Numerous Florida underclassmen are still awaiting feedback from the NFL concerning their draft status, but UF coach Dan Mullen seems fairly certain that at least one more will declare for the draft, joining safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson.
“We had our guys turn things in and everybody’s waiting to find out the evaluations, find out where they’re at and then make an educated decision,” Mullen said Friday. “In my estimation, I know we’ll have at least one more that will come out for the draft. But beyond that, I’m not sure.”
Mullen was asked if the one is junior second-team All-America defensive end Jachai Polite, whom many are projecting as a first-round selection and an obvious choice to leave early.
“Nah, I’m not going to go who it is, but no,” Mullen said. “It wouldn’t be him. I’m not going to say who it is, but it’s not him.”
Junior offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor is the other Gator underclassman who is being projected as a possible first-round pick.
Although Polite likely would go in the first round and likely will make the move to the NFL, he’s still not ready to make that decision.
“He’s still researching,” Mullen said. “He’s a guy that met with me. He’s one of the ones that has met with me about gathering information and researching. You study and it’s a business decision.’
“If you’re a top-10 pick you’re getting $30 million dollars. If you’re a second or third rounder, you’re getting $4 million dollars. There’s a big difference between those two numbers.
“Guys need to be really educated as to what you’re doing and how it’s going to affect you in the future. Have zero regrets about your decision in whatever you do.”
With all the other UF underclassmen still waiting to hear back from the NFL, it’s pretty obvious that Gardner-Johnson made his decision without much feedback from the league. He declared for the draft two days after the Nov. 24 win over Florida State. He has not been projected as a possible first-round pick.
Mullen was asked if Gardner-Johnson has made the right call.
“That’s his personal decision,” he said. “That has nothing to do with me. I said it’s a personal decision for everybody. I guess for him, time will tell whether it was a good move or bad move.
“Our job is to inform, not to say whether it’s a good idea or a bad idea. Just to give you as much information as possible. Hopefully, for all our guys, I hope it really works out well for them and ends up being the right decision.”
Gardner-Johnson is practicing and has assured the coaches he will be playing in the Peach Bowl on Dec. 29 against Michigan. Mullen has gotten the same feedback from the other draft-eligible underclassmen.
“That’s what they’ve told me,” he said. “No one has come up (and said they’re not playing). We’ll see. It’s a personal decision for everybody to go do that.
“But, you’re playing a great opponent, a great opportunity when you’re playing in a New Year’s Six bowl, you’re playing against a Top-10 team. Even if you are leaving for the NFL, I don’t care if you’re a redshirt sophomore or a fifth-year senior, you get an opportunity to go play against a team full of a bunch of NFL talent and go put it on tape what you can do. It’s one more chance to go build your resume as a football player.”