He's the third Gator drafted by the Patriots thus far, as the team already selected linebackers Jermaine Cunningham and Brandon Spikes on Friday. They also drafted tight end Rob Gronkowski on Friday.
At 6-foot-2, 250 pounds, Hernandez won the John Mackey Award last season for being the most outstanding tight end in college football. He was the first member of the SEC to win the award, which was instituted in 2000. Previous winners include former Patriot and current Bronco Daniel Graham, Indianapolis' Dallas Clark, Tampa Bay's Kellen Winslow and Pittsburgh's Heath Miller.
Catching passes from Tim Tebow, Hernandez hauled in 68 receptions for 850 yards and five touchdowns in 2009. He finished his three-year Florida career with 111 catches for 1,352 yards and 12 touchdowns.
A native of Bristol, Conn., Hernandez was Connecticut's Gatorade Player of the Year in his senior season at Bristol Central High School.