Gainesville, FL (Sports Network) - Florida junior cornerback Joe Haden has announced he will forego his final year of eligibility and declare for the 2010 NFL Draft.
Haden was a consensus first-team All-American this season as well as a finalist for the Thorpe Award, given to the nation's top defensive back. The first-team All-SEC pick led the Gators with four interceptions, while contributing 68 tackles, three sacks, 10 pass breakups and two forced fumbles.
"We're sad to see Joe go because he's a great leader and a dynamic player," said interim Gators head coach Steve Addazio. "But we know that with his tremendous talent, he will be a special player at the next level. This is the opportunity of a lifetime for Joe, and we wish him nothing but the best."
Haden started all 40 career games that he played, and in 2007 became the first true freshman to ever start at cornerback for Florida. He finishes his career with eight interceptions and 218 tackles.
"This was a tough decision, and I spent a lot of time with my family talking about it," said Haden. "I'm so proud that I had the chance to be a Gator. It's been one of the best experiences of my life."
The NFL Draft is scheduled for April 22-24.