Florida Gators defensive lineman Dante Fowler announced via his Twitter account that he will turn pro after the season is over.
Fowler becomes the first underclassman to announce his desire to enter the 2015 NFL draft. Head coach Will Muschamp, who announced he would be stepping down at the end of the season, recruited Fowler to Florida and his decision to resign is a key reason Fowler is electing to go pro early.
The talented junior is one of the best prospects in the country and is ranked No. 12 on ESPN analyst Mel Kiper’s Big Board.
Barring a major injury, Fowler is expected to be drafted in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft.
Despite another tough season for the Gators, their defense has played well despite being handcuffed by an inept offense. Their defense is ranked No. 20 in the country, allowing an average of 330.3 yards per game.
Ever since Fowler arrived in Gainesville, he has proved to be one of the best defensive lineman in the country. Through nine games this season, Fowler has compiled 49 total tackles and 4.5 sacks.
Muschamp believes Fowler will be drafted in the first round.
“Yes,” Muschamp said when asked if he believes Fowler will be drafted in the first round. “There aren’t many folks that possess the qualities he can give you as far as rushing the passer. And that’s paramount in that league. You’ve got to have guys that can rush the passer, and he can win one-on-one (battles). There is no question in my mind.”
Fowler and Muschamp are looking to end their careers in Gainesville on the right note. The Gators (5-4) need one more win to become bowl eligible. Florida will face off against Eastern Kentucky this Saturday and will finish off the season against No. 3 Florida State on Nov. 29.
*Section Photo credit to Sam Greenwood, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to Kim Klement, USA Today Sports.