Florida’s Gardner-Johnson to enter NFL draft

Florida defensive back Chauncey Gardner-Johnson. [Lauren Bacho/Gainesville Sun]

Florida junior defensive back Chauncey Gardner-Johnson is declaring for the NFL draft, he wrote Monday on his Twitter account – @CGJXXIII.

Gardner-Johnson is third on the team with a career-high 66 tackles, including nine tackles for loss. He made two interceptions, including returning one for a score against Idaho.

He said he will play in Florida’s bowl game.

Part of what he wrote:

“Gator Nation,

The opportunity to be a part of this program and play inside The Swamp for the past three seasons has been incredible. Since my arrival on campus in 2016, I have matured and become the man and player you all know today.
On the field, I now understand what football really is and the small details that help someone like myself become a force to be reckoned with. Off the field, I have grown mentally and physically as I now understand that my body is everything.
However, the more I valued my body I realized that all the individuals around me can have a positive and negative affect on who I am or viewed as in the public eye. This University and my platform as a student-athlete made me strong from the struggles of being alone at night, to waking up in the morning knowing I have a job to do in order to achieve my goals.
With that in mind, I write to you today to say that I’m ready to achieve my next goal and move on to the next chapter in my life. I have decided to forgo my senior year and declare for the NFL draft.
Along with this decision, I want Gator Nation to know that I am 100 percent committed to my team and this program as we look to finish the season strong at our bowl game next month.
But I cannot say goodbye without first saying thank you.”


  1. I had hoped he might come back, but saw this coming after his performances against Carolina and FSU. He is a ball-hawker and can play corner or safety. 2nd round pick and will start immediately at least in a nickel package. There are a lot of teams that need DB help. Wish him nothing but the best and get a couple more picks in the bowl game. A great Gator.

      • mveal. CGJ will and would be a high second round pick this year or next year. ESPN has him as the fifth rated safety, and he will be a starting nickel back in the NFL next year. No reason for him to come back. And Burney is going to be a great player at his position (star) in the future; starting next year.

  2. You will be missed Chauncey – I am proud that you are from Cocoa (where I now live, though I grew up in Gainesville). You have all the tools to succeed in the NFL, especially the discipline, the drive and the talent. Most importantly, you have the right attitude – indeed you have matured and are now a man who has the opportunity to take his game to the next level – may God continue to bless you, your family, and friends. GO GATORS!!!

  3. For everyone stating how he “could” improve his draft stock by coming back for another year, what happens if he tears his ACL midseason? Thanks for the effort Chauncey. Now go chase your dream while making a good living..

  4. Chauncey, thanks for choosing to become a Florida Gator, and pouring it all out on the field for us. We wish you the best, and hope you excel at the next level. Remember, you will ALWAYS be a representative of our great university. Go Gators!

  5. Chauncey, has always been one of my favorite players…great personality and hard worker in practice…the only question and concern I have is his tackling…although, he is a great ball hawk and has a great sense of the game …I didn’t see much down field tackling this year, except for blitzing, where he really looked good. I really think another year at UF, he would surely be a first round pick next year…GOOD LUCK CHAUNCEY… YOU WILL MISSED BUT NOT FORGOTTEN!!!

  6. Best wishes Chauncey! Look forward to cheering you on at the combine, the subsequent draft, and at the next level. You have made us proud and no doubt will make us even prouder when we hear your name on Sundays.

  7. Wish him all the luck. Good player for UF. I hope he goes in the first 2 rounds. UF has an endemic problem of players leaving as juniors if they are top 4-5 rounds. Not sure any other program has that issue. So many players have left as juniors(UF) and so few have been 1st round picks.

    Hopefully Mullen gets that straightened out.