Florida Gators receiver Justin Shorter cleared to leave hospital; Jacob Copeland transferring to Maryland

Florida receiver Justin Shorter has been cleared to leave the hospital on Friday after being carted off the field in the Gators' 29-17 loss to UCF in the Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl.

In a statement, the Shorter family said, "We are happy to share that Justin is doing well, is clear to head home today and is on his way to a full recovery! We would like to thank everyone for the outpouring of prayers, love and endless support - he is going to be fine! Special thanks to everyone on the UF athletic staff and St. Joseph's Hospital for their professionalism, care and support they have shown Justin and our family. Wishing everyone a Happy Holiday and a blessed 2022! Go Gators!"

Late in the fourth quarter on Thursday night, Shorter went up for a pass from Emory Jones and was hit in the back by UCF defensive back Quadric Bullard, his head snapping backward.

Shorter lay motionless on the turf for several moments as Florida's medical staff rushed out to assist him. Silence filled Raymond James Stadium, as Florida players gathered around Shorter, and UCF players took a knee on their own sideline.

Shorter was eventually carted off the field and taken to the hospital.

The junior from Monmouth Junction, New Jersey, had 41 catches for 550 yards and three touchdowns this season.

Also Friday, Florida wide receiver Jacob Copeland, who played in the bowl game despite entering the transfer portal earlier this month, announced he's transferring to Maryland.

Copeland has started 23 games and appeared in 40 contest for the Gators, recording 86 receptions for 1,366 yards and nine touchdowns. This season, he had 41 catches for 642 yards and four touchdowns, including two receptions for 35 yards in Thursday's loss to UCF.

ESPN rated Copeland as the No. 40 overall recruit in the 2018 class. The Pensacola, Florida, native ranked seventh in the SEC in yards per reception (15.66) this season.

ESPN's Adam Rittenberg contributed to this report.