Badgers' center Konz officially enters NFL draft
MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin center Peter Konz made official on Tuesday what many presumed for weeks — that he is headed for the NFL draft.
Konz announced in a statement that he would forgo his senior season with the Badgers following a stellar junior campaign in which he was named a first-team All-American by the American Football Coaches Association and Pro Football Weekly.
"As I thought about it, I realized I was ready for hundreds of reasons," Konz said in a letter to Badgers fans released on the school's athletic website. "The first was the support from my family and fiancé, and the reassurance of the degree that could back my decision.
"Next was the second-to-none training I received from the coaches, my teammates, the strength coaches … and everyone who worked with me directly or indirectly during my time with Wisconsin football. I know from what they have taught me about perseverance, hard work, and integrity that I can start my professional career and feel confident in my abilities."
Konz started 31 games at center for Wisconsin over the past three years. This season, he was a Rimington Trophy finalist, presented to the outstanding collegiate offensive center. He also was a first-team All-Big Ten selection by the league's media members.
Konz, a 6-foot-5, 315-pounder from Neenah, Wis., became the Badgers' full-time center as a redshirt freshman in 2009 after Travis Frederick was injured in the second game of the season. He went on to start the next nine games and was named a first-team freshman All-American by The Sporting News.
He started 11 games this season at center for the Badgers. After suffering a dislocated left ankle against Minnesota on Nov. 12, Konz missed the next three games but returned in time to play in the Rose Bowl against Oregon.
In his letter to fans, he detailed the importance of graduating before pursing his dream of playing in the NFL. He is on track to graduate in the spring with a degree in communication arts, which focuses on radio, television and film.
"Many of you don't know this, but during our Big Ten championship-winning and Rose Bowl-playing year I took 18 credits, six more than full time, to be able to put myself in position to graduate in the spring," Konz said. "I ended up with a 3.4 GPA for the semester (with a 3.2 overall). With success in both school and athletics, I felt more confident that the NFL was the right decision."
NFLDraftScout.com projects Konz to go in the first round, at No. 24 overall. Several other mock drafts lists Konz as a first-round NFL pick.
"I knew when we received the information back from the NFL that Pete would have a tough decision ahead of him," Badgers coach Bret Bielema said in a statement. "He has been one of the most enjoyable players I have had the pleasure to coach."
Since 1999, Wisconsin has had 13 offensive linemen selected in the NFL Draft, tied for the second-most in the country. Only Notre Dame, with 15 selections, has more. Last year, three former Badgers were taken in the draft, tied with Florida for the most of any school.
"I wish nothing but the best for Pete and his family moving forward," Bielema said. "He has the opportunity to join a long line of Badger offensive linemen who have gone on to have success in the NFL, and I expect nothing less from him."
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