University of Florida

Another top Florida Gators junior is heading to the NFL

Florida defensive lineman Jachai Polite (99) does a chest bump with a teammate after stopping a South Carolina drive late in fourth quarter on Nov. 10.
Florida defensive lineman Jachai Polite (99) does a chest bump with a teammate after stopping a South Carolina drive late in fourth quarter on Nov. 10. AP

Jachai Polite’s ultimate goal can be seen by looking at his Twitter handle.

Regardless of how his football career shapes out, he wants to do enough to make sure his mom can retire.

After a breakout junior season with the Florida Gators, Polite is ready to take his chance.

Polite announced Monday on Twitter that he will bypass his senior season and declare for the 2019 NFL Draft. He is projected by some outlets to be a first-round pick.

“Gator Nation will always hold a special place in my heart,” Polite wrote in his announcement. “I can’t wait to prove to NFL teams that I can be and will be the best defensive lineman in the NFL. The lessons I have learned in Gainesville will carry with me to the next level, with my goal always being the same ... #RetireMoms!”

The 6-2, 242-pound defensive lineman led the Gators with 16 tackles for loss, 11 sacks and five forced fumbles in his first real opportunity for extended playing time.

ESPN’s Todd McShay has Polite ranked as his 26th overall prospect for the 2019 NFL Draft

“Polite is a top-tier talent,” McShay wrote in his analysis. “With fantastic speed and athleticism, he is a force off the edge. Polite is slippery and displays good instincts as a playmaker.”

Polite is the third UF underclassman to declare for the draft, joining offensive lineman Jawaan Taylor and defensive back Chauncey Gardner-Johnson.

Players have until Jan. 14 to declare for the draft.

Jordan McPherson covers the Miami Marlins and high school sports for the Miami Herald. He attended the University of Florida and covered the Gators athletic program for five years before joining the Herald staff in December 2017.

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