Florida’s defense took a significant hit Friday. Not only did junior cornerback CJ Henderson announce on Twitter he’s forgoing his senior season to enter the NFL draft, he also revealed he is going to skip the Gators’ bowl game to start preparing for pro ball.
“After much prayer and consideration, I will be forgoing my senior season and declaring for the 2020 NFL draft and I will not be playing in the bowl game,” Henderson posted. “I’m excited to be one step closer to turning my lifelong dream into a reality.”
Henderson’s early departure for the NFL is not surprising. Many were assuming this would happen heading into the 2019 season. Electing not to play in the bowl game very well could turn into a trend for UF’s draft-eligible players, including both underclassmen and seniors.
Henderson is coming off a solid if not spectacular junior season in which he recorded 33 tackles, three tackles for losses, one stack, 11 pass breakups and no interceptions.
For his UF career, Henderson started 33 games, broke up 26 passes and had six interceptions, including four in his true freshman season.
Another UF defensive player, walk-on linebacker Umstead Sanders, also announced on Twitter that he is not returning for his senior season. He posted that he’s put his name in the NCAA transfer portal. In his two years at UF, the junior college transfer played in nine games, mostly on special teams.