Florida's Teez Tabor declares for NFL draft

Cornerback Teez Tabor will skip his final year of college eligibility at Florida and enter the NFL draft.

Tabor, a junior from Washington, D.C., announced his decision in a post on The Players' Tribune on Thursday.

"I write to you today to say that I'm ready to begin the next chapter in my life. I have decided to forgo my senior year and declare for the NFL draft," Tabor wrote. "But I cannot say goodbye without first saying thank you. I am forever grateful for the University of Florida and every member of the amazing Gator community."

Tabor thanked coaches, teammates, two academic advisers, former athletic director Jeremy Foley and fans in his post.

Tabor tallied four interceptions in 2016, returning one for a touchdown against Missouri. He also contributed 33 tackles and a sack for the Gators (9-4), who already have lost cornerback Quincy Wilson, offensive tackle David Sharpe and linebacker Alex Anzalone to the pros. Defensive tackle Caleb Brantley is also expected to leave school early.

At 6 feet, 201 pounds, Tabor is listed as the No. 2 cornerback prospect by ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. and the No. 16 overall prospect by ESPN's Todd McShay.

"It's an exciting time for me," Tabor wrote. "I've decided to do what's best for me and my family by continuing to pursue my dreams."

Tabor spent much of the season in the spotlight, not always for something positive.

He made headlines over the summer for boldly predicting Florida would hand Tennessee a 12th consecutive loss in their annual series. The Gators lost by 10 in Knoxville.

Tabor was kicked out of practice for a week and suspended for the season opener after getting into a fight with tight end C'yontai Lewis during practice in August. A few days after the suspension, Tabor posted video on social media of him buying a homeless man shoes and giving him $20. Some questioned Tabor's timing, saying he was merely trying to make up for the fight.

He also was suspended one game in 2015 for violating University Athletic Association policy. He openly criticized the UAA on Twitter for its decision and later apologized.

Tabor kept a much lower profile after his second suspension. He stayed out of trouble, kept quiet and proved to be Florida's best defensive player. Although opposing quarterbacks rarely threw his way, Tabor broke up six passes.

Tabor was named a first-team all-SEC selection by The Associated Press and league coaches. He also received second-team All-America honors from the Football Writers Association of America, the American Football Coaches Association, CBS Sports and Sports Illustrated. He was a third-team AP selection.

"Even though I'm leaving for the NFL, I'm a Gator through and through," Tabor wrote. "Wherever I end up next, I know that I'll find myself back in the Swamp at some point next season to cheer with y'all. I'll always come back and show some love. It's the least I can do for a place that has given me so much."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.