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Haden does the expected, will leave for NFL

The first junior shoe has dropped at Florida. How many more will tumble into the NFL draft remains to be seen.

As expected, Gator cornerback Joe Haden has announced that he’s foregoing his final season in Gainesville and will enter the 2010 NFL draft.

“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.”

Interim head coach Steve Addazio said that Haden, a 2009 finalist for the Thorpe Award, will be missed.

“We’re sad to see Joe go because he’s a great leader and a dynamic player,” Addazio said. “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 is one of several juniors -- defensive end Carlos Dunlap, tight end Aaron Hernandez and offensive line twins Maurkice and Mike Pouncey -- who have seriously contemplated entering the draft early. Thus far, Haden is the only one to make his decision official.

As always, check out the CFT underclassmen draft tracker for a complete listing of players making the jump.

Writer’s note: an earlier version of this story had Haden as the 2009 Thorpe winner. He was a finalist for the award. My apologies for the brain fart. And my apologies to Eric Berry.