ASU WR Jaelen Strong to enter 2015 NFL DraftPosted: Updated:
TEMPE, Ariz. -- It was widely expected, and it is now official. Jaelen Strong is forgoing his senior season at Arizona State and entering the 2015 NFL Draft.
ASU's Dec. 27 match up against Duke now becomes the final game for one of the most productive wide receivers in Sun Devil history.
Strong came to ASU as a transfer from Pierce College and immediately became the team's top receiving target. He topped 100 yards receiving in five of his first six games as a Sun Devil, and finished with 75 catches for 1,122 yards and seven touchdowns. That earned Strong second team All-Pac-12 honors in 2013.
This season, Strong has elevated his game to a new level. The 6-foot-3, 215 pounder has been dominant throughout the year, and enters the bowl game with 75 catches for 1,062 yards and 10 touchdowns. He authored one of the most famous plays in school history when he caught the "Jael Mary" touchdown on the game's final play to beat USC in October. Strong was named a first team All-Pac-12 performer, and earned a spot on All-America teams by ESPN, CBS Sports, and Sports Illustrated, among others.
"Jaelen's enormous impact was felt from the first day he stepped on the practice field with us more than 16 months ago," ASU head coach Todd Graham said. "His work ethic, attention to detail and overall football IQ are just a few of his attributes that make him such a special talent.
"It has been a great pleasure to watch him grow into the young man he has become - a leader off the field and a giver in his community."
Strong's size, skills, and production have long led people to believe he could be a candidate to leave school early, and on Monday, he put that speculation to rest.
“This has been one of the most difficult decisions of my life," Strong said. "I’ve spoken to my family and we feel it is best for me to declare for the 2015 NFL Draft."
Strong released the following statement regarding his decision:
"First I would like to thank Coach Graham and the staff for believing in me from day one. I’d like to thank the Sun Devil Nation, the fans, and all of the people who work behind the scenes that I encounter everyday that have been like a family to me. Most importantly, I would like to thank my teammates, my brothers, for having my back through thick and thin. Finally, I’d like to thank Jean Boyd and his academic staff for their dedication to Sun Devil Football. My two years at Arizona State University have produced the best experiences of my life.
“Again, I would like to thank everyone who played a part in my success. I am very blessed to have them in my life and I am grateful for that.
“This is my last week with this team and our focus is on the Duke Blue Devils and the Sun Bowl. We want to get this 10th win of the season.
“Once a Sun Devil, always a Sun Devil!"