NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -Ray Rice will skip his senior year to enter the NFL draft after becoming the leading rusher in Rutgers history and transforming the Scarlet Knights into a Top 25 team.
``I have always dreamed of playing in the NFL, and I felt the time is right to pursue the opportunity to play at the next level,'' he said in a statement Tuesday.
His decision came three days after he ran for 280 yard and scored four touchdowns in a 52-30 victory over Ball State in the International Bowl. It was Rutgers' third straight bowl game and second straight bowl win after the school went 27 years without qualifying for a bowl.
In his three seasons, the Scarlet Knights were 26-12 after failing to finish above .500 in the 12 previous seasons.
``I am very happy for Ray and his family,'' Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said. ``He has been one of the elite players in college football during his career at Rutgers. Although we will miss him greatly, we all look forward to watching him play on Sundays.''
Rice and Schiano are to hold a news conference on Wednesday.
Rice leaves Rutgers with numerous records, including career yards rushing (4,926), career rushing touchdowns (49) and yards rushing in a season (2,012) and game (280). He became the 13th player in NCAA history to gain more than 2,000 yards in a season. He made The Associated Press' All-American second team as a sophomore and junior.

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