GAINESVILLE -- Junior cornerback Marcus Roberson became Florida's third underclassmen -- and second cornerback -- this offseason to declare for April's NFL Draft, the school announced Friday.
Roberson, an All-SEC standout in 2012, played in just seven games this season, battling knee and ankle injuries and recording just three pass breakups. The Fort Lauderdale native was also suspended for the South Carolina game, but the 6-foot-1, 190-pound cornerback opted to forgo his senior year after receiving a favorable grade from the NFL Draft Advisory Board.
Despite an enigmatic junior campaign, ESPN's Scouts Inc. tabs Roberson as the fourth-best draft-eligible cornerback and the No. 26 player overall. Although durability issues are a concern, Roberson projects as a late-first to mid-second round pick due to his size, physicality and ball-skills.
“I’m very thankful of everyone at Florida that helped me to get to this point in my career," Roberson said in a release. "From Tony Meacham, my academic adviser, to Jeff Dillman to Coach [Will] Muschamp and the entire coaching staff. It’s been a great experience here and now that it is over I can truly appreciate everything that is in place here for players to be successful and have an opportunity to play at the next level.”
Roberson is the sixth player -- and third defensive back -- to leave early for the NFL under Muschamp since 2011.
“Marcus has informed me that he has made the decision to pursue his dream of playing in the NFL,” Muschamp said in a statement. “Marcus was part of our first recruiting class and it was a pleasure watching him mature and develop both on and off the field during his time here. I look forward to watching him play on Sundays and, like all of our players, I encourage them to return to complete his degree.”
With Roberson and tag-team cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy leaving early for the NFL, Florida is left with just three returning (scholarship) cornerbacks -- Vernon Hargreaves III, Brian Poole and Nick Washington. Senior safety Cody Riggs, formally a corner, could transition back to his old position this spring. Meanwhile, UF currently has four verbal commitments from cornerback prospects in its 2014 class and is among the favorites to land five-star athlete Adoree' Jackson, the nation's No. 6 overall recruit.
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