ACC

South Floridian declares for the NFL draft — and is expected to be a first-round pick

Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) scrambles out of the pocket during the first half of the TaxSlayer Bowl NCAA college football game against Mississippi State on Dec. 30, 2017, in Jacksonville.
Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) scrambles out of the pocket during the first half of the TaxSlayer Bowl NCAA college football game against Mississippi State on Dec. 30, 2017, in Jacksonville. AP

Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson is ready to take his skills to the next level.

The 2016 Heisman Trophy winner, Pompano Beach native and Boynton Beach High alumnus announced Friday on Twitter that he will forgo his senior season and declare for the 2018 NFL Draft. Jackson, who turns 21 on Sunday, is generally viewed as a first-round draft pick.

“For the past three years, the @university of louisville, as well as the city of Louisville, has embraced me as one of their own,” Jackson wrote in his Twitter post. “My time in Louisville has produced some of the best memories of my life. I have had the pleasure of being in the presence of some of the best professors, coaches, advisers, training staff, athletes and fans, in the nation. With their help I have been able to grow not only as a Quarterback, but as a teammate, student, and most of all, as a man.

“After much discussion with my family and coaches, I have made the decision to take the next step in my career and enter the 2018 NFL Draft. I would like to thank the University of Louisville, Coach Petrino and the coaching staff, my teammates and the fans. It has been nothing short of an honor to be a member of #CardsNation and to play for this university. No matter what the future holds, one thing remains true #GoCards!”

Jackson put up prolific numbers during his three-year stint at Louisville. In 38 career games, Jackson threw for 9,043 yards and 69 touchdowns, compared to just 27 interceptions while also rushing for 4,132 yards and 50 touchdowns. He won the Heisman Trophy as a sophomore in 2016 after throwing for 3,543 and 30 touchdowns and rushing for an additional 1,571 yards with another 21 touchdowns.

Jackson is just the second player in Football Bowl Subdivision history to throw for 9,000 yards and rush for another 4,000, and the only one to do so in just three years. He is also one of just three players in FBS history to record 50 rushing touchdowns and 50 passing touchdowns in his career. The others: Tim Tebow and Colin Kaepernick.

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