UF’s Powell making NFL jump

Published: Monday, January 6, 2014 at 11:33 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 6, 2014 at 11:33 a.m.

Ronald Powell’s amazing comeback story has taken another positive turn. The Florida junior outside linebacker/defensive end has declared for the NFL draft, the school announced.

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Florida linebacker Ronald Powell says he is making himself available for the NFL draft.

Rob C. Witzel/The Gainesville Sun

Powell was one of the Gators’ most productive defensive players last season after undergoing two ACL surgeries in the previous year.

He led UF with four sacks, had eight quarterback hurries and was second on the team with seven tackles for loss. For his career, the former high school player of the year recorded 84 tackles, 19 tackles for loss and 11 sacks.

“This hasn’t been an easy decision for him,” UF coach Will Muschamp said of Powell. “I talked to him several times over the holidays, but it was important for him to come back and look me in the eye and tell me what he wanted to do and why he wanted to do it.

“It’s one of the great experiences as a coach to watch young players mature. It’s been well documented the hardships he has had to overcome and he has always kept a positive attitude. I wish him the best of luck and, as I’ve said before, I encouraged him to return to get his degree.”

Powell is the third UF junior to declare for the draft, joining cornerbacks Marcus Roberson and Loucheiz Purifoy. Defensive tackle Dominique Easley, who also had a year of eligibility remaining, also is entering the draft.

With Powell leaving, UF now has 25 scholarships available for the 2014 class. The Gators have 20 commits.

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