June 19, 2024

BREAKING: Envisioning Roles for Florida’s 2024 Transfers

Florida leaned into the winter transfer portal to upgrade its roster for the second offseason in a row, securing a dozen college football veterans to bolster the Gators’ roster entering the 2024 offseason.

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All Gators is projecting roles for each transfer acquisition. Next on the list is wide receiver Chimere Dike, who is reuniting with his former quarterback, Graham Mertz, at Florida after the two previously played together at Wisconsin.

Following four seasons with the Badgers, none of which he redshirted, Dike joins Florida as a graduate transfer with one season of eligibility remaining, thanks to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic eligibility extension awarded to college athletes who were active at the time.

The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Dike was a consensus three-star prospect in the class of 2020, from Waukesha (Wis.) North High School.

But despite his middling ranking as a prospect, Dike made an immediate impact for the Badgers, starting in six of his seven appearances as a freshman in 2020 and hauling in 12 passes for 189 yards and one touchdown. He added six rushes for 48 yards that year.

Although Dike took a step back into a depth role as a second-year freshman, he increased his statistical totals in 2021 with 19 catches for 272 yards and another score over 13 appearances.

The production led to his emergence as a full-time starter and significant contributor in 2022, his final season with Mertz in the Big 10.

Dike led the Badgers with 47 receptions, 689 yards and six touchdowns as a sophomore, accounting for 28.6%, 32.3% and 31.6% of Mertz’s production in those respective categories.

Without Mertz leading the Wisconsin offense, Dike’s offensive output took a drastic step back in 2023, as he tallied 19 grabs for 328 yards and one touchdown. All the while, Mertz set single-season career highs in completion percentage (72.9%), passing yards (2,903) and touchdowns (20) with the Gators.

Like Mertz’s progression, Florida hopes to unlock a new level of Dike’s game in head coach Billy Napier’s offensive scheme. At a minimum, it is banking on Dike returning to the level of play he displayed with Mertz as his quarterback in 2022 as the Gators aim to build upon the signal-caller’s successful performance in 2023.

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Dike will have plenty of opportunities to strive for those goals.

The Gators lost their No. 1 wide receiver, Ricky Pearsall, this offseason as he completed his eligibility and is off to the NFL Draft. Caleb Douglas, who started alongside Pearsall to begin the 2023 season before a year-ending injury, and Thai Chiaokhiao-Bowman, a depth pass-catcher, also exited UF by way of the transfer portal after the campaign.

Returning from the first-team receiver lineup is Freshman All-American Eugene Wilson III, who posted a team-leading six touchdowns over 61 receptions and 538 yards as a rookie, and redshirt junior Kahleil Jackson, who filled in for Douglas to close 2023 and accumulated 21 catches for 251 yards and one touchdown along the way.

With Wilson likely to operate primarily out of the slot in place of Pearsall, Dike will compete with Jackson, senior Ja’Quavion Fraziars, redshirt junior Marcus Burke, and sophomores Andy Jean and Aidan Mizell for a starting role at outside receiver.

Dike logged 1,279 snaps outside compared to 769 snaps in the slot as a contributor to Wisconsin’s offense, though, meaning he could align in both spots for Florida.

But Dike’s career production, 97 receptions for 1,478 yards and nine touchdowns, could offer him a leg up on the competition outside while Wilson has already proven himself capable inside. The quintet of Jackson, Fraziars, Burke, Jean and Mizell have combined for 58 receptions, 760 yards and four touchdowns in college to date.

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