Report: Florida RB Matt Jones intends to enter 2015 NFL Draft

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Florida is in the middle of a search for its next head coach, but that doesn't mean football decisions around Gainesville have stopped.



One in particular could have a big impact on the Gators next season. GatorCountry.com, a Florida-centric website, reported Monday evening that junior running back Matt Jones would be turning pro and declaring early for the 2015 NFL Draft.

Jones led the team in carries, rushing yards and rushing touchdown this season. He also caught 11 passes for 65 yards and a touchdown while splitting time in the backfield with others.

Most notably, Jones played in all 11 games for the team this year after suffering various injuries during his freshman and sophomore seasons.

Florida is bowl eligible and is awaiting its postseason destination. According to the report, Jones is in the process of interviewing agents and lining up plans to train for the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis next spring.

Speaking to reporters after Florida's loss to Florida State on Saturday, outgoing head coach Will Muschamp noted he warned underclassmen against making any rash decisions when it came to leaving school early.

"They need to make good decisions moving forward," Muschamp said. "If they're in a situation as a junior, they don't need to just say, 'I don't want to play for a new staff.' That's ridiculous. You're making a business decision, not a personal decision when you do that."

GatorCountry.com notes that Jones has a young daughter and that providing financially for his family could have played a part in making the decision.

A 6-foot-2, 235 pounder, Jones had his best game of the season against Georgia in an upset win, rushing for 192 yards and two touchdowns, but his productivity dwindled down the stretch. In his absence, sophomore Kelvin Taylor -- son of former Jaguars great Fred Taylor -- will probably enter next year as the primary option running the ball for the program's new staff.

Jones's decision means he is the third Florida underclassmen to declare for the draft, joining defensive lineman Dante Fowler and offensive lineman Tyler Moore.

The NFL Scouting Combine will be held Feb. 17-23. The 2015 NFL Draft will take place in Chicago from April 30 to May 2.

You can follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.

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