Just three Florida Gators will be part of the 2018 NFL Draft as early entries, the NFL confirmed Friday.
And two of them are a player who was not with the team in 2017 and a kicker.
Defensive tackle Taven Bryan, wide receiver Antonio Callaway, and kicker Eddy Pineiro are the only Gators on the NFL’s official list of underclassmen granted eligibility for the 2018 NFL Draft, released Friday. The official deadline for underclassmen to declare for the 2018 NFL Draft was Monday.
Of course, this accounting does not include redshirt senior Marcell Harris, who opted to go pro instead of attempting to return to Florida for a sixth season via an NCAA waiver, and neither does it account for Florida’s seniors who have exhausted their eligibility.
But this does mean that Dan Mullen’s first year in Gainesville as a head coach will come with the crown jewels of Jim McElwain’s first recruiting class — defensive end Cece Jefferson, who could play more linebacker under Todd Grantham, and offensive lineman Martez Ivey — in the fold. (Not that this is surprising: Both players had previously announced or hinted at their intentions to return.)
Moreover, this is the most concrete evidence of a return for Florida running back Jordan Scarlett, who by all accounts remains one of several Gators suspended but returning to the program pending the completion of university processes related to their involvement in fraudulent credit card use in the summer of 2017.
Callaway, who like Scarlett was considered a likely early entrant prior to the 2017 season, has obviously chosen not to stick it out for the duration of the process. Neither have Jordan Smith and Kadeem Telfort: Both freshmen faced more charges than Scarlett did and still face more legal consequences than Scarlett and several other players who have accepted deferred prosecution do, and, in light of that, have each chosen to transfer from Florida.
Scarlett, though, is apparently staying — and, come the fall, will likely be playing.