College Football

Florida's Henderson leaving school early, won't play in bowl

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) Florida cornerback CJ Henderson is forgoing his senior season, entering the NFL draft and skipping the team's bowl game.

Henderson announced his plans Friday on social media, saying "I am excited to be one step closer to turning my lifelong dream into a reality."

The 6-foot-1 junior from Miami was widely considered a first-round draft pick coming into the season. But he was far from a lock-down defender in 2019, getting beat five times for plays that gained more than 40 yards. Auburn, LSU, South Carolina, Missouri and Florida State each got by Henderson for huge plays. He also missed three games because of an ankle injury.

Still, Henderson's elite speed could help his draft stock. His interview skills could be another story. He's one of the quietest, least talkative players to come through Gainesville in years.

Henderson finishes his college career with 22 pass breakups, six interceptions, four sacks and two forced fumbles.

The seventh-ranked Gators (10-2) are expected to make a New Year's Six bowl, probably the Orange Bowl. Henderson won't play and could be joined by several other who leave school early. Fellow cornerback Marco Wilson, receiver Trevon Grimes and defensive tackle Tedarrell Slaton also are expected to at least consider turning pro.

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Updated December 6, 2019

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