After three years and 10.5 sacks, Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones has decided to forgo his final year of eligibility at Syracuse University and enter the NFL draft. Jones, an All-Big East first team defender from Endicott, N.Y. played in seven games for the Orange this season and registered a team-high 4.5 sacks with 7.5 tackles for loss.
Jones made the announcement via his Twitter account at 3:30 p.m. on Friday.
“I have decided to forego my final football season at Syracuse University and enter the 2012 NFL draft,” Jones wrote. “I just want to thank all the Cuse fans, alum, teammates, & coaches for supporting me those 3yrs.”
Jones also pointed out on his Twitter account that he will be graduating from SU in May.
The announcement is a big loss for coach Doug Marrone. The team already lost its other starting defensive end, Mikhail Marinovich (2 sacks, 3 tackles for loss this year), to graduation and could lose more players to the draft.
Juniors Shamarko Thomas and Dorian Graham are both reportedly looking into the possibility of leaving school with a year of eligibility, while junior free safety Phillip Thomas – who is currently serving a one-year suspension from SU after violating athletic department rules – has Tweeted about his intentions to turn pro.
Jones, the brother of Baltimore Ravens defensive lineman Arthur Jones and UFC champion Jon “Bones” Jones, missed five games this past season due to inury but was still named to the All Big East first team. He recorded 38 tackles, with an interception and two forced fumbles in seven games.
Jones came to SU in 2008 but did not play a game as a true freshman. He still has a year of eligibility remaining.
Tony Pauline, of SI.com, reported that Jones received a third-round grade from the NFL draft’s advisory committee. Pauline also reported that sources told him of Jones’s decision around noon on Friday.
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