Crowder to leave for NFL


Published: Wednesday, January 5, 2005 at 12:43 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 5, 2005 at 12:43 p.m.

It's not surprising, but Florida sophomore linebacker Channing Crowder has decided to turn pro, The Sun has learned.

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Channing Crowder has opted to become an early entry for the NFL, the 6-3, 245-pound linebacker announced Wednesday.

MICHAEL C. WEIMAR/The Gainesville Sun

Crowder informed UF officials on Tuesday of his intention to enter the NFL Draft and the school was preparing a release Wednesday morning.

Crowder saw limited action in his final five games as a Gator, but was named All-SEC.

He could enter the draft because he has been out of high school for three seasons even though he didn't enroll at Florida until January of 2003.

Crowder completed his career with 179 tackles, 13.5 of which were for a loss. He also had two sacks, recovered three fumbles, forced two fumbles and had one interception.

In 2004, Crowder played in nine games and finished third on the squad in tackles with 73 as he led UF in the department six times. In 2003, he led the nation in tackles by a freshman with 106 and was named The Sporting News SEC Defensive Freshman of the Year. Crowder was honored as an All-American in 2003 (Scripps/FWAA, Rivals.com) and 2004 (ESPN.com) and was chosen as an All-SEC performer by the conference coaches (First-Team, 2004; Second-Team, 2003) and AP (Second-Team, 2004).

"This has been a very difficult decision for me to make," said Crowder. "I love my teammates and I'm proud to be a Gator. I felt like it was best for me and my family to pursue a professional career. I want to take this time to thank my teammates, my coaches and the Gator fans - they are truly the best in the nation. I've enjoyed my time here in Gainesville and will always be a Gator."

Collegiate underclassmen have until Jan. 15, 2005 to declare for the NFL Draft and have until Jan. 19, 2005 to withdraw their name.

#55

Channing Crowder

Linebacker * 6-3 * 245

2003-2004, 2L

Atlanta, Ga.

North Springs HS

Career Information

A true sophomore who had significant playing time at linebacker in his two seasons with the Gators

Played in 20 games with 16 starts

.2004: ESPN All-American Linebacker

First-Team All-SEC Defense (Coaches)

Second-Team All-SEC (AP)

Named UF's Outstanding Linebacker

Co-recipient of the Defensive Captain Award

Third on team with 73 tackles

Gators' leader in tackles six games (EMU, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, LSU and MSU)

Third on squad with 8.5 tackles for loss

Intercepted first career pass and returned it 22 yards versus Arkansas

Recorded a career-high two quarterback sacks against LSU

Notched an SEC and career-best 18 tackles and forced the second fumble of his career against Mississippi State

Saw action in nine games (EMU, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, LSU, MSU, Georgia, FSU and Miami), making seven starts (EMU, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, LSU, MSU and Georgia)

Suffered a mid-foot sprain in the first quarter of Georgia game and missed most of the game

Did not see action against Vanderbilt or South Carolina due to the injury

Recorded one tackle against Florida State in limited action

Recovered his third career fumble and notched three tackles in the Peach Bowl versus Miami

Earned the Defensive Best Effort Award at the conclusion of 2004 spring drills

2003: Named as The Sporting News' SEC Defensive Freshman of the Year

Named to The Sporting News' All-Freshman team and Rivals.com All-America team

Named to the Scripps/FWAA All-America Team

Named Second-Team All-SEC (Coaches)

Named the Collegefootballnews.com Freshman of the Year

Selected to the SEC-All Freshman Team (Coaches)

Named to the Knoxville News-Sentinel's All-Freshman Team

Played in 11 games (all but SJSU and Ole Miss) with nine starts (Miami, FAMU, Tennessee, Kentucky, LSU, Georgia, Vanderbilt, South Carolina and Iowa)

Nine starts is the most by a freshman linebacker in school history

Led the nation in tackles by a freshman

Ranked first among linebackers, first among UF's true freshmen and tied for ninth on the team with 816 plays despite missing two games

Became the first true freshman of 2003 to start for the Gators and was the first true freshman LB to start since Travis Harris started four games in 2000

Underwent arthroscopic knee surgery on Oct. 1, prior to the Mississippi game, and missed the game against the Rebels

Returned vs. eventual national champion LSU 10 days after surgery to lead the linebacking unit with seven tackles

Led the linebackers with 106 tackles (avg. 9.6 per game), the second-highest total on the team

Also had five TFLs, two sacks, four pass breakups and a forced fumble

Led the defense with 12 tackles and one pass deflection vs. Arkansas

Led the defense vs. Vanderbilt with a then career-high 15 tackles including a TFL

Pressured Kentucky's Jared Lorenzen, forcing a game-turning interception, that set up TD to give UF the win

Led the defense with 15 total tackles vs. Georgia, also recorded five TFL and 0.5 sacks

Finished his first game tied for third on the defense with six tackles, including four solo hits, and a pass breakup vs. Miami

Led the defense with 14 tackles versus South Carolina, also recorded a pass breakup

Ranked second on the defense with 11 tackles vs. Tennessee...Also had a pass breakup, was in on a sack and had a TFL

Was one of four freshmen to record a sack in 2003

An original member of the 2002 signing class but delayed his enrollment at UF until January of 2003 due to knee rehabilitation

He joined the Florida team and practiced with the squad prior to the 2003 Outback Bowl

.PREP: A highly-regarded linebacker from Georgia who garnered prep All-America recognition

Named to SuperPrep's All-America Team and that publication ranked him among the nation's top 30 linebackers

Collected All-America honors from PrepStar and that publication ranked him among the Southeast's top 10 linebackers

Garnered All-America honors from Rivals.com and that group ranked him among the nation's top 15 outside linebackers

114 tackles in 2001 with 7.5 QB sacks for North Springs HS while also rushing for over 800 yards

Named one of the top four linebackers in the state of Georgia by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Named to the AJC's Super 11

Team MVP in 2001

Also visited Penn State, Georgia, South Carolina and N.C. State

High school coach was Kevin Whitley

PERSONAL: Born Randolph Channing Crowder on Dec. 2, 1983, in State College, Pa.

Plans to pursue a career in veterinary medicine

Member of the National Honor Society

Involved in a program to feed the homeless

Father, Randy, was an All-America defensive tackle at Penn State (1971-73) and played in the NFL with the Miami Dolphins (1974-76) and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1978-80) and coached for two seasons at Penn State under Joe Paterno

Parents: Pauline Pope and Randy Crowder

MAJOR: Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Career Defensive Stats:

Year Unassited/Assisted Tackles Total Tackles Tackle behind line Qbs Forced Fumbles Fumbles Recovered Pass Deflections Int
2003 65-41 106 5 2 1 0 4 0
2004 41-29 73 8.5 2 1 3 1 1
Total 109-70 179 13.5 4 2 3 5 1

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