Sources: No more Gators leaving early

According to sources close to the team, no more Florida Gators juniors are expected to declare for the 2013 NFL Draft.

At least, the Florida football staff does not anticipate any additional players to leave school a year early. The disclaimer here is college kids can change their minds, but if any others declare it would be going against their coaches’ wishes — and advice — according to one of our sources.

If the inside information holds up through the Jan. 15 deadline to declare, then Matt Elam, Sharrif Floyd and Jordan Reed are the only UF juniors declaring for the draft, which means defensive end Dominique Easley and linebacker Jelani Jenkins will return for their senior seasons. Those are the two other Florida juniors who were thought to be considering entering the draft.

Florida coach Will Muschamp said in a release Friday that “Matt, Sharrif and Jordan all received high marks in the draft evaluation process.” According to draft experts, that’s true for Elam and Floyd, but Reed may have received different feedback from the NFL College Advisory Committee.

While Floyd and Elam project to be selected late in the first round or early in the second round, Reed is listed anywhere from the second to fourth rounds by NFL draft websites. ranked Reed as the No. 3 tight end behind a pair of other juniors who are expected to declare early in Notre Dame’s Tyler Eifert and Stanford’s Zach Ertz.

The Sports Xchange’s Rob Rang writes: “Lacking the bulk and blocking skills of Eifert, Ertz and most traditional tight ends, Reed isn’t a fit for every NFL offense. His fluidity and soft hands, however, are reminiscent of former Florida star Aaron Hernandez who has out-played his fourth round draft selection for the New England Patriots, establishing himself as one of the league’s most difficult matchups.”

The website noted how Reed was “being tutored” by Hernandez back in August and has the redshirt junior as the No. 4 tight end on its draft board. However, this statement after his announcement is interesting:

“Jordan Reed probably could have used one more year of school. There’s a strong chance he’d be drafted on Day 2 regardless, so why not?” from

In other words, the website believes another year in college wouldn’t have improved Reed’s draft stock anyway. One of the same sources who initially informed GC about Reed’s decision before the bowl game says that didweigh into his decision not to return for a fifth year at Florida.

NBCSports’ website also believes Reed will be a second day selection, but adds a wrinkle about the position he could end up playing in the NFL.

“He wasn’t very active during the team’s bowl game, but Reed may be this year’s top Joker option as an H-Back/tight end. The former quarterback is a natural receiver that moves very well in space. We’d expect a second day selection to be in his future, especially after a solid performance at the NFL Combine.” from

A different GC source said the only thing that kept Reed from announcing his intentions along with Elam and Floyd after the Gators’ 33-23 loss against Louisville in the Sugar Bowl was because he was waiting to learn the extent of a knee injury he suffered in the game. Reed said at the time he was “50-50” on his decision to declare.


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Mike Capshaw brings a wealth of experience to the Gator Country team. He’s been overseeing all editorial aspects of and Gator Country magazine by managing our team of staffers, interns and freelancers. He is now moving into a bigger role as a reporter by covering the football and basketball beats as well as providing coverage of all sports on campus. Mike’s 15 years in the business has included more than six years of covering SEC sports and recruiting at a daily newspaper in Arkansas. He has also helped launch a newspaper, magazines, websites and even a sports talk radio show. Because Mike puts family ahead of his career, he left the place where he was established when his wife received an opportunity to further her career at UF. He took a leap of faith that he could find a job in the Gainesville area and worked for a year at a newspaper group before joining the Gator Country family in November, 2011. Mike has won Florida Press Association awards for Best Sports Game Story and Best Sports Feature Story in the past two years as well as a company-wide award at his former newspaper group that includes some 60 publications, for Excellence in Sports Reporting. You can follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeCapshawGC.