Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux made it official on Monday night and announced that he would not return to the Ducks for his senior year.
Thibodeaux is expected to be one of the top picks in the upcoming NFL draft, and the move to go pro was widely anticipated. He announced his decision on Twitter and Instagram, thanking Oregon for giving him “the opportunity to transition into a man ready to take on the world.”
“After much thought, consideration and a lifetime of preparation, I have decided to forgo my senior season of football and enter the NFL draft, further pursuing my dreams,” he wrote.
Thibodeaux will not play for the No. 15 Ducks in the Alamo Bowl against No. 14 Oklahoma on Dec. 29.
Oregon coach Mario Cristobal left the Ducks earlier Monday to become head coach at Miami. The Ducks on Monday night named assistant Bryan McClendon, pass game coordinator and wide receivers coach, interim coach for the bowl game.
A 6-foot-5, 258-pound edge rusher out of Southern California, Thibodeaux proclaimed at the start of the season that his goal was to win the Heisman, a tall order for a defense player.
But he sprained his ankle in Oregon’s opener and had to miss the next two games. He also was ejected from the Ducks’ overtime loss at Stanford, and had to miss the first half of the next game against Cal.
He finished the season with 49 tackles, including 12 for loss, and seven sacks. He is a finalist for the Bednarik Award and Bronco Nagurski Trophy.
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