Florida LB Ronald Powell to enter 2014 NFL Draft

By Adam Silverstein
January 6, 2014

Florida Gators linebacker Ronald Powell on Monday became the third junior to choose to forego his final season of eligibility and declare for the 2014 NFL Draft.

Powell, who missed the entire 2012 season after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament during spring practice and re-tearing the same ACL while trying to get back on the field mid-year, started eight of Florida’s 11 games in 2013 and led the Gators with four sacks.

“Ronald has informed me that he has made a decision to declare for the NFL Draft,” said head coach Will Muschamp in a school release. “This hasn’t been an easy decision for him. I talked to him several times over the holidays, but it was important for him to come back and look me in the eye and tell me what he wanted to do and why he wanted to do it. It’s one of the great experiences as a coach to watch young players mature. It’s been well documented the hardships he has had to overcome and he has always kept a positive attitude. I wish him the best of luck and, as I’ve said before, I encouraged him to return to get his degree.”

The former No. 1 overall recruit in the nation, Powell was a five-star prospect coming out of high school when he initially committed to head coach Urban Meyer, who convinced him to play college football across the country from his native California.

He has amassed 11 sacks, 19 tackles for loss and 84 total tackles over his three seasons of action, never living up to the hype of his pre-college billing in large part due to changes to the coaching staff and injury issues.

Powell released a heartfelt message via Florida explaining his departure.

“I want to thank the entire Gator Nation for making a kid from California a part of their family,” he said.. “It’s hard to put into words what this whole experience has been for me. I’ve had so many opportunities and met so many people. All of them have been supportive and helpful in my time here. Because of that, I’ve had a chance to grow and mature into the man I am today and the man I am going to become in the future.

“This hasn’t been an easy decision because this is a tough place to walk away from – but really you never walk away from being a Gator. I never thought it would be this hard to make this decision – most people think it’s easy – go for the money. It’s hard to leave my brothers behind, but we’ve shared so much more than our time on the field. We’ve lived our lives together and we are truly a family. This place has so many memories that I will carry forever and I will never forget my coaches, teammates, trainers, strength staff, professors and the entire support staff that helped me during my time here.

“I wouldn’t trade anything I’ve experienced because they have all helped me grow. I will miss running out of the tunnel into The Swamp and all of the tradition and great rivalries. It has been an honor to be a part of Gator history and I will always represent The Gator Nation and bleed Orange and Blue. Thanks again to everyone and much love for The Gator Nation. Once a Gator, Always a Gator! Go Gators!”

Powell joins junior cornerbacks Loucheiz Purifoy and Marcus Roberson as the third Gators junior to declare for the draft. Senior defensive tackle Dominique Easley, who tore his ACL and medial meniscus, could have received a medical redshirt and returned for a fifth season but decided to enter the league instead.


  1. gatorboi352 says:

    That’s going to be one weak LB group next year.

  2. jason says:

    Good Luck Ronald. GO Gators!

  3. Danny says:

    Good Luck Ronald!

    I wish things had worked out better for you here.

  4. Matthew says:

    We will be fine at LB. Plenty of depth

  5. Joe says:

    We’ll be fine this year but our LB core will be pretty weak in 2015 with this current recruiting class. We need at least 1 LB in this cycle.

  6. Gatoralum88 says:

    That’s disappointing. Considering the hype that came with his signing (consensus #1 national overall), I think it’s now fair to say Powell leaves as A HUGE BUST! It’ll shock me if he’s taken before the 5th-round because of his injury history. Unless he does well on his pro day (I doubt he’ll get an invite to the combine), my guess is no one will draft him. Unfortunately, my lone lasting memory of Powell will be diving and falling flat on his face as he fails to keep a Georgia Southern running back from going in for the winning score. About the only memorable good play he made was a sack against Miami. So, frankly, because of his injury history & inability to make an impact, I see this as addition by subtraction. Go Gators!

  7. G2 says:

    Nobody wants to stay for their senior year anymore? What does this say about the current staff? This is a guy looking at 4-6th round, if that. Wow! We’ll never be any good until we can keep seniors on the team.
    Be interesting to see how many of the fsu juniors come out after the game.

  8. Will W says:

    I wonder if the Willis signing and the prospect of being the 3rd or 4th best pash rusher on the team next year led to this decision.

    We will be fine at LB. Just fine. Alot of guys got experience last year and you will have upperclassmen in Morrison, Taylor and Ball to anchor.

  9. aziatic41 says:

    I guess it is now cool and a trending thing for players to leave early and be late round draft picks/unsigned free agents. Good luck Ro-Po!!

    • The draft slotting means the money is not very different in the later rounds. NFL players make their money on their second contract anyway. Chances of h being a first or second-day pick in 2015 were relatively slim. With injury issues in the past, better to jump now. Right move.

      • Joe says:

        Your perspective on these reports is always appreciated. There is a lot of “talk” going around, it’s good to hear the opinion of a trusted source.

  10. Daniel M. says:

    Where does he project in the draft? 84 tackles for his career isn’t exactly enthralling.

  11. Gatoralum88 says:

    In my opinion, he’ll be lucky to make a team but he’ll forever be a 1st-team member on the all Dolly Parton team! A MAJOR BUST! 🙂

  12. jim says:

    Is it me or does any one else see the problem with the this? even the kids that wont be drafted are going to try the draft.. or have transferred to other schools.. there arnt any 5 star kids coming in , and of the kids that have committed some of them have flipped to other schools,, I think that Muschamp needs to go… OMG he has a worse record than Zook .

    • gatorboi352 says:

      You’re the only one in here speaking any sense. Everyone else seems content rocking their horse blinders.

  13. G2 says:

    It used to be if you were a first rounder, then jump out. Then it seemed to be first or second, you might jump. Now its a revolving door, if your drafted at all, jump? Makes be wonder about the dynamics going on here that guys aren’t willing to stick around to build a team.
    Guess Fowler, Bullard etc will be leaving next year. Looks like we’ll always be in a rebuilding mode this way. Team lacks experience, depth, and leadership.

    • Jacob says:

      Fowler is projected to be a first rounder already though. I agree, it does seem like a lot of kids are ready to jump ship to greener pastures, which is likely a sign of the turbulence in the program. The kids who stuck it out wanted to play for championships.

      RoPo had already put in four years though, so I can understand why he’d want to try and move on. Best of luck to him.

    • g8ter27 says:

      I think it is a case of what the market will bear. Once enough of these guys who have a weak career overall but come out early anyway go undrafted and don’t latch on with a team, the word will get out. It used to be in the Myer days that you could come out early no matter what and get drafted because you were a Gator. Muschamp has helped change that theory.

  14. SaraGator says:

    Notice Muschamp said that Ropo wanted to look him in the eye to tell him he’s leaving. That is a sign of maturity. Good luck Ropo! We will be rooting for you on Sundays!

  15. Daniel M. says:

    I hate stupid nicknames. RoPo was top three all time in that category. Glad that’s done.

    • gatorboi352 says:

      I’ve literally never heard him referred to as ‘RoPo’ before the comment section of this article. Ever.

  16. Intuition says:

    Can’t blame him at all given his injury history. Better to jump now rather than put another year of strain/risk on his body. Especially after he watched Easley go down like he did this year. Ronald has always been a great Gator and I wish him the best of luck in the league.

  17. Danny says:

    Let’s trash a kid who did nothing but give his all for the team.
    Bunch of douche bags in here

    • gatorboi352 says:

      Exactly. What we should be talking about is why are so many folks leaving early/de-committing.

  18. 305Gator says:

    Have to agree with Danny here.
    I for one thank Powell for his play as a Gator and wish him much sucess in the NFL and in life in general.
    To suggest there is somthing wrong with a program or coaching staff because juniors decide to turn pro is asinine. This happens in every good program and will continue to be so. The only programs that don’t have juniors leaving early are those with players that are not good enough to do so, as a general rule, of course there are always some exceptions.
    Go Gators!!

    • gatorboi352 says:

      “To suggest there is somthing wrong with a program or coaching staff because juniors decide to turn pro is asinine.”

      Actually, it’s completely a rational and relevant thought considering the current state of the football program.

      • 305Gator says:

        You are wrong again. Juniors leave early all the time from all the top programs, why is it so hard for you to understand this? Gator football had a historically bad year but changes are being made as we speak. Needed changes to the offensive side of the ball. Those changes coupled with multiple players coming back from injury give us good reason for hope. hardly the doom and gloom that you imply.
        Cheer up, good things are in store for Gator football.

  19. Eric says:

    Made sense for him to go due to his injuries….. if he happens to him one more time.. he probably never gets a chance to play professionally. At least now he has a chance…

    Good luck.. wish him the best…

  20. Bo says:

    Also agree with Danny. Powell had to fight through several tough injuries which were not his fault. I wish him great success in his future. I think all the haters need to find a hobby…preferably something not involving a keyboard or Gator football.

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