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Prosise declares for NFL Draft

| Saturday, January 2, 2016

C.J. Prosise will forgo his final year of eligibility and enter the NFL Draft, the senior announced on his Instagram account Saturday.

He wrote on the post: “After a lot of thought and reflection I have decided to forego my remaining eligibility and declare for the NFL Draft. Thank you to Notre Dame, the coaches, staff, faculty and fans. I couldn’t have asked for a better university to play for, it’s been an honor to have played with Team 127 and I’m glad to have had the opportunity. I look forward to what lies ahead. Thank you, Go Irish!!!”

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Prosise had a breakthrough 2015 campaign, his first in the backfield after shifting from receiver to running back in the spring. Despite being hampered by injuries late in the season, Prosise finished 2015 with 1,032 yards on the ground, the first Notre Dame running back to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark since Cierre Wood in 2011. Prosise found the end zone 11 times on the ground while adding another 308 yards and a score receiving.

The senior took over as the feature back after junior Tarean Folston was hurt early in the season-opening victory over Texas. Prosise finished that game with 98 rushing yards on 20 carries, while his first score of the year came the next week against Virginia. That 24-yard scamper came on the first play after junior quarterback Malik Zaire broke his ankle and gave Notre Dame a 26-14 lead late in the third quarter.

Senior running back C.J. Prosise looks for open space during Notre Dame’s 19-16 victory over Boston College on Nov. 21 at Fenway Park.Wei Lin | The Observer
Senior running back C.J. Prosise looks for open space during Notre Dame’s 19-16 victory over Boston College on Nov. 21 at Fenway Park.

Prosise ran for a career-high 198 yards and three touchdowns during Notre Dame’s 30-22 victory over Georgia Tech on Sept. 19 at home. He matched that touchdown total during his 129-yard performance against Navy and eclipsed the 100-yard mark in games against Virginia (155 yards), Massachusetts (149 yards and two scores) and USC (143 yards and two touchdowns).

However, injuries limited Prosise’s production at the end of the season. He suffered a concussion early against Pittsburgh, keeping him from the field the next week against Wake Forest, and then sprained his ankle against Boston College, which held him out the next week against Stanford. He only participated in a few plays in Friday’s Fiesta Bowl loss to Ohio State, and head coach Brian Kelly later said Prosise “just felt like he couldn’t go.”

Originally recruited as a safety, Prosise switched to the offensive side of the ball following his freshman season.

He is projected as the No. 3 running back prospect, according to ESPN’s Mel Kiper, behind Ezekiel Elliott of Ohio State and Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry of Alabama.

With Prosise’s departure, Notre Dame is still slated to return three running backs on its roster for 2016: Folston and freshmen Josh Adams and Dexter Williams.

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