UF safety Marcell Harris declares for NFL draft

Despite missing his senior season due to injury, safety Marcell Harris is confident enough in his abilities to call it a career and enter the NFL draft.

The former standout at Dr. Phillips High School announced Thursday evening on his Instagram account he would pursue a professional career rather than apply for a sixth season due to medical hardship.

“This past year didn’t go exactly how I planned, I wasn’t able to give you my best year yet,” he wrote. “Being a Gator was just one stop on fulfilling a little kid’s dream. You‘ve watched me turn from a kid to a man and it‘s now time for me to turn the page.”

Harris, son of former Gators’ DB Mike Harris, had to wait to make his mark at UF. But he emerged in 2016 to become the team’s leading tackler.

Marcell Harris recorded a team-leading 73 tackles that season, including 39 during the final four games. This included a stop on the goal-line stand at LSU.

Harris was expected to be a team leader for the 2017 Gators, but in July ruptured his Achilles tendon during a workout.

“As bittersweet as it is, I say Goodbye,” he wrote Thursday. “I hope I have made a positive lasting impact on the Gator Nation just as the Gator Nation impacted me.”

Harris is the fourth UF player to declare early entry for the draft, joining defensive tackle Taven Bryan, placekicker Eddy Pineiro and receiver Antonio Callaway.

Offensive tackle Martez Ivey and defensive end CeCe Jefferson, two longtime starters, announced recently they would return for the 2018 season.

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The Gators are off to a 3-0 start in the SEC with leading scorer Jalen Hudson coming off the bench.

The Gators are off to a 3-0 start in the SEC with leading scorer Jalen Hudson coming off the bench.

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The Gators are off to a 3-0 start in the SEC with leading scorer Jalen Hudson coming off the bench.

The Gators are off to a 3-0 start in the SEC with leading scorer Jalen Hudson coming off the bench.

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A red-hot start from Egor Koulechov ignited the Gators during a 71-54 win against Mississippi State Wednesday night at the O‘Connell Center.

A red-hot start from Egor Koulechov ignited the Gators during a 71-54 win against Mississippi State Wednesday night at the O‘Connell Center.

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UF men‘s basketball coach Mike White discusses senior point guard Chris Chiozza‘s game-winning play at Missouri.

UF men‘s basketball coach Mike White discusses senior point guard Chris Chiozza‘s game-winning play at Missouri.

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UF senior shooting guard Egor Koulechov was stunned as the Missouri Tigers by Chris Chiozza‘s steal and layup during the final seconds of last Saturday‘s comeback win.

UF senior shooting guard Egor Koulechov was stunned as the Missouri Tigers by Chris Chiozza‘s steal and layup during the final seconds of last Saturday‘s comeback win.

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The Gators‘ 83-66 win at Texas A&M was UF‘s most complete performance since November and maybe its most important win of the season. The Gators hit 17 3-pointers and defended well to hand the 11th-ranked Aggies a bad loss on their homecourt.

The Gators‘ 83-66 win at Texas A&M was UF‘s most complete performance since November and maybe its most important win of the season. The Gators hit 17 3-pointers and defended well to hand the 11th-ranked Aggies a bad loss on their homecourt.

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Edgar can be reached at egthompson

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