Coach Jim McElwain said Monday that running back Kelvin Taylor, receiver Demarcus Robinson and defensive end Alex McCalister have decided to forgo their senior seasons and enter the NFL draft. They join All-American cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III, who declared his intentions to turn pro after the SEC championship game earlier this month.
The decisions mean the 19th-ranked Gators will lose their leading rusher, leading receiver, best defensive back and one of their top pass-rushers from this season.
Taylor, Robinson and Hargreaves will stick around for the bowl game. McCalister is dealing with a foot injury and won't practice or play. The Gators (10-3) face No. 17 Michigan (9-3) in the Citrus Bowl on New Year's Day.
Kelvin Taylor, a son of former Florida and NFL running back Fred Taylor, was involved in a sideline tirade from McElwain in September. McElwain was upset after Taylor was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct when he made a throat-slash gesture after a touchdown in a 31-24 victory against East Carolina.
"These guys have a pretty good feeling of they've got one more opportunity to be proud of what they put on film, to show their worth," McElwain said Monday. "The NFL now is as much obviously about great players as it is character. Here's your opportunity to play your tail off. It says a lot about who you are and how you are going to be as a teammate moving forward. I'm expecting those guys to play all-out."
Taylor ran for 985 yards and 13 touchdowns this season. Robinson caught a team-high 47 passes for 505 yards and two scores. He was demoted twice this season and suspended for Florida's regular-season finale against Florida State. It was his fourth suspension in three years and stirred speculation that he would leave college early. He was reinstated for the SEC title game, after the team's seniors voted to let him play.
McCalister had 18½ tackles for loss, including 6½ sacks, in nine games.
McElwain offered his support for all four juniors leaving early.
"It's a choice. It's one of those deals," McElwain said. "When you look at it, I think you have to look sometimes, too, at how maybe each position is stacked in a given year to kind of see where you're at. I know this: We'll be here for them. I hope they work out here. Sometimes they go waste some money some places. They can get a lot of work done right here. Obviously, they'll come back and do really good on their pro day, and I'm excited for that, too."
Linebacker Jarrad Davis and defensive tackle Caleb Brantley said recently they will return for their senior years. Safeties Keanu Neal and Marcus Maye, both juniors, have not announced their intentions.
"I think some guys are ready, and some guys need a little more seasoning," McElwain said. "Some guys really helped their draft stock."
Grier's future remains a mystery. The redshirt freshman asked for his release from scholarship Friday, one day before making his intentions public. McElwain said he was surprised by Grier's decision to transfer, especially because the redshirt freshman told coaches a week earlier that he would be back in school in January.
"He came in and asked for a release," McElwain said. "We're going to help him in every way we can. We obviously thought he was coming back. That's what we had a couple weeks ago. But in this case, that's a choice. The one thing I'll never do is make someone do something they don't want to do. In life, sometimes a change of scenery is good. In this case, he's going to go have a successful career and go on to play in the NFL. We'll help him and support him in every way we can."
Grier was suspended one year in October for violating the NCAA's policy on performance-enhancing drugs. He appealed, but the NCAA upheld the suspension.
The suspension will follow Grier to any NCAA institution. He could enroll at a junior college and play right away next season, but he would miss six games if he returns to play at an NCAA program.
It's unclear whether Florida put any restrictions on Grier's transfer.
"I'm not real fired up about seeing him in the SEC, but we signed [off on] a bunch of ... every school that he brought up. We're here to support him."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.