NFL conversations happening with players

The conversations started the day after Florida's win over Florida State in Tallahassee. Florida coach Will Muschamp wants it addressed with all juniors that are considering going to the NFL. It's his goal to make it an open conversation between the two sides while providing information for the juniors from his NFL contacts. In the end, the junior will make the decision.

"Anyone that has the opportunity to apply for an evaluation from the NFL office, I encourage those players to do that, and I encourage the players to submit those papers," Will Muschamp said. "Then I sit down with them and give them the input I've gotten from NFL people, but some agent isn't going to give you the right information. I can assure you of that. We have a good process here just being really honest and open with our players."

There won't be any final decisions made until after the bowl game in January, but Muschamp still wants to spend time talking to each junior interested in the NFL, as well as their families. He wants to give as much information as possible, but when it's time for that final decision to be made, he'll only give his opinion if asked. It's a decision that will ultimately be made by the family.

If the player is projected to go in the first round of the NFL Draft, it's often a short conversation.

"If a guy is going to be a first round draft pick, I'm probably going to tell him to go to the NFL. That's just my policy," Muschamp said. "If he's not and he can improve himself, then I suggest he comes back. The statistics speak for themselves on the guys who come back and graduate play longer in the National Football League. That is the bottom line.

"That is all a personal decision, a family decision. It's my job to get them the right information, which a lot of times there isn't the right information out there. And that's important to me to get them the right information."

There is plenty of talent in the junior class that could decide to put its name into the NFL Draft. Defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd seems like the most likely candidate to leave early, but defensive lineman Dominique Easley, safety Matt Elam, linebacker Jelani Jenkins and tight end Jordan Reed could also elect to leave school a year early.

"I've had conversations with some guys as early as yesterday and today," Muschamp said. "We'll handle that when the bowl game is over."

ROLE FOR PURIFOY TO EXPAND: Loucheiz Purifoy earned his starting cornerback back role a year ago in bowl practice. Now as the Gators go through bowl practice this season, he'll be all over the practice field. Purifoy became the first Florida player to start on both sides of the ball on Saturday since Keiwan Ratliff did it in 2002.

His unique skillset will continue to be used by the Florida coaches more on the offensive side of the ball, and he has taken over kick returning duties in recent weeks.

"The bottom line is you've got to get the ball in the hands of guys that can make plays, play hard, play fast and play physical, and he does," Muschamp said. "He will have a lot of opportunities as we move forward. But he's still going to be a corner, though."

His primary position will still be cornerback. Purifoy entrenched himself into the starting lineup this season with a strong year and a physical season. Muschamp has called him the team's best tackler at cornerback, and he proved it with big hits and important tackles. He's also a key piece of the punt coverage unit as the team's best gunner.

"Loucheiz is going to be a corner for us," Muschamp said. "We've created a role for him because he is an explosive guy. He makes plays with the ball in his hands. He's got tremendous ball skills. You can't ever have enough of those guys, and we need to have more. He's a guy that we're going to find a role as we move forward in every game to get explosive guys the ball. And he is one of those guys at this time."

Fightin Gators Top Stories