Florida football is once again producing pro players.
Just two UF players were picked last year, but that output was matched in Thursday’s first round.
The results resonated with recruits.
“That draft class for Florida was awesome and it felt real good to see that,” said Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna defensive tackle Khairi Clark, who has Florida slightly trailing Miami for his services.
“I really haven’t studied coach Will Muschamp or his staff like that, so it was a big deal for me to know they can put players in the NFL.”
Sharrif Floyd’s 23rd overall selection provided motivation for UF defensive commit Anthony Moten.
“Sharrif is my favorite player,” said the ESPN150 member from Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Acquinas. “When he went in the first round to the Minnesota Vikings, it just showed me that I can be there one day if I work hard. And Florida is the best place for me to go get that done.”
Two Florida safeties — Matt Elam and Josh Evans — were taken in the same draft for the first time in school history. Cross City Dixie County defensive back Duke Dawson looks to continue the tradition under Muschamp and future position coach Travaris Robinson.
“Florida has a history of putting DB’s in the NFL,” said the UF pledge, “and it’s starting up again with coach Muschamp and coach T-Rob. Now I’m even more excited to learn from them. There’s going to be a great opportunity for me to get to the draft.”
The Gators had two linebackers drafted for the first time since 1999, including second-round pick Jon Bostic. Their selections were encouraging to Clifton Garrett, who is the nation’s No. 3-ranked inside linebacker.
“Knowing that they got two players drafted at my position, that’s pretty amazing to me,” said the Plainfield (Ill.) South standout. “I know playing linebacker in the NFL is not an easy job, so that speaks volumes about the program and what (defensive coordinator and linebackers coach) D.J. Durkin is doing to get those guys ready for the next level. That’s every college athlete’s dream and it’s a huge factor for me.”
Miami Central running back and Florida commit Dalvin Cook enjoyed seeing his hometown Dolphins draft Mike Gillislee. The Gators have now sent a back to the league in consecutive years, which hadn’t been done since 1985-86.
“I really sat down and watched the draft this year for the first time,” Cook said, “and it was a great weekend for Florida. It proves to me that the offense they have in place is working. The coaches are doing a great job getting the players prepared at my position. So there’s nothing nobody can tell me negative about the staff.”
Muschamp said this year’s draft will help him and his assistants on the recruiting trail.
“You want to be able to show some results as far as recruits are concerned,” he said. “They want to be able to see what kind of players you’re putting out. They want to see you winning games, and see you being able to have a positive environment for a student athlete to come to at the University of Florida. So there’s no question it helps.”