Two Florida Gators announced big news in very different ways on Monday afternoon.
Senior defensive back Jaylen Watkins announced that he has accepted an invitation to play in the Senior Bowl and junior defensive back Loucheiz Purifoy announced he was leaving school early and will declare for the 2014 NFL Draft.
Watkins, a senior, played all over the secondary for the injury riddled Gators in 2013, finishing third on the team in tackles (52).
The Senior Bowl will take place on January 25, 2014 at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama.
Other potential Gators being considered for the game are Trey Burton, Jonotthan Harrison, Jon Halapio and Solomon Patton.
Purifoy entered the season as a hot name from draft experts to watch out for this season. He was expected to make an impact in all three phases of the game but didn’t pan out on offense the way most people expected him to. Still, Purifoy is projected to be a high round pick this year and he will certainly impress with his physical tools at the NFL scouting combine.
Purifoy finished his career at Florida playing in 37 games with 102 tackles, 12 pass breakups, five forced fumbles, 4.5 tackles-for-loss, three blocked kicks, two interceptions, two sacks and a fumble recovery.
In a statement release by the University, Will Muschamp backed Purifoy’s decision to leave early 100%.
“There are a lot of factors that go into making these individual and personal decisions and I’m 100 percent supportive of Loucheiz’s choice to enter into the NFL Draft,” Muschamp said. “Loucheiz has come a long way from when I sat in his living room with his family during the recruiting process and he also knows his work is not done. We wish him nothing but the best of luck and look forward to watching him on Sundays. As we have with other former Gators, we encourage him to return to Florida and complete his degree.”
The decision to leave school early isn’t an easy one, but it was one that Purifoy seemed to have his mind made up before the final game of the season against Florida State. Joe Schad of ESPN reported that Purifoy told him after the game that he would be taking his talents to the NFL.
Florida CB Loucheiz Purifoy just told me he’ll enter the next NFL Draft
— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) November 30, 2013
In a statement released by the University, Purifoy thanked his coaches at Florida and said he looks forward to the challenge and opportunity that awaits him at the next level.
“I have had a great three years at the University of Florida, but at this time I think it’s best for me and my family to pursue a career in the NFL,” Purifoy said. “Coach Muschamp and Coach Robinson have put me in a position to take the next step. I know there is still a lot of work for me ahead, but I appreciate what everyone at Florida did to get me to this point. As much as I look forward to playing in the NFL, I will miss my teammates and coaches and look forward to watching them play next year.”