Published January 04. 2013 6:00PM Updated January 04. 2013 7:00PM
Gainesville, Fla. — No. 4 Florida is losing at least three underclassmen to the NFL.
Tight end Jordan Reed, the team’s leading receiver this season, declared for the NFL draft Friday. He joined safety Matt Elam and defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd as Florida players skipping their senior season.
Reed, the former New London High School star, is a junior. He had 45 receptions for 559 yards and three touchdowns this season. He was a first-team, All-SEC selection by The Associated Press.
“I’ve enjoyed four good years at Florida, but I feel that now is the right time to pursue my dream of playing in the NFL,” Reed said in a statement released by the school.
Floyd and Elam announced their intentions following a 33-23 loss to Louisville in the Sugar Bowl on Wednesday night. Defensive end Dominique Easley said he was unsure about his plans.
“It’s been a dream for all three of these players to pursue a career in the NFL and now they are all getting a chance to realize that dream,” coach Will Muschamp said. “We are very thankful for their contributions to the Florida football program over the years and we wish them the very best of luck in the pursuit of their dreams.”
Reed’s draft stock is the most questionable of the three early entrants.
Reed’s older brother David is a wide receiver for the Baltimore Ravens.
Floyd and Elam are considered early round picks, maybe even first-day selections.
Floyd recorded 46 tackles, including a team-high 13 for loss. He also had six quarterback hurries, three sacks, two blocked kicks and a forced fumble.
“I sat down and talked to a lot of people about my decision and I’m going to go in the draft this year,” Floyd said. “All my focus was on my team and on this season. Now it’s time to move on. The coaches supported my decision and I’m ready.”
Elam led the Gators with four interceptions and was second on the team with 76 tackles. Elam had 11 tackles for loss, five pass breakups, two sacks and a forced fumble.
“I’ve had three great years here at the University of Florida,” said Elam, whose older brother plays in the NFL. “I’ve had a lot of advice during the process and I feel like it’s the right decision for me and my family.”