BATON ROUGE, La. (Jan. 10, 2007) -- LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell said he'll skip his senior season and enter the NFL draft.
"It kind of hit me toward the end of the season that I was going to make that jump," Russell said at a news conference.
After a standout performance in the Sugar Bowl last week, the 6-foot-6, 257-pound Russell had been expected to declare early for the draft.
Russell, a native of Mobile, Ala., threw for 6,525 yards and 52 touchdowns in three seasons with LSU, two as a full-time starter. He threw for 332 yards and two TDs in the Sugar Bowl to help the Tigers (11-2) beat Notre Dame 41-14.
Had he stayed, Russell would have been considered a strong Heisman Trophy contender. He also would have been under the oversight of a new offensive coordinator after Jimbo Fisher accepted Florida State's coordinator job.
"We gave him every bit of information that might allow him to choose -- either go or stay," coach Les Miles said.
He said he thought Russell and his family made a good decision and predicted Russell could go as high as No. 1 in the draft.
Russell faced a Jan. 15 deadline to declare for the draft.