Crowder to go pro

The UF sophomore linebacker is seen as a second-round pick.

University of Florida Gator Channing Crowder is congratulated by Gator fans on his way to the locker room after the Gators defeated Florida State University Seminoles 20 to 13 at the Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Saturday , November 20, 2004. (DAVID MASSEY/The Gainesville Sun)

(DAVID MASSEY/The Gainesville Sun)
Published: Thursday, January 6, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 6, 2005 at 4:40 a.m.

Linebacker Channing Crowder has decided not to be a part of the Urban Meyer era at the University of Florida.

The sophomore announced Wednesday that he's forgoing his final two years of eligibility at UF to enter the NFL Draft.

"This has been a very difficult decision for me to make," Crowder said in a UF release. "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 Gators fans - they are truly the best in the nation. I've enjoyed my time here in Gainesville and will always be a Gator."

Crowder has been considered UF's best defensive player the past two seasons and finishes his career with 179 tackles, including 13.5 for losses. He also had two sacks, recovered three fumbles, forced two fumbles and had one interception. His missed most of the last four games of the regular season in 2004 with a strained arch in his foot.

Crowder projects to be a possible second-round draft pick.

His career highlights were not limited to the playing field. He was suspended for one game each of the past two seasons for altercations outside the same Gainesville night club.

With Crowder departing, true freshman Brandon Siler is projected to become Florida's starting middle linebacker in 2005.

In other news, The Sun has learned that former UF assistants Larry Fedora and Joe Wickline have accepted jobs with new Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy and will not be following Ron Zook to Illinois, where they had earlier accepted jobs and were introduced at a press conference Monday.

Fedora and Wickline bolted on Zook after Gundy became the new head coach at OSU on Monday. Fedora and Gundy had coached together at Baylor in the early 1990s.

Fedora will be the Cowboys' offensive coordinator, while Wickline will coach the offensive line.

With recruiting heating up, Zook finds himself without an offensive and defensive coordinator and offensive line coach.

You can reach Robbie Andreu at or by calling (352) 374-5022

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