Vanderbilt linebacker Zach Cunningham entering NFL draft

FILE - In this Oct. 1, 2016, file photo, Vanderbilt linebacker Zach Cunningham plays against Florida during an NCAA college football game in Nashville, Tenn. Cunningham has been among the nation’s most productive defensive players and earned first-team AP All-America honors after making 119 tackles, including 16½ for a loss. Vanderbilt plays North Carolina State in the Independence Bowl on Monday. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Vanderbilt linebacker Zach Cunningham is bypassing his final year of eligibility and entering the NFL draft.

Cunningham confirmed his decision Sunday after first announcing his plans Saturday night at an event in Connecticut.

The fourth-year junior was named an All-American after leading the Southeastern Conference with 125 tackles and third with 16 + tackles for loss. Cunningham helped lead Vanderbilt to the Independence Bowl and wins over Georgia and Tennessee.

Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason says they could not more proud of Cunningham, who worked as hard as any athlete he has ever coached.

Cunningham has been projected as a first-round selection in some mock drafts.

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