Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson declares for NFL Draft

Kevin Brockway
Gator Sports

The Anthony Richardson era as Florida's quarterback came to an end Monday afternoon. Richardson declared for the NFL Draft following his redshirt sophomore season, opting to leave the program after his first year as the starter.

In the social media post, Richardson also announced he won't play in the Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 17 against Oregon State. That leaves the Gators with a quarterback void heading into their matchup with the Beavers.

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Backup quarterback Jalen Kitna was dismissed from the team last Friday after being arrested on child pornography charges. That would leave third-string quarterback Jack Miller, a transfer from Ohio State, as the likely option, though Miller was demoted from second to third string after missing the first half of the season with a broken thumb.

Richardson started all 12 games for the Gators, leading Florida to a 6-6 record. He opened the season with a splash, passing for 168 yards and rushing for 106 yards and 3 TDs to lead Florida to a 29-26 upset of then-No. 8 Utah to earn SEC offensive player of the week honors.

But Richardson followed with a clunker against Kentucky, completing just 14 of 35 passes and throwing a critical pick six in a 26-16 loss. From there, Richardson remained inconsistent. He passed for 2,549 yards with 17 touchdowns to 9 interceptions, while rushing for 654 yards and 9 more TDs.

However, that included two 400-yard passing games - a career-high 453 yards against Tennessee and an even 400 yards against Vanderbilt - that ended in losses.

In Richardson's final game as a Gator, he completed 9 of 27 passes for 198 yards with 3 TDs and 1 interception in the loss to Florida State. There were a handful of drops as Florida was down four of its top six receivers due to injuries.

“That’s just us not connecting, winning matchups," Richardson said after the game in Tallahassee. "We knew we would get one-on-one matchups in this game. We tried to attack them outside. They played pretty good defense defending most of the passes. It was just us not winning our one-on-ones and that’s what we talked about this week.”

Anthony Richardson's NFL Draft prospects

Opinions are mixed on Richardson's NFL potential, though some scouts and talent evaluators are high on his arm strength and athletic ability. Some have him projected as a first-round pick.

ESPN NFL insider Chris Mortensen weighed in on Richardson's prospects for the draft during the network's Sunday NFL Countdown Show, saying he thinks AR should remain another year in school.

Hometown hero

Richardson was a standout quarterback from Eastside High in Gainesville, recruited by former Gator coach Dan Mullen. As a true freshman, he threw a touchdown pass against Oklahoma in the 2020 Cotton Bowl.

In 2021, Richardson played behind starter Emory Jones, but made a splash by throwing for 153 yards and 2 touchdowns and rushing for 115 yards and another TD in relief of Jones against USF in Tampa. He made his first career start in 2021 against Georgia, but threw three interceptions in the loss to the Bulldogs.

Injuries, including a pulled hamstring, limited Richardson to eight games during the 2021 season. But in 2022, Richardson vowed to make it through the season healthy and answered the bell for all 12 starts.

"That’s been one of my goals this season, staying healthy, staying on the field, helping my team," Richardson said. "So God blessed me to play the whole season, fight through the whole season, so it’s a blessing.”