Maryland defensive end Yannick Ngakoue is skipping his senior season to enter the NFL Draft, he announced on Twitter Monday.
After switching to end from outside linebacker in Maryland's new 4-3 defensive scheme this season, Ngakoue finished his season second in the nation in sacks. He notched Maryland's single-season sack record against Indiana with a takedown of Nate Sudfeld, his 13.5th sack of 2015.
Ngakoue was the team's best performer in a tough season, and would have had a shot at Maryland's career sacks record had he stayed for his senior year.
He'll join kicker Brad Craddock as the team's two best draft prospects. FOX Sports' Walter Cherepinsky ranks Ngakoue the eighth-best defensive end prospect in the draft, and projects him to get picked between the first and third round. Here's what Cherepinsky has to say about him:
Ngakoue, who has impressed NFL talent evaluators, has played strongly with 36 tackles, 14 for a loss, 12.5 sacks and one pass breakup. While he doesn't get a lot of publicity, he could have a lot of potential as a pro edge rusher. Ngakoue has length to him with speed off the edge. He has flashed some moves and has played well when taking on future NFL linemen.
"We are thrilled for Yannick and his family that he has made this decision to pursue his lifelong dream of playing in the NFL," interim head coach Mike Locksley said in a statement. "After speaking with Yannick and his family, he feels that he is prepared to take this step in his football career and we support his decision. We wish him well and look forward to seeing him compete at the highest level."