For the second year in a row, a Florida Gator has gotten the season of NFL draft entry declarations by underclassmen off to an early start.
Florida defensive end Dante Fowler filed social media notice of his intention to enter the 2015 NFL Draft Tuesday night. The junior noted on Twitter that he entered the Florida program at the same time as outgoing coach Will Muschamp and will fittingly make his exit with the dismissed coach as well.
Last year, Gators cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy announced he was leaving Florida to turn pro immediately following the Gators' regular-season ending loss to Florida State. That decision didn't pay off -- Purifoy was one of a few dozen early-entry underclassmen to go undrafted.
Fowler (6-foot-3, 260 pounds) has been Florida's most consistent pass rusher this season. He has 4.5 sacks, leads the Gators in quarterback hurries and has commanded heavy attention from SEC offensive coordinators in pass protection. He has been effective against the run as well.
Earlier Tuesday, Fowler said he would meet with Muschamp to discuss whether to turn pro. Apparently, that happened in short order, although Fowler still has nearly two months before the formal Jan. 15 deadline for underclassmen to declare draft eligibility.
Florida plays host to Eastern Kentucky on Saturday before closing the regular season against rival FSU on Nov. 29. It's unclear whether the Gators will receive a bowl invitation.