Dante Fowler Jr. became the first Florida Gators player to be selected in the 2015 NFL Draft when the Jacksonville Jaguars took him with the third overall pick in the first round.
Fowler is the highest Florida Gator taken in the draft since Joe Haden was selected third overall by the Cleveland Browns in 2010 and is tied for the highest Gator ever to be drafted with Steve Spurrier (1967), Wes Chandler (1978) and Gerard Warren (2001).
Fowler came to Florida as a Signing Day surprise in 2012. The long, lean, pass rusher had been committed to rival Florida State for more than a year before switching his commitment to Florida at the final minute.
Fowler saw action in all 13 games that Florida played during his freshman season, including the first start of his career against Missouri. He was named a First-Team SEC Coaches’ All-Freshman and a Freshman All-American by CBS Sports after accumulating 30 tackles, eight for a loss and 2.5 sacks.
Fowler’s career blossomed from there. As a sophomore he amassed 50 tackles, 10.5 for a loss, 3.5 sacks, forced three fumbles and blocked a kick. As a junior, Fowler increased his tackle total to 60 and became more than just a pass rusher. Each season, Florida put more and more responsibility on Fowler and every time he responded. His 8.5 sacks and 15 tackles for a loss led the team despite opponents’ game planning for and double-teaming Fowler consistently.
Fowler was named a second-team All-American by Sporting News and was First-Team All-SEC following his junior campaign.
Throughout his career, Fowler was more than just a great player on the field. He never once had an off the field issue and became one of the biggest characters and media favorites, carrying Dominique Easley’s Chucky doll with him during Gator walk. From his dancing on the field in between plays, cheetah cleats and gold watch at the combine and all the way to his gold shoes in Chicago at the NFL Draft, Fowler has been nothing but himself for the past four years and the Jaguars will be getting as good of a person off the field as the player they expect to get on the field.