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Football

DeShone Kizer announces his departure for the NFL

| Monday, December 12, 2016

Junior Irish quarterback DeShone Kizer will declare for the NFL draft, he announced Monday via a video on Bleacher Report.

Kizer had two seasons of eligibility left, but he is regarded as one of the best quarterbacks in this year’s draft class. Kizer’s decision came just three days after he was named a captain for the 2017 season by Irish head coach Brian Kelly.

DeShone Kizer gets set to make a pass during Notre Dame's 28-27 loss to Navy on Nov. 5. Kizer announced Monday that he will declare for the NFL Draft. Emmet Farnan | The Observer

DeShone Kizer gets set to make a pass during Notre Dame’s 28-27 loss to Navy on Nov. 5. Kizer announced Monday that he will declare for the NFL Draft.

In a tweet Monday, Kizer released the following statement:

“Three years ago, I made a decision to attend the University of Notre Dame. I found a second home and a second family. I made many connections, on and off the field, that changed my life in a positive manner. I’m truly grateful and blessed for everything that I’ve received. I have an opportunity to continue my football career in the NFL. My family and I have taken the last couple weeks to collect the necessary information to make a decision that will impact our future. After discussing with my family and coaches, and weighing the pros and cons of remaining at Notre Dame, I believe it’s time to change my path.

“I’ve decided to declare for the 2017 NFL Draft. I’m ready to accept the challenge.

“I want to thank the University of Notre Dame, its fans, my teammates, my coaches and the entire football staff for standing beside me and believing in me throughout my career. I’m a better person today because of this support. I will forever be Irish at heart.”

Kelly also released a statement Monday.

“DeShone is an extremely gifted quarterback that was faced with a difficult decision,” Kelly said in a press release. “He could return as a senior captain at Notre Dame — a place that he loves, and with a program that respects him immensely. Or, he could begin the next chapter in his life and accept the opportunity that likely awaits in the NFL.

“While he chose the latter, the type of leadership DeShone displayed this past season will benefit our program moving forward. He’ll certainly be missed on and off the field, but we’re very happy for him and his family. DeShone will always represent this University with the utmost professionalism and class.”

Kizer threw for 5,809 yards in his career at Notre Dame and his 47 career touchdowns rank fifth all-time in school history. The Toledo, Ohio, native took over the starting quarterback job in the second game of the 2015 season after Malik Zaire went down with a season-ending ankle injury.

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