Florida Gators quarterback Anthony Richardson declares for 2023 NFL draft

Gator Country has learned that redshirt sophomore Anthony Richardson will declare for the 2023 NFL draft.

Richardson took to social media to announce his decision.

“It was a childhood dream of mine to become a collegiate-student athlete. That dream came true when Coach Mullen and his staff offered me the opportunity to become a student-athlete at the University of Florida. I will forever be grateful to him and his staff for believing in me and my potential,” Richardson wrote in a Twitter graphic.

“My time at the University of Florida has been filled with great experiences on and off the field. I have had the opportunity to connect with unique people. I will forever be thankful for those life-changing moments. Running out of the tunnel with my brothers in front of 90,000 fans is an experience I will never forget. The Swamp and Gator Nation is second to none!

First and foremost, I thank God for always watching over my family and me. He has truly blessed us to be in this position. Thank you to Coach Napier and his staff for molding me into the player and person I am today. I am forever thankful for my teammates and the memories we created. I want to thank the athletic trainers, equipment managers, academic advisors, tutors, and support staff for showing me that everyone is essential to success. I am sending a very special thank you to the City of Gainesville and everyone who has influenced me and demonstrated their love, care, and support over the years.

Most importantly, I would like to thank my mother, LaShawnda Cleare, for her sacrifice and everything she has done for me throughout this journey. She continuously showed me that hard work pays off, and I will forever be grateful to her!

After much prayer, consideration, and speaking with my family, I have decided to forgo the upcoming bowl game and my remaining years of college eligibility to enter the 2023 NFL Draft. As I take my next step in this journey, I will always be a Gator and strive to make Gator Nation proud! Go Gators!”

The Eastside High School product out of Gainesville, Florida was a part of Florida’s 2020 recruiting class. The athletic ability shown in his HS tape created hype within Gator Nation.

Richardson appeared in four games during his freshman campaign, making just two pass attempts, one for a touchdown and one for an interception. He flashed his ability to run, taking off seven times for 61 yards in 2020.

In 2021, we got our first real glimpse of his passing ability. He connected on 38 of his 64 passes for 529 yards, six touchdowns, and five interceptions. He ran 51 times for 401 yards and three touchdowns. Richardson split time with Emory Jones this season but had several games where he flashed greatness. His performances against USF and LSU sent Gator Nation into an offseason of Heisman chatter.

In his third season, and first as the starter for the Florida Gators, Richardson struggled with accuracy. He connected on just 54% of his passes for 2,549 yards, 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions. The 6-4, 240-pound quarterback was always at his best when he willingly took off downfield. He ran for 654 yards and nine touchdowns in his final season as a Gator.

Richardson has the athletic ability to make every throw in the book, he can simply do things other QBs at his age can’t do. However, accuracy was Richardson’s downfall this season, and was one reason Florida ended up with a 6-6 record.

The return of Anthony Richardson seemed like the obvious decision for most fans and some NFL scouts, as ESPN’s Chris Mortenson recently reported that NFL scouts told him that they think Richardson could benefit from another year. However, I saw many NFL mock drafts placing Richardson in the first round and even the top ten of the upcoming NFL draft.

Nonetheless, Richardson’s time at Florida has come to an end. Billy Napier will soon name a replacement for the Gators Bowl game and may look for a short-term solution for the 2023 regular season.

Nick Marcinko
Nick is a recent graduate from the University of Florida with a degree in Telecommunications. He is passionate about all sports but specifically baseball and football. Nick interned at Inside the Gators and worked part time with Knights247 before joining the Gator Country family. Nick enjoys spending his free time golfing and at the beach.