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UCF Cornerback Tay Gowan is Entering the 2021 NFL Draft

Gowan was one of 10 Knights who had chosen to opt out of the 2020 season

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 04 UCF at Cincinnati Photo by James Black/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

On Tuesday, we found out that Tay Gowan was one of 10 UCF Knights who had decided to opt out of the 2020 season.

On Wednesday, Gowan informed everyone of his next move: He’s headed to the NFL.

In a farewell statement to UCF fans, Gowan wrote: “I’m a father first to a beautiful baby girl who was born prematurely with health problems. I have also tested positive for COVID in the past and I will not put my daughters health at risk again. This wasn’t planned but I trust God. I trust that I made the right decision to stand on not only what I believe in but as well as being a father first. Her health is important, my health is important.

“I’ve came to the toughest decision in my life as a man and I have to stand on what I believe is right. I love this game with all my heart and never thought I’d have to make this decision. With that being said I WILL BE ENTERING MY NAME IN THE 2021 NFL DRAFT!!! #23OUT #GowanIsland”

Gowan began the 2019 season, his first at UCF, as a backup. But after Brandon Moore sustained a season-ending knee injury in Week 1, Gowan stepped in and stepped up. He started nine of the next 12 games in place of Moore, intercepted two passes and deflected eight others.

Through the first two months of the season, opposing quarterbacks had a passer rating of just 17.5 when targeting Gowan, the third-lowest rating among FBS cornerbacks. For the season, QBs compiled a rating of just 44.7 when throwing in Gowan’s direction. Pro Football Focus named him to the All-American Athletic Conference second team following the season. He was slated to be the Knights’ top cornerback to begin the 2020 season.

A native of Covington, Ga., Gowan’s collegiate career started at Miami University in Ohio, where he appeared in three games in two years. He then suited up for Butler Community College in Kansas and turned himself into one of the nation’s top JUCO prospects. He intercepted six passes with the Grizzlies in 2018 and committed to the Knights in December of that year.

Prior to last season’s Gasparilla Bowl, Gowan admitted that after initially planning to be a one-and-done player for the Knights, he had decided to return for the 2020 season in order to improve his draft stock. However, he also said then that family issues were “weighing in on me.”

Gowan continued: “I know if I even jumped the gun this year, I’m the type of person that won’t be denied. I won’t let them deny me.”