Thompson won't return for senior season

Thompson won't return for senior season

A young Florida roster has become even younger. The Gators were expecting senior outfielder Tyler Thompson to return and take the reigns as the center fielder, but he decided that he wouldn't play out his final year of eligibility. Thompson elected to leave the Gators for personal reasons.

Tyler Thompson hit .319 with two home runs and nine RBI in 16 games played in 2012. He tore his ACL while making an awkward turn around first base against Vanderbilt on March 16.

Thompson spent the offseason rehabbing his knee. He was expected to be healthy in time for Florida's season opener on February 15.

Daniel Pigott and Preston Tucker started with Thompson in the outfield on opening night last season. When Thompson went down, Pigott moved to center field and Justin Shafer played left field.

Pigott and Tucker graduated following the 2012 season.

Thompson's departure means the Gators will break in three new starting outfielders this season. Shafer will likely be in the outfield, but his position hasn't been determined. The Florida coaches trust him in any of the three spots.

After spending his freshman year at third base, Josh Tobias has also spent time working in the outfield this offseason. Vickash Ramjit could also see time at a corner outfield position.

Freshmen Christian Dicks, Cody Fulton and Harrison Bader, who is an impressive athlete that can play center field defensively, could also factor into the outfield.

FightinGators' Allison Banko first reported the story on Twitter Wednesday afternoon.

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