Florida announced on Tuesday that linebacker Antonio Morrison will return to the program for the 2015 season. He thought about entering the NFL Draft but will play his senior season in Gainesville and earn his degree. The news came one day after Florida defensive lineman Jonathan Bullard made the same announcement.
"I'm returning to Florida and I will be getting my degree in 2015,” Morrison told Gatorzone.com, the program’s official website. “That plays a big role in why I'm returning. And as a leader of this team, I want to lead my team to Atlanta and possibly a national championship. Coach McElwain has put together a great staff and I'm looking forward to working with them this year."
The junior linebacker suffered a left knee injury during the Birmingham Bowl on Saturday, but no update has been given on his status.
Morrison led the Gators with 101 tackles on the season, 37 more than any other player on the team. He added one sack, one interception, three quarterback hurries, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. Morrison also became the first Florida player to top 100 tackles in a season since safety Ahmad Black did it during the 2010 season.
After totaling 56 tackles in seven games as a sophomore, Morrison missed the final three games of the year because of injury. He dedicated himself to lose weight after bulking up too much as a sophomore and had a bounce back year in 2014 to lead the team in tackles. He will be the leader at the linebacker position in 2015 under new position coach Randy Shannon.
His return helps the Gators at a position they have been thin at under Muschamp. The previous coaching staff didn’t sign a linebacker in the 2014 recruiting class, but the Gators will return Jarad Davis, Alex Anzalone, Daniel McMillian, Jeremi Powell and Matt Rolin. The position is also a priority in the 2015 recruiting class, as a freshman could easily push for playing time at linebacker next season.