MIAMI (AP) -Finally confirming what had been expected for weeks, Miami defensive end Calais Campbell said Thursday that he's skipping his senior season and entering the NFL draft.
Campbell is one of two Miami players to leave early so far: safety Kenny Phillips also won't be back for his final year of eligibility with the Hurricanes in 2008. Both are projected to be first-round selections on most mock NFL draft boards.
Campbell graduated from Miami last month with a degree in sociology. He spent several weeks trying to decide if he really wanted to leave, but ultimately, the potential NFL riches were simply too much to ignore.
``It was a hard decision,'' Campbell said in a statement released by the university. ``But it's time for me to take the next step in my football career and I look forward to the challenges of the next level.''
Miami has had at least one player chosen in the first round of 13 straight drafts, a record, and the Hurricanes have sent 47 first-rounders into the draft since 1984 - by far the most of any school.
The 6-foot-8, 280-pound Campbell had six sacks this season for the Hurricanes, who finished 5-7 and missed a bowl game for the first time since 1997.
For his career, he finished with 169 tackles, 38 1/2 tackles for loss, 19 sacks and six forced fumbles. As a sophomore, he recorded at least one sack in seven straight games, the second-longest streak in Miami history.
Miami coach Randy Shannon was not available for comment, although Campbell said Shannon was ``very supportive and very happy that I received my degree, since that's what he's all about.''
``I'll miss the University of Miami and my teammates,'' Campbell said. ``I love it here. I'm a die-hard Canes fan and I bleed orange and green. I will always be part of 'The U.'''
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