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Ty'Ron Hopper drafted, multiple former Gators sign UDFA deals

On3 imageby:Zach Abolverdi04/28/24


GAINESVILLE, Fla. — In addition to first-round pick Ricky Pearsall, multiple former Gators will be reporting for rookie minicamps next month. Pearsall is the only player from Florida’s 2023 roster to get drafted.

UF starting center Kingsley Eguakun signed with the Detroit Lions as an undrafted free agent.

One former Gator selected in the 2024 NFL Draft was linebacker Ty’Ron Hopper, who went in the third round to the Green Bay Packers. Hopper spent three seasons at UF, making 62 tackles in 2021. He had 129 tackles the last two years at Missouri.

In addition to Ty’Ron Hopper, three former Gators found NFL teams as undrafted free agents. Quarterback Emory Jones signed with the Baltimore Ravens, running back Lorenzo Lingard landed with the Jacksonville Jaguars and offensive lineman Griffin McDowell joined the Kansas City Chiefs.

Jones was with the Gators for four years and became their starting QB in 2021, throwing for 2,734 yards with 19 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He spent 2022 at Arizona State (1,533 yards, 7 TDs, 4 INTs) before transferring to Cincinatti, where he had 2,219 yards, 18 TDs and 10 picks.

Lingard spent three years with Florida and two years at Miami. He appeared in 32 games at UF on special teams and as a reserve running back, but never had more than 100 yards rushing in a season. Lingard rushed for 641 yards and four touchdowns at Akron last year.

McDowell began his UF career as offensive lineman, switched to defensive tackle and moved to tight end in 2022. He switched back to offensive line at UT Chattanooga and was a starter this past season.

Florida quarterback Micah Leon, a preferred walk-on who played at NC State and UConn, has signed a camp invite with the Miami Dolphins. Reserve offensive lineman Lyndell Hudson II was the only other scholarship player to participate in Florida’s Pro Day.

RELATED: Ricky Pearsall becomes fifth first-round WR coached by Billy Napier

Ricky Pearsall to the 49ers

Pearsall was selected by the San Francisco 49ers in the first round with the 31st overall pick of the 2024 NFL Draft on Thursday night.

His selection extends Florida’s streak being one of three schools and the only SEC team to have a player drafted in every draft since 1967.

It also marked the fifth-straight year that a Gator has been drafted in the first round. Pearsall is the 55th Gator to be a first-round pick since 1967 and the eighth UF wide receiver.

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