becoming a popular subject of fan criticism. He started splitting time with Richard Gouraige, who seemingly supplanted Bleich against the Bulldogs.

The 10th-ranked Gators (7-2, 4-2 Southeastern Conference) host Vanderbilt on Saturday.

With Gouraige now a starter, Florida's primary backups are true freshmen Ethan White and Michael Tarquin.

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