Gator football has had their first player of the season to declare that they’ll hang up the Orange and Blue. Defensive back Chauncey Gardner-Johnson announced via Twitter Monday that he has elected to enter the 2019 NFL Draft.
The junior will forgo his senior season, but plans to play in the upcoming bowl game next month. Gardner-Johnson logged 66 tackles, 2 interceptions and 3 sacks for the season. He had 11 tackles in the match-up against LSU. He allowed just two catches in the in-state rival game against FSU.
Gardner-Johnson tweeted the following statement.
Thank You Gator Nation !!!! pic.twitter.com/BnseLUFn08
— Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (@CGJXXIII) November 26, 2018
“Gator Nation, the opportunity to be a part of this program and play inside The Swamp for the past three seasons has been incredible. Since my arrival on campus in 2016, I have matured and become the man and player you all know today,” he wrote.
Gardner-Johnson then announced his decision: “…I write to you today to say that I’m ready to achieve my next goal and move on to the next chapter of my life. I have decided to forgo my senior season and declare for the NFL draft.”
He explained that over time, he began to see the value of his body and understood “small details that help someone like myself become a force to be reckoned with”.
He thanked family, teammates, coaches and his expectant girlfriend, Cydney. The couple is due to have a son, Cayden, in April.
Gardner-Johnson At UF
The four-star defensive back was ranked the No. 42 overall high school player the nation, and No. 4 out of all the cornerbacks in the 2016 recruiting class.
Gardner-Johnson showed off his impact early as a freshman. He appeared in 13 games and posted 32 tackles and 3 interceptions for the year. By the end of the season, he became one of the team’s starting safeties. He suffered a shoulder injury in his sophomore season. The defensive back struggled throughout, starting in only 11 games, but eventually turned things around in his junior year.
Seconds after Will Grier hit Antonio Callaway on 4th & 14 as UF beat Tennessee, my camera found HS senior Chauncey Gardner-Johnson cheering out of his mind for the Gators. Thanks for giving UF your all and show the NFL who's the real DBU! @CGJXXIII https://t.co/BynMkZDOwk
— Nikko Tan (@TheNikkoTan) November 27, 2018
Gardner-Johnson noted in his announcement that he is “100 PERCENT COMMITTED” to the football program, and looks to play in December’s bowl game.