SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Notre Dame will be without its top receiver as well as its top rusher next season.
Will Fuller, a junior from Philadelphia, said on Twitter on Sunday he is joining running back C.J. Prosise in entering the NFL draft. Prosise, a senior from Petersburg, Virginia, with a year of eligibility left, announced his decision to enter the draft Saturday.
Fuller and Prosise played key roles for the Fighting Irish, who finished the season 10-3 and lost to No. 7 Ohio State 44-28 in the Fiesta Bowl on Friday. Fuller had a career-long 81-yard touchdown catch against the Buckeyes.
Fuller had planned to return for his senior season to earn his degree, but after long consideration he believes “it is in my best interest” to leave school early.
“My heart truly wanted to return to Notre Dame, but it has also been a lifelong dream to play in the NFL,” he wrote.
Fuller becomes the 12th Notre Dame underclassman to declare for the draft since the NFL started allowing it in 1989. Defensive end Stephon Tuitt, Troy Niklas and George Atkinson declared following the 2013 season.
Fuller led the Irish in receiving this year with 62 catches for 1,258 yards and 14 touchdowns, finishing seven games with more than 100 yards receiving. He has 30 career receiving touchdowns, second on the school all-time list. Michael Floyd, who played for the Irish from 2008 to 2011, holds the record with 37 receiving touchdowns.
Notre Dame offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley, a senior with a year of eligibility left, has said he will enter the draft.
Junior linebacker Jaylon Smith and senior cornerback KeiVarae Russell also have indicated they might enter the draft. Smith, who led the Irish in tackles in each of the past two seasons, sustained a serious knee injury in the Fiesta Bowl. Russell, who was suspended from school in 2014 for academic dishonesty, needs to get clearance from the NCAA if he wants to return next season.
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