Add another name to the list of ACC stars entering the NFL draft, and this one has the potential to hear his name announced first overall.
North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky revealed his intentions Monday on Twitter that he leave after one season as the starter, forgoing his senior season.
“After much research, reflection and prayer, I have officially decided to declare for the 2017 NFL Draft,” Trubisky wrote. “This has been the most difficult decision of my life, because of the unbelievable people and experiences I’ve had at the University of North Carolina.”
Trubisky threw for 3,748 yards, 30 touchdowns and six interceptions with an ACC-best 68.2 completion percentage. Those TD passes and passing yards were Tar Heels records, as were his completions (304), attempts (447) and total yards (4,056).
A candidate to go No. 1 overall to the Cleveland Browns — Trubisky is a native of nearby Mentor, Ohio — he’s not the only key piece that North Carolina lost in the last few days. Running back Elijah Hood, who initially said he was coming back after missing the Sun Bowl due for an undisclosed medical reason, announced Friday he was leaving.
While the loss of a Trubisky hurts North Carolina, it’s part of a bigger blow to the ACC, which is down some serious star power at the skill positions.
From a QB standpoint, Trubisky joining Virginia Tech’s Jerod Evans, Miami’s Brad Kaaya and Clemson’s Deshaun Watson has the conference losing its top five players in terms of QB rating.
Then there’s the running backs of Hood, Pitt’s James Conner, Florida State’s Dalvin Cook, Clemson’s Wayne Gallman and pass-catchers, most notably at Clemson with Artavis Scott and Mike Williams and Virginia Tech with Isaiah Ford and Bucky Hodges.
Still, returning the defending Heisman Trophy winner in Louisville’s Lamar Jackson, and the likes of Florida State’s Deondre Francois doesn’t hurt.
But it’s no conference may have been hurt harder by the NFL and players running out of eligibility like the ACC has.
Clemson guard Tyrone Crowder and Florida State’s Roderick Johnson have yet to announce whether they will return, but as it currently stands they are the only draft-eligible offensive players that could return from this past season’s All-ACC first-team.