Junior cornerback Marcus Roberson has decided to forego his senior season at the University of Florida for the chance to pursue a career in the NFL.
You can’t call the news unexpected but that doesn’t make it an easier pill to swallow for Gator fans.
“Marcus has informed me that he has made the decision to pursue his dream of playing in the NFL,” Will Muschamp said in a press release by the school.
Roberson was a key member of Muschamp’s first recruiting class at Florida and is the second player from that recruiting class to leave early — joining Loucheiz Purifoy.
“Marcus was part of our first recruiting class and it was a pleasure watching him mature and develop both on and off the field during his time here,” Muschamp said. “I look forward to watching him play on Sundays and, like all of our players, I encourage them to return to complete his degree.”
Roberson played in seven games, including four starts, as a junior but missed time with injuries and a suspension for violating team rules. In his career, Roberson totaled 56 tackles, 17 pass breakups and three interceptions.
“I’m very thankful of everyone at Florida that helped me to get to this point in my career,” Roberson said through the school. “From Tony Meacham, my academic adviser, to Jeff Dillman to Coach Muschamp and the entire coaching staff. It’s been a great experience here and now that it is over I can truly appreciate everything that is in place here for players to be successful and have an opportunity to play at the next level.”
Roberson projects as a second or third round pick in the NFL Draft but could improve on that projection with good workouts at the combine and for teams as well as impressing potential suitors during the interview process. Roberson will have to answer some tough questions from NFL general managers about why he was suspended against South Carolina this past season, during the pre-draft interview process.
His departure — coupled with the departure of Purifoy — leaves Florida very thin at cornerback this spring. As the roster currently looks, the Gators will only have Vernon Hargreaves, Nick Washington and early enrollee Duke Dawson as pure outside cornerbacks when spring practice kicks off.
A likely solution would be to slide Cody Riggs back down to cornerback after moving him to safety last season. The Gators have a talented class of defensive backs including Quincy Wilson and Chris Lammons. All three cornerback commits in the class of 2014 will now be asked and counted on to contribute early.