STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) -Penn State cornerback Justin King will skip his senior season and enter the NFL draft.
The announcement ended an agonizing decision process for the junior, his stepfather, Terry Smith, said Sunday night.
``It was extremely difficult for him. Penn State is fond in Justin's heart and our family's heart,'' Smith, a former Nittany Lions receiver, said in a phone interview. ``He felt it was just the right time.''
One of the country's most sought-after high school prospects, King arrived at Penn State in 2005 as part of a heralded recruiting class that included receiver Derrick Williams. Their play as freshmen helped coach Joe Paterno revive a sagging program with a Big Ten title and a win in the Orange Bowl.
After playing offense and defense his freshman year, King played exclusively at cornerback the next two seasons. He regularly matched up against the opponents' top receiver, and his speed often had opposing quarterbacks looking to throw away from his side of the field.
But receivers found more success this year against him, and tackling at times was a concern. King also was bothered much of the year by a sore shoulder.
King finished 2007 with 49 tackles and two interceptions.
He completed his degree in three years, because he academically enrolled at Penn State in the spring of 2005. Graduating before leaving for the NFL was important to King, defensive coordinator Tom Bradley said.
``I know he was torn back and forth, back and forth,'' Bradley said. ``He's always going to be a Penn State guy. We're proud of him.''
Smith told Fight on State, which first reported King's departure, that the NFL advisory committee has said the cornerback could be a second- or third-round pick.
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