Star kicker Eddy Pineiro declares for NFL Draft after two years at Florida

By Adam Silverstein
December 19, 2017
Star kicker Eddy Pineiro declares for NFL Draft after two years at Florida
Football

Image Credit: ESPN Images

They were two great years, but that’s all Florida Gators fans will get to see of redshirt junior kicker Eddy Pineiro, who formally declared for the 2018 NFL Draft on Tuesday night.

“I will not be returning for my senior year and will be declaring early for the 2018 NFL draft,” Pineiro wrote on Twitter. “Thank you Gator nation and the University of Florida for a great 2 years from me and my family!”

Pineiro, one of former head coach Jim McElwain’s biggest recruiting wins (the kicker chose Florida over Alabama), was tremendous over two seasons with the Gators. He hit 38-of-43 field goals (.884) and loved to be challenged, going 17-for-20 from 40+ yards (.850) and a perfect 5-for-5 from 50+ (1.000). Pineiro made 94.4 percent of his field goals in 2017, draining 17-of-18 attempts. He also went 56-of-58 on extra points in his career with two attempts blocked in this season.

Fans regularly chanted “Ed-dy! Ed-dy!” inside Ben Hill Griffin Stadium was Pineiro was often the lone point-scoring bright spot for the team. Coupled with departing redshirt senior Johnny Townsend, the duo comprised one of the most impressive kicking tandems in both the nation this season and program history for Florida.

As kickers usually go undrafted, it is not expected that Pineiro will be selected in the NFL Draft this April, though it is certainly possible. The former junior college transfer joined UF as a redshirt sophomore in 2016 and considered leaving after just one season until thinking better of that decision.

The good news for the Gators is that they appear to be in relatively good shape despite the departures of Pineiro and Townsend.

Redshirt junior Tommy Townsend, a transfer from Tennessee who sat out in 2016 and did not play in 2017, will take over for his brother at punter. Incoming freshman Evan McPherson, the nation’s No. 2 kicker, plans to sign with Florida at the start of the Early Signing Period on Wednesday. Redshirt junior Jorge Powell, a spot-starter for UF in the past, will likely compete for the kicking job in the spring and summer.

Pineiro joins juniors wide receiver Antonio Callway and defensive lineman Taven Bryan as early entrants into the NFL Draft. It is expected that junior left tackle Martez Ivey will make a similar decision, as may junior running back Jordan Scarlett among others.

One Comment

  1. Gator_zone says:

    Should mention Redshirt junior Jorge Powell who was rated highly coming out of high school and was the starter until a torn ACL against LSU two years ago. Will most likely have the inside track to the starting kicking job.

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