GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA - One Florida player won't stick around for the Urban Meyer era, as running back Ciatrick Fason declared early for the NFL Draft on Wednesday.
Rated the No. 8 junior prospect by draft analyst Mel Kiper, the 6-foot, 215-pound Fason has been one of the most consistent performers for the 20th-ranked Gators. He enters the Peach Bowl with 1,173 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns.
He is one of only seven Gators to rush for 1,000 yards in a single season.
``The choice came down to a decision I had to make for my wife and our two children,'' Fason said. ``I believe the program is in great shape and that Gator fans should be excited about the future. I intend to complete my education down the road.''
Fason leads the Southeastern Conference in rushing with 106.6 yards per game and is second in the league in all-purpose yards with 127.2 yards. He has topped 100 yards in four of his last five games and had a high of 210 yards against Kentucky on Sept. 25.
He has gained 1,783 yards rushing and scored 14 touchdowns in his career.
Underclassmen have until Jan. 18 to remove their name from the draft.
Former Utah coach Meyer replaced Ron Zook, who was fired in October after a dismal record with the Gators.