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Florida’s Alex Anzalone will enter 2017 NFL Draft

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The golden-haired linebacker is headed to the pros.

NCAA Football: Georgia vs Florida Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Florida redshirt junior Alex Anzalone will enter the 2017 NFL Draft, he announced through an open letter published on Florida’s official website on Wednesday.

In part, he writes:

Four years ago, I had the opportunity to fulfill my childhood dream and become a part of the Gator Nation.

Looking back on my journey, I never would have imagined how much this school would impact me. The relationships I have built with my teammates, friends, coaches and support staff will not only last a lifetime, but truly show how special this university is.

We've had our ups and downs these past four years, but the commitment and love that so many people have for this program is what makes the University of Florida great.

I am beyond thankful for being a Gator.

Anzalone also tweeted his letter with an additional thank you:

Anzalone had a final year of collegiate eligibility remaining, having redshirted as a freshman in 2013, but he is a likely 2017 NFL Draft pick. And his extensive injury history — Anzalone has not played a full season in any of his four years at Florida, and his redshirt year was due to injury — would make returning for a redshirt senior season fraught with the risk of sustaining a career-ending injury on the collegiate level before ever cashing a check as an NFL player.

Anzalone is likely a late-round pick due to injury concerns, but he flashed instincts and quickness in 2015 and 2016 that could make him a promising prospect.

Anzalone finished third on Florida’s 2016 roster with 53 tackles in just eight games, and third in sacks, with three. His 6.6 tackles per game were second only to fellow future NFL Draft pick Jarrad Davis.