Carlos Dunlap and Maurkice Pouncey leaving for NFL; Mike Pouncey will remain for senior season
Junior DE Carlos Dunlap and junior center Maurkice Pouncey will bypass their senior seasons with the Gators, saying on Monday they plan to declare for the 2010 NFL draft. Junior guard Mike Pouncey, the twin brother of Maurkice, has decided to remain in school for his senior season.
Dunlap,who was the Defensive MVP of the 2008 BCS National Championship game, is projected to be a first-round draft choice.
“This took a lot of thought and prayer between me and my family, and we decided that this was the best direction for me to take,” Dunlap said. “I've loved having the chance to play at Florida for Coach (Urban])Meyer, and playing for Coach Charlie Strong. I wouldn't be the person or the player I am today without them and the other coaches who have helped me along the way.”
The 6-foot-6, 290-pound Dunlap led the Gators with nine sacks in 2009 and finishes his collegiate career tied for No. 10 on Florida’s all-time sack list with 19.5. Dunlap had 38 tackles in 13 games this season and had 10.5 tackles for loss and six pass breakups. He was named All-SEC by the SEC coaches, the AP and Sporting News and was a semifinalist for the Lombardi Award.
He was suspended for the SEC Championship game after he was arrested in the early morning hours of Dec. 1 and charged with DUI.
“Carlos has all of the physical tools to be successful at the next level,” UF coach Urban Meyer said. “I believe if he continues to grow and mature he will have a very long career in the NFL. He provided matchup problems for opposing teams and was a big part of our success during the last several years. We wish him the best of luck.”
For the Pouncey's, the decision is an emotional one because the brothers have been inseparable their entire lives. Maurkice Pouncey won the Rimington Trophy this season as the nation's top center.
“This is one of the biggest decisions I have ever made in my life,” Maurkice Pouncey said. “I am glad that my brother and I made the decision to be Gators. God gave us the knowledge, strength and ability to be great players, but it is now time for my brother and me to part ways.”
The Pouncey twins started every game in 2009 season, both earning SEC Lineman of the Week honors once this season. Mike, who played right guard last season, is expected to move to center next season.
“I’m very excited to come back and wear the Orange and Blue for the 2010 season,” Mike Pouncey said. “I’m looking forward to being a leader on this team, having the opportunity to play center and continuing to learn from Coach Steve Addazio. It has been an honor to play here, so I can’t wait to run out into The Swamp for another year.”
“Maurkice has all the tools to succeed in the NFL,” UF interim head coach Steve Addazio said. “There is no doubt in my mind that he will be a great player at the next level. I wish him nothing but the best because has been like a son to me.''
“I also know that Mike has a great future ahead of him,” Addazio said. “I believe he will be the top returning offensive lineman in America. Coming back just gives him another opportunity to grow as a player and as a leader and will help him increase his positional versatility. Without question, Mike’s future is very bright.”