Fowler's leaving with 'Champ ... who else could go to the NFL?
Florida may not have had the bounce back season fans had hoped for, but the Gators still possess a wealth of talent at several positions, especially on defense.
So much talent that some of Florida’s best players are possibilities to declare early for the 2015 NFL Draft and forego their senior seasons.
Let’s take a look at some of the players that have already declared and those other players that could leave early, too.
Dante Fowler, DE
Stats: 57 total tackles, 5.5 sacks, 12.0 tackles for loss, 15 QB hurries
When: He declared for the NFL Draft shortly after Will Muschamp was dismissed as head coach. He announced it via Twitter.
I came in with champ. I’m leaving with Him.
— Dante fowler (@TheDanteFowler6) November 19, 2014
Why: Aside from being an athletic freak at 6-foot-3, 260-pounds, Fowler’s pro prospects are about as good as anyone on Florida’s roster. He’s a consensus first-round pick in the upcoming draft and is expected to be an impact pass rusher at the next level. And with his head coach leaving, there’s even less incentive for returning for his senior season.
Matt Jones, RB
Stats: 166 carries, 817 yards, 6 TD; 11 rec., 65 receiving yards, 1 TD
When: The junior running back declared on Dec. 1. Jones later tweeted “Always bleed orange and blue” later that day.
Why: Jones is a physical specimen at 6-foot-2, 235-pounds for a running back. He’s a tall, physical back that has the frame to withstand a bunch of hits throughout the game. Unfortunately for Jones, he’s had some trouble staying healthy at Florida and with a full junior season under his belt, it was probably best for him to move on instead of risking another injury during his senior season. He’s expected to be a mid-round (4th-6th) pick in the draft.
Tyler Moore, OL
When: Tyler Moore’s father confirmed his decision to leave early back on Nov. 24.
Why: Out of the three players to declare for the NFL Draft, Moore’s is by far the most confusing. He hasn’t seen much playing time since arriving at Florida after transferring from Nebraska. His size is good at 6-foot-5, 325-pounds, but the consistency just hasn’t been there yet on the field. If he does stick with his decision to go to the draft, there’s a good chance he may not be drafted at all.
Who could be next?
Antonio Morrison, LB
Stats: 98 total tackles, 1.0 sacks, 6.0 tackles for loss, one INT
Why: After a dreadful sophomore season, Morrison bounced back well with an outstanding junior campaign. He is the team’s leading tackler and is one of the Gators’ most consistent players on defense. However, he’s had some off-the-field issues which could keep him at Florida another year.
DJ Humphries, OT
Why: Humphries, a former five-star offensive line prospect, came into Florida with expectations that he would become the anchor of the offensive line. He’s struggled to remain consistently at a high-level during his three seasons with the Gators, but there’s no denying his talent level. He’s 6-foot-5, 295-pounds, but incredibly athletic. His footwork is very fast and fluid and he displays great lateral agility. Durability issues might force him back for his senior season, however.
Jonathan Bulldard, DL
Stats: 46 total tackles, 1.5 sacks, 7.5 tackles for loss
Why: What jumps out the most about Bullard is his versatility along the defensive line. He can line up in several different techniques and positions and it’s that kind of versatility that makes him an intriguing draft prospect. Bullard has already announced he’ll at least seek feedback from the NFL, but with the kind of breakout season he had at defensive tackle, it’s likely he’ll join the three Florida players already heading to the pros.