Top Clemson and Kentucky Players Not Playing in the Gator Bowl

    The Kentucky Wildcats and Clemson Tigers will face off in the Gator Bowl, but neither will be at full strength. Who won't play on Friday?

    Two teams that finished disappointing seasons face off when the Clemson Tigers and Kentucky Wildcats face off in the Gator Bowl. With the NFL Draft and transfer portal playing prominent roles in premature exits, we look at the players who won’t be playing this weekend.

    Top Clemson, Kentucky Players Not Playing the Gator Bowl

    Using the College Football Network Bowl Game Opt-Out Tracker, we know the players who won’t be playing in the Gator Bowl and will miss the Clemson vs. Kentucky game.

    Clemson Players To Miss the Gator Bowl

    Clemson came into the 2023 season expecting to compete for a conference title and to find an offensive revival. Struggles on offense led to some losses, and it pointed to the concern of Dabo Swinney’s refusal to utilize the transfer portal.

    After a tough year, fans are hoping that Swinney changes his mind when it comes to that, especially with some of the talent they’re losing after 2023. The offense didn’t take a ton of huge hits, though running backs Domonique Thomas and Mitchell Mayes put their names in the portal.

    MORE: Top ACC Transfer Portal Departures

    The defense, arguably the team’s strength this year, lost some key players. Jeremiah Trotter Jr. declared for the draft and opted to miss the bowl game. Cornerback Nate Wiggins and defensive tackle Ruke Orhorhoro also opted out.

    A surprise of the offseason was linebacker Barrett Carter and running back Will Shipley deciding to play in the game. While Shipley’s future with the program remains unknown, Carter announced he would return in 2024.

    Clemson Players Expected To Miss the Gator Bowl

    • Domonique Thomas, RB (transfer portal)
    • David Ojiegbe, EDGE (transfer portal)
    • Andrew Mukuba, S (transfer portal)
    • Toriano Pride Jr., CB (transfer portal)
    • Sage Ennis, TE (transfer portal)
    • Beaux Collins, WR (transfer portal)
    • Mitchell Mayes, OT (transfer portal)
    • Hunter Helms, QB (transfer portal)
    • Lannden Zanders, S (transfer portal)
    • Jeremiah Trotter Jr., LB (NFL Draft)
    • Nate Wiggins, CB (NFL Draft)
    • Ruke Orhorhoro, DT (NFL Draft)

    Kentucky Players To Miss the Gator Bowl

    Mark Stoops understands that some of his players are making business decisions by not playing in the bowl game, but he’s holding out hope that a couple will participate despite their initial intentions.

    Star running back Ray Davis and cornerback Andru Phillips opted out of the bowl game, but Stoops isn’t ruling out either. Tackle Kenneth Horsey also made his intentions to enter the draft known and won’t play in the game.

    MORE: All You Need To Know About the Gator Bowl

    Losing the Wade brothers, Keaten and Destin, hurt the program too. Both entered the transfer portal and committed to Colorado shortly afterward.

    Backup quarterback Kaiya Sheron and tight end Jordan Dingle were the only bigger contributors that won’t participate in the bowl game as they both entered the portal.

    However, when linebacker J.J. Weaver announced he would return in 2024, Kentucky got a huge return.

    Kentucky Players Expected To Miss the Gator Bowl

    • Jordan Dingle, TE (transfer portal)
    • Kaiya Sheron, QB (transfer portal)
    • Martez Thrower, LB (transfer portal)
    • Destin Wade, QB (transfer portal)
    • Shamar Porter, WR (transfer portal)
    • Keaten Wade, WR (transfer portal)
    • Luke Fulton, LB (transfer portal)
    • JuTahn McClain, RB (transfer portal)
    • Izayah Cummings, WR (transfer portal)
    • Jamarius Dinkins, DL (transfer portal)
    • Grant Bingham, OL (transfer portal)
    • Dekel Crowdus, WR (transfer portal)
    • Jalen Geiger, CB (transfer portal)
    • Elijah Reed, CB (transfer portal)
    • Ray Davis, RB (NFL Draft)
    • Andru Phillips, CB (NFL Draft)
    • Kenneth Horsey, OT (NFL Draft)

    Miss any action from the top college QB Rankings during the 2023 football season? Want to track all the movement with the college football’s transfer portal? College Football Network has you covered with that and more!

    College Football Transfer Portal Tracker

    Never miss a beat with the CFN-exclusive College Football Transfer Portal Tracker, listing the student-athletes entering and exiting the transfer portal.

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