UF’s Joseph, Scarlett opt for NFL draft

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Florida linebacker Vosean Joseph sacks LSU quarterback Joe Burrow during their game Oct. 6 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. The Gators beat the Tigers 27-19. [Lauren Bacho/Gainesville Sun]

Florida’s underclassmen exodus to the NFL continues.

The latest juniors to declare for the NFL draft are outside linebacker Vosean Joseph and running back Jordan Scarlett, who announced their decisions on social media Wednesday.

Joseph led the Gators in tackles this past season with 93 and also had nine tackles for losses and four sacks. He played in 37 games over the past three seasons.

Scarlett rushed for 776 yards and five scores, including one TD in the 41-15 win over Michigan in last Saturday’s Peach Bowl. Scarlett rushed for 1,846 yards and 12 touchdowns in 35 career games.

That’s five Gator juniors to declare for the draft, joining defensive back Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, defensive end Jachai Polite and offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor.

Junior wide receiver Van Jefferson also has a decision to make between now and the Jan. 14 deadline to declare.

With the departures, the Gators now have 82 players on scholarship, three below the limit. That total includes 20 prospects who signed with UF during the early signing period in December. With further attrition likely, the Gators probably will be able to sign four or more players on National Signing Day in February.

20 COMMENTS

  1. Scarlett leaving makes sense. I don’t see him improving his stock much more with the loaded backfield next season, plus the RB draft class isn’t that stacked this year. Joseph leaving is a head scratcher. Yeah he led the Gators in tackling but only by 3 over Reese who missed a few games. He needed another year to work on his passing defense as he had a ton of breakdowns in that area this season. I’d be surprised if he goes higher than the 4th round. Maybe he’s just tired of college and wants to move on. Good luck to you, I hope you go higher than I’m thinking you will.

  2. Joseph needed another year to mature into the dynamic linebacker he could have been. Too many busted passing assignments and penalties. With the crop of 4* linebacker recruits we have coming in 2019 Joseph’s job might have been in jeopardy.
    Perine passed Scarlett this year as an all- round RB. Perine keeps learning, whereas I think Scarlett’s learning curve has slowed. Pearce and Malik should be more explosive and good replacements for Scarlett.

  3. Joe hit the nail on the head about Joseph… he needed to come back for his senior year.

    When I saw he announced I was like “say what!?”

    I find it difficult to believe Coach Mullen gave Joseph advice to jump. Id wager it was someone else whispering in his ear.

    He’s maybe a late third round, early fourth round pick now imo, and he may be moved to safety because he’s too small for a LB in the NFL.

  4. Joseph is more an athlete than a linebacker. He has a mean streak not unlike Burfict but that’s about where the comparison ends. His strength is playing on the QB side of the LOS. Once the offensive player passes the LOS his effectiveness drops dramatically. I think it was Dooley who said it best the other day. Maybe he gets a chance as a special teams player. Only concern I have is no linebackers stepped up this year to fill a backup role in a meaningful way. Hope we sign another DE/LB type if we are truly going to go to the 3-4. We need linebackers in a bad way. I’m good with Scarlett going, he’s likely going to share carries with Perine and Pierce. That doesn’t include Davis or Clement.
    So far; Gardner-Johnson good decision, Polite good decision, Taylor good decision if he’s drafted where expected(Just don’t see why), Scarlett fair decision, Joseph bad decision unless he desperately needs the $. Is that 100% of the players who were looking to turn pro actually doing so?

  5. I agree with Joe and Lakeland about Scarlett. He’s got the body and he’s done a great job for the most part so I can see him moving on to the draft now. Other than pass catching, I’m not sure how another year will improve his draft stock.

    I also agree with Taylor and Polite that their draft time is now.

    Chauncey I’m on the fence about. He, to me, is an all-time great Gator…and not just on the field. He has gone about his business the right way and has represented both himself and UF very well. I think he could benefit from another year at UF but I don’t begrudge him one bit for moving on since he believes its in his best interest. I’m rooting for him.

    Joseph…now that’s a different story. It’s my belief that he could use another year under Coach Savage and Coach Grantham. I think another year of strength and conditioning as well as more development in pass defense would greatly improve his draft stock. But I wish him the very best in the draft and in life and I truly hope he succeeds.

  6. Good luck to all Gators who opt to leave. I wish all of them good luck in the future and hope all their dreams come true. As for college football except for the championship game, it’s time to wait till next season til the excitement to begin again. Good day…………..

  7. i think he should’ve came back to work on his pass defense but imo, he was playing out of position…joseph and reese are both MLB….I think he made a good decision because miller, Houston and baby david reese will be on the field next year….the odd man out may be big reese if he doesn’t get his pass defense down….

    his size is a nonissue….he’s 6’1 227…..darius lenord for the rookie for the colts may win RDPOY and he’s 6’2 232…..todays NFL LBs are smaller than those in the past….DC’s need LBs who can run something that is a strength of vosean…..

    I think with a great combine and interviews he goes late 2nd early 3rd round…..

  8. I don’t guess I blame these young men for going for the bucks but I’m afraid most of them are going to be disappointed. Other than CG-J I don’t really see any of these others being ready for the NFL. I don’t see them getting the big signing bucks and I’ll be surprised if more than 1 or 2 sticks with the pro team that drafts them. I sincerely hope I’m wrong.

    • Scarlett will stick and be a solid NFL running back for a bunch of years. And the NFL is quickly becoming a RPO league, and the NFL is now looking for LBs that can run side to side like Joseph can. I expect Joseph will shock some of you with how high he does go in the draft based soley on his high skill athletic ability. And Burney will now likely move from the defensive backfield into the front seven to replace Joseph at ILB, and he is bigger and faster than Joseph is. And he will likely even be bigger (in the high 230s) and stronger before next season. And I expect Burney is going to become a major star at LB for the Gators.

  9. Well certainly it is up to the player to decide what is best for them, but apparently some players do not consider what NFL teams need or want. Just because you think you are a high draft pick doesn’t mean you are going to get selected high if at all. There are only so many picks per round and teams select based on their need and what value overall they see in a player. For instance, other than Tampa Bay, nobody selects a kicker high in the first round. Good luck to those that move on, but they won’t be in the NFL forever and for their sake hopefully there is something to fall back on if the NFL doesn’t work out five years from now. Most of the ones leaving should be fine. In the meantime, it means more opportunity for playing time on the Florida sidelines. Go Gators!