North Carolina QB Mitch Trubisky declares for NFL draft
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By AARON BEARD
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) After wavering whether to stay or go, North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky is entering the NFL draft.
The junior announced his decision Monday to leave school on The Players Tribune. The move is part of a rapid rise for a player who had never started a college game until this season but is now projected as a potential first-round pick.
Trubisky said in a teleconference he wanted to "jump right in" to learning NFL offenses.
"I know I could've come back to North Carolina and they would've prepared me and got me ready for next year," Trubisky said. "But I just feel like since the opportunity is here, the best opportunity for my career is to take the next step and develop and get ready for the NFL this way."
In his only season as the Tar Heels' starter, Trubisky set program records with 3,748 yards passing and 30 touchdowns, as well as for completions (304), attempts (447) and total offense (4,056).
The Mentor, Ohio native also ranked in the top 10 nationally by completing 68 percent of his passes after two seasons seeing spot duty.
"He patiently waited for his opportunity to play at UNC and when that chance came this year, he had one of best seasons in school history," coach Larry Fedora said in a statement. "We support his decision and look forward to watching him play at the next level."
Before the Sun Bowl loss to Stanford, Trubisky said Fedora had provided NFL feedback projecting him as a first-round pick. Afterward, Trubisky said, he consulted further with his college and high school coaches and kept wavering before deciding late last week.
Trubisky, who signed with agent Bruce Tollner, will train in California.
Trubisky's departure will only make it tougher for UNC to rebuild its high-scoring offense with losses throughout the unit.
Nathan Elliott threw nine passes in four games as Trubisky's backup as a redshirt freshman from Celina, Texas. The Tar Heels redshirted newcomers Logan Byrd of Warner Robins, Georgia; and Chazz Surratt, the 2015 Associated Press offensive player of the year in North Carolina.
The Tar Heels lose their top two tailbacks in Elijah Hood - who is also entering the NFL draft as a junior - and T.J. Logan; top receivers Ryan Switzer, Bug Howard and Mack Hollins; and seniors Lucas Crowley and Jon Heck from the line.
"If I had come back, I know we could've done great things," Trubisky said. "But I feel like this is my chance, so I've got to take it."
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Updated January 9, 2017