Former Gators WR among ‘sleepers’ identified by ESPN, coaches

The NFL draft is a week away and football fans around the country are preparing to watch their favorite players and teams decide on the future of the sport.

For fans of the Florida Gators, the pickings are pretty slim this year with just a pair of players expected to be selected in the seven-round event. However, one of those prospects has seen his stock rise meteorically since the start of the pre-draft process.

Wide receiver Ricky Pearsall, who spent a couple of seasons with the Orange and Blue after transferring from the Arizona State Sun Devils, is now projected by most to be taken in the second round of the draft. ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg recently spoke with college coaches who played against his list of draft “sleepers” which the former Gator was a part of.

“Despite Florida’s 5-7 record in 2023, there were some bright spots in Gainesville, including Pearsall,” Rittenberg notes. “He had five or more receptions in eight of the team’s first 10 games, recording two 100-yard performances and two others of 99 yards against SEC opponents. More than 63% of his receptions went for first downs, and he also averaged 11.5 yards on punt returns.”

The anonymous coach’s take was rather encouraging.

“You could always feel him and his route running and his ball skills,” said a defensive coordinator who faced Pearsall. “I don’t know what his testing numbers were, but if he has the toughness to play through contact, his route running and hand combination and quickness in and out of routes was legitimate NFL-caliber.”

The 2024 NFL draft kicks off on Thursday, April 25, at 8 p.m. ET in Detroit, Michigan, at Campus Martius Park and Hart Plaza. It continues on Friday at 7 p.m. ET, concludes on Saturday starting at noon ET and will be broadcast on the NFL Network, ABC, ESPN and ESPN Deportes.

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Story originally appeared on Gators Wire