For the fourth time since the calendar flipped from 2012 to 2013, Florida has lost an underclassmen to the professional ranks.
The latest to leave early is linebacker Jelani Jenkins, who the Gators announced Monday afternoon has decided to forego his final year of eligibility and declare for the 2013 NFL Draft. Jenkins joins tight end Jordan Reed, safety Matt Elam and defensive lineman Sharrif Floyd as Gators who have left collegiate eligibility on the table.
“Jelani informed me that he wishes to pursue his dream of playing in the NFL,” said UF head coach Will Muschamp in a statement. “We wish him the best of luck and encourage him to return to Florida and complete his degree.”
Because of a foot injury, Jenkins played in just nine games this season, starting eight of those contests. One of the games Jenkins missed was the Sugar Bowl after undergoing surgery to repair the damage in his foot.
All told, Jenkins played in 36 games at UF, including 31 starts, and totaled 182 tackles, 16.5 tackles-for-loss, six sacks and three interceptions.