UF's Roberson decides on NFL
Published: Friday, January 3, 2014 at 1:50 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 3, 2014 at 1:50 p.m.
Injuries depleted the Florida football team in 2013. Now, it’s the NFL that’s taking a sizable and important part of the Gators’ defense out of play in 2014.
Marcus Roberson became Florida’s second junior (and starting) cornerback to declare for the NFL draft, joining Loucheiz Purifoy, who announced he was forgoing his senior season three weeks ago. UF confirmed Roberson’s decision Friday afternoon.
“Marcus has informed me that he has made the decision to pursue his dream of playing in the NFL,” UF coach Will Muschamp said. “Marcus was part of our first recruiting class and it was a pleasure watching him mature and develop both on and off the field during his time here.
“I look forward to watching him play on Sundays and, like all of our players, I encourage them to return to complete his degree.”
With Roberson and Purifoy leaving, the Gators will be down to three scholarship cornerbacks in the spring — sophomore Vernon Hargreaves III, junior Brian Poole and redshirt freshman Nick Washington, who missed the 2013 season after undergoing shoulder surgery in September.
UF may be forced to move starting safety Cody Riggs back to cornerback, where he was a past starter.
Some projections have Roberson going as early as late in the first round in the spring draft. Roberson missed five games this past season due to injuries and suspension.
“I’m very thankful of everyone at Florida that helped me to get to this point in my career,” Roberson said. “From Tony Meacham, my academic adviser, to Jeff Dillman to coach Muschamp and the entire coaching staff, it’s been a great experience here, and now that it is over I can truly appreciate everything that is in place here for players to be successful and have an opportunity to play at the next level.”
Roberson had 11 tackles this past season, all solo, and broke up three passes. In his career, he had 56 tackles, with 17 pass breakups and three interceptions. In 2012, he was named to the All-SEC second team after racking up 23 tackles, two interceptions and a team-leading 12 pass breakups.
The Gators have commitments from three cornerback prospects, but one of them (J.C. Jackson) is expected to back out of that commitment and switch to Florida State.
Muschamp is still waiting to hear from junior defensive end/outside linebacker Ronald Powell, who is considering a jump to the NFL. Powell, who missed all of the 2012 season with a torn ACL, bounced back to lead Florida in sacks with four last year and played in all but one game.
Also, Muschamp said he expects to have a new offensive line coach in place by the middle of next week. New offensive coordinator Kurt Roper and Muschamp will begin to interview several candidates over the weekend.
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