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Parting Thoughts, Part III: Anzalone talks draft decision, future plans

Each year, Inside the Gators kicks off its off-season coverage with our Parting Thoughts series, a collection of interviews with departing seniors and early-entry juniors recapping their time at Florida.

Up today is the third of a three-part installment with linebacker Alex Anzalone.


* Tuesday: His time at Florida

* Wednesday: Talking about teammates

* Thursday: Post Florida


What went into your decision to declare early for the draft? How much did injuries play a factor?

Anzalone: It’s kind of one of those deals where I graduated already. I feel mature enough and ready to do it. A lot of the things, like pretty much the knock on me this year is going to be the knock on me next year. That’s just something that I have to prove by going to the combine and going through all the medical evaluations and proving that I’m OK. I wouldn’t say I’m afraid of getting injured, nope.

For how long did you know you wanted to declare early? How recent was the decision made?

Anzalone: I mean, obviously it’s something you think about throughout the season, but I never really focused too much on it and made the decision like, “Oh, if I have a good year, I’m leaving.” You know? It’s one of those deals where I wanted to get an evaluation from the NFL and I wanted to see what the coaches had to say and what they thought and who they talked to and stuff like that. I just wanted to let the process play itself out.


* Q&A with Florida AD Scott Stricklin

* Was perfect visit enough to sway R100 Hunter

* C.J. McWilliams Redshirt Report

* Rivals100 commits and targets

* Florida takes the lead for Jones

* Robinson forms bond with Franks while on official visit

* Recruit Reaction: Summers leaving for Louisville



Was there an appeal for playing for Shannon? Was there a thought about that in the back of your mind? Did him getting the job give you any second thoughts?

Anzalone: I mean, him getting it definitely is a lot better than some guy coming in there that I don’t know coming in to be the DC. I guess you can say yeah.

The book on you is that you are big, athletic and physical, but that you couldn't stay on the field. Do you have to prove to NFL scouts that you aren't injury prone?

Anzalone: Not necessarily, it’s just being the best player. I’ve got the Senior Bowl coming up and then just showing what I can do. That’s going to be big for me at the combine, the medical evaluation. But at the same time, that’s an opportunity for me to prove that I’m OK and everything checks out and is completely fine and there’s nothing to worry about. But yeah, I mean, it’s kind of weird because there’s nothing I can do proactively in the meantime. Just waiting, you know?

What’s next up on your plate? What are you looking to prove to scouts at the Senior Bowl and the NFL Scouting Combine?

Anzalone: I’ve been at IMG for the past week now just training and getting ready for the Senior Bowl and then eventually the combine. Kind of just working on everything overall. I’m working on my nutrition, which is good. Just keeping it consistent, workouts, getting my body treated well. Just the little things. Learning as much as I can about the interview process. Learning all of the on-field stuff and all of the drills at the combine. Stuff I’m going to see at the Senior Bowl.

Who’s at IMG? Are any NFL guys back there? Who are you working out with?

Anzalone: Well, David Sharpe just got here. There’s Josh Dobbs here. And I know a lot of guys are coming in. Josh Reynolds, and there are a lot of guys from the Big 12, too.

What are the main goals you want to accomplish at the Senior Bowl and at the scouting combine?

Anzalone: Trying to just show them who I am. Just being myself and just showing them who I am pretty much. Proving everything that they see on film and showing that in person, you know? I just want to play well, do what I’m capable of doing and capitalize on the opportunity and get to talk and do some interviews.


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Blake Alderman, Landon Watnick and Mark Wheeler contributed to this report