Texas A&M loses a second key junior as OT Luke Joeckel decides to declare for the NFL Draft.
By ANTHONY ANDROFS Southwest
The Texas A&M Aggies lost a second key junior to the NFL Draft on Tuesday as left offensive tackle
Luke Joeckel has decided to forgo his senior season.
The 6-foot-6, 310-pound Joeckel could be the No. 1 overall pick in April's draft.
The Arlington High School graduate is coming off a season in which he was a consensus All-America and won the Outland Trophy while protecting Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel. He started 39 consecutive games for the Aggies.
"This was a very difficult decision for me," Joeckel said. "I have thought long and hard and visited with my family and coaches. I feel it is my best interest to come out. I appreciate all that Texas A&M has done for me and my family."
Joeckel's twin brother, Matt, is a backup quarterback for the Aggies.
Joeckel joins defensive end Damontre Moore, who made his decision to leave A&M last week, as Aggies leaving school early.
"Luke is projected to be one of the top players selected in the overall draft," Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin said. "We appreciate everything he has done for Aggie football and Texas A&M and wish him well in the NFL."
The Aggies are coming off an 11-2 season in which they ended the season ranked No. 5 in the country. It's the highest the Aggies have finished in the rankings since 1956.
The junior exodus at A&M might not be done yet either. The team's other offensive tackle — Jake Matthews — is weighing his options. He also is expected to be a first-round pick if he leaves school early.