Carl Bradford to enter 2014 NFL Draft, skip senior season at ASU

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ASU fans will not get another season of watching Bradford rush off of the edge. By Ralph Freso ASU fans will not get another season of watching Bradford rush off of the edge. By Ralph Freso

TEMPE, Ariz. – Arizona State linebacker Carl Bradford will forgo his senior season and enter the 2014 NFL Draft, the school announced on Monday.

Bradford’s decision had been one of the most pressing questions for the Sun Devils heading into the offseason. His departure means that the Sun Devils will have to replace nine starters on defense in 2014.

After a weekend of conflicting reports of varying credibility, Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal seemed to end any questions when she reported that Bradford had signed agents, thereby ending his NCAA eligibility.

In his final season in 2013, Bradford earned second-team All-Pac-12 honors. He tied for the team lead with 8.5 sacks, and led the team with 19 tackles-for-loss among his 61 overall stops. Bradford also had a key interception returned for a touchdown in the Pac-12 South division-clinching win over UCLA. In addition, Bradford graduated from ASU this past semester.

ASU later made it officail with the release of this statement from head coach Todd Graham:

"It was an honor and a privilege to coach Carl Bradford at Arizona State University. Carl leaves ASU with his degree and that is what we are most proud of. Additionally, with players like Carl, Will Sutton, Chris Young, Osahon Irabor and Alden Darby, we built the No. 1 defense in Pac-12 Conference play and one of the top-rated units nationally. We want to be known for tough, stout defense at ASU and Carl helped us achieve that in 2012 and 2013. We appreciate Carl for being a great Sun Devil and wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors."

After coming to ASU as a highly-touted fullback in 2010, Bradford redshirted before seeing action on special teams and along the defensive line in 2011. He burst onto the national scene in 2012, playing the hybrid Devilbacker position in Todd Graham’s defense that took advantage of his freakish athleticism. In that season, he posted 11.5 sacks and 20.5 tackles-for-loss, both second on the team behind the All-American Sutton.

Bradford’s blend of size, speed, and playmaking ability makes him an attractive talent in the NFL, a league where dynamic pass rushers are in high demand in an increasingly pass-heavy game. Bradford has good size at 6-foot-1 and 243 pounds, but complements that with incredible strength and explosiveness off the edge. His athleticism landed him a spot on CBS Sports' Bruce Feldman's annual "Freaks List" of the most physically talented players in college football.

Even before the official announcement, Bradford's current and former teammates were expressing their good luck wishes to him.

The 2014 NFL Draft will begin with the first round selections on May 8 and continue through May 10. Last year, no Sun Devils were selected for the first time since 1963.