Notre Dame star linebacker Jaylon Smith to enter NFL Draft

BY Marcus Hartman • January 11, 2016

Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith announced Monday he will skip his final season of eligibility to enter the 2016 NFL Draft. 

Before the season, that seemed like a near certainty, but a serious knee injury in a Fiesta Bowl loss to Ohio State on Jan. 1 begot questions about what Smith would do. 

He made his announcement via YouTube. 

Pictured in a sweatshirt from his Fort Wayne, Ind., high school (Bishop Luers), Smith thanked his support system for helping him develop into a pro prospect. 

"I'm deciding to head to the NFL Draft, and it's really just perseverance from here with the adversity I'm going through right now," the former five-star prospect said in the video. 

Smith won the Butkus Award in 2015 as the nation's best linebacker. 

Notre Dame is also losing star receiver Will Fuller and running back C.J. Prosise early to the 2016 draft.

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