ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -Central Florida's Kevin Smith, the nation's leading rusher this season, changed his mind and will turn pro, the school confirmed Sunday night.
Smith seriously challenged Barry Sanders' NCAA record of 2,628 rushing yards in a season, but finished 61 yards short.
The running back was hailed as a hero three weeks ago for deciding to stay in school, to earn a degree and help build UCF's burgeoning program.
``Kevin had a great career at UCF,'' coach George O'Leary said in a written statement. ``We thank him for his contributions over the past three years and wish him nothing but the best.''
Smith's decision was first reported by WFTV, Orlando's ABC affiliate.

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