Florida Gators quarterback Anthony Richardson on Monday announced his decision to enter the 2023 NFL draft.
The third-year sophomore made the announcement in a social media post, adding that he will not be playing the Gators’ matchup against the Oregon State Beavers in the Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 17.
“After much prayer, consideration, and speaking with my family, I have decided to forgo the upcoming bowl game and my remaining years of college eligibility to enter the 2023 NFL Draft. As I take the next step in this tourney, I will always be a Gator and strive to make Gator Nation proud! Go Gators!” the 6-foot-4, 232-pound signal-caller wrote.
Richardson is from Gainesville and played high school football at Eastside.
“It was a childhood dream of mine to become a collegiate student-athlete. That dream came true when Coach [Dan] Mullen and his staff offered me the opportunity to become a student-athlete at the University of Florida. I will forever be grateful to him and his staff for believing in my potential,” the message from No. 15 begins.
“My time at the University of Florida has been filled with great experiences on and off the field. I have had the opportunity to connect with unique people. I will forever be thankful for those life-changing moments. Running out of the tunnel with my brothers in front of 90,000 fans is an experience I will never forget. The Swamp and Gator Nation is second to none!
“First and foremost, I thank God for always watching over my family and me. He has truly blessed us to be in this position. Thank you to Coach [Billy] Napier and his staff for molding me into the player and person I am today. I am forever thankful for my teammates and the memories we created. I want to thank the athletic trainers, equipment managers, academic advisors, tutors, and support staff for showing me that everyone is essential to success. I am sending a very special thank you to the City of Gainesville and everyone who has influenced me and demonstrated their love, care, and support over the years.
“Most importantly, I would like to thank my mother, LaShawnda Cleare, for her sacrifice and everything she has done for me throughout this journey. She continuously showed me that hard work pays off, and I will forever be grateful to her!”
Richardson started all 12 games this season. In the air, he was 176 of 327 passing for 2,549 yards and 17 touchdowns, with nine interceptions. On the ground, he rushed for 654 yards and nine touchdowns. The Gators finished their 2022 campaign 6-6 and 3-5 in the Southeastern Conference.
As far as draft projections, CBS Sports NFL draft analyst Chris Trapasso has Richardson going as high as No. 16 in his mock draft, and ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. lists Richardson as his fourth highest-rated quarterback. Alabama’s Bryce Young, Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud and Kentucky’s Will Levis are expected to be the top quarterbacks in the draft, although only Levis has already declared.
Richardson joins a list of Gators who have already declared for the 2023 draft — including defensive lineman Gervon Dexter Sr., offensive lineman O’Cyrus Torrence and wide receiver Justin Shorter.
It’s unclear who the Gators will turn to at quarterback for the upcoming bowl game. Backup Jalen Kitna was dismissed last week after he was arrested on child pornography charges. Jack Miller III had hand surgery this year and has not played in a game for the orange and blue since transferring from Ohio State. But Miller, true freshman Max Brown and walk-in Kyle Engel are expected to be available for the bowl. Only Miller has any college experience, completing 7 of 14 passes for 101 yards with the Buckeyes in 2021.
As for who will replace Richardson next season, the Gators are likely to find his replacement in the transfer portal. Although four-star recruit Jaden Rashada flipped his commitment from Miami to Florida in early November, he’s unlikely to start as a freshman. Another quarterback recruit, Marcus Stokes from Nease High School, had his scholarship offer pulled after a clip surfaced on social media of Stokes using a racing slur while singing a song.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.