Florida tight end Reed entering NFL early


Florida tight end Jordan Reed will forego his senior season to enter the NFL draft a year early.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer
Published: Friday, January 4, 2013 at 6:10 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 4, 2013 at 6:10 p.m.

Jordan Reed came to Florida four years ago as a quarterback. The redshirt junior is leaving school early as an NFL tight end prospect.

In an announcement that has been anticipated for several weeks, Reed said Friday that he is forgoing his senior season at UF to enter the NFL Draft.

He joins two other juniors who declared for the draft after Wednesday night’s Sugar Bowl — safety Matt Elam and defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, a potential first-round pick.

“It’s been a dream for all three of these players to pursue a career in the NFL, and now they are all getting a chance to realize that dream,” UF coach Will Muschamp said in a school release. “We are very thankful for their contributions to the Florida football program over the years and we wish them the very best of luck in the pursuit of their dreams.

“We will support them 100 percent, and I look forward to them continuing to be a part of our program. I have encouraged each of them to return to Gainesville to complete their degree — as I’ve told all of our players — there will be a day when their football careers are over. Matt, Sharrif and Jordan all received high marks in the draft evaluation process.”

Reed, who signed with Urban Meyer to be a spread option quarterback for the Gators, moved to tight end in the spring of 2011 and was UF’s leading receiver this season, catching 45 passes for 559 yards.

“I’ve enjoyed four good years at Florida, but I feel that now is the right time to pursue my dream of playing in the NFL,” Reed said. “I appreciate the support from all the coaches and staff here, and I’ll always be a Gator.”

With the departure of Reed, the Gators have only four scholarship tight ends on the roster — junior Clay Burton, junior Tevin Westbrook, redshirt freshman Colin Thompson and true sophomore Kent Taylor, who caught a touchdown pass in the Sugar Bowl and is considered the leading candidate to be next season’s starter.

Two other juniors — defensive end/tackle Dominique Easley and outside linebacker Jelani Jenkins — are still considering an early exit to the NFL.

Jenkins missed the Sugar Bowl and struggled with injuries this season, making him a likely candidate to return for his senior season. Easley, considered somewhat undersized for a defensive tackle at the next level, is close friends with Elam and Floyd.

Floyd projects to be the first Gator taken in the draft.

“I sat down and talked to a lot of people about my decision and I’m going to go in the draft this year,” Floyd said. “All my focus was on my team and on this season. Now it’s time to move on. The coaches supported my decision and I’m ready.”

Elam is considered a potential second-round pick. He was a first-team All-American this season and the leading playmaker on one of the nation’s top defenses.

“I’ve had three great years here at the University of Florida,” Elam said. “I’ve had a lot of advice during the process and I feel like it’s the right decision for me and my family.”

In other new concerning the Gators in the draft, five seniors have been invited to play in the Senior Bowl, which is heavily attended by the NFL coaches and scouts.

Joining tailback Mike Gillislee at the Senior Bowl will be offensive tackle Xavier Nixon, place-kicker Caleb Sturgis, safety Josh Evans and outside linebacker Lerentee McCray.

Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or andreur@gvillesun.com. Also check out Andreu's blog at Gatorsports.com.

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