Jordan Howard leaving Indiana early to enter NFL draft

Jordan Howard had a strong season at Indiana after transferring from UAB.
Jeremy Brevard/Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Indiana football will try to build on its progress of 2015 without Jordan Howard. 

The school announced Monday its first-team All-Big Ten running back will skip his senior season and enter the 2016 NFL draft. 

“After much thought and prayer, I have decided to forego my final year of eligibility to pursue my lifelong dream of playing in the NFL,” Howard said in a statement. “My success to date would not have been possible without God and the support of family and countless people.” 

Among those Howard thanked were his mother and the coaches he played for and players he played with at both Indiana and UAB. 

Howard was a 1,000-yard rusher for the Blazers before they dropped football following last season. That eventually led him to Bloomington, where he ran for 1,213 yards despite playing through injuries for much of the second half of the year. 

“I would like to personally thank former UAB coach Garrick McGee for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to play at the collegiate level,” said Howard, who told FOX Sports in September his only offer as a high school senior in Birmingham, Ala., was his hometown school. “(Indiana head) coach Kevin Wilson, thank you for allowing me to be a part of a great football family. (IU running backs coach) Deland McCullough, thank you for coaching and pushing me to realize my true potential.” 

A 230-pound power back, Howard finishes his college career with 3,942 yards from scrimmage, including 3,681 rushing. 

He had 12 games with at least 150 yards rushing and a trio of 200-yard games. 

His all-conference season at Indiana followed an All-America season by Tevin Coleman, who also skipped his senior season and was ultimately drafted by the Atlanta Falcons. 

The Indiana running game should be in good hands next season, though, as Howard's backup, Devine Redding, also went over the 1,000-yard mark this season and set a Hoosiers record for rushing yards in a bowl game Saturday against Duke. 

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