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It’s been a rough week for Oregon football. First, head coach Mario Cristobal decided to peace out on the Ducks, and now the potential top pick in April’s NFL Draft, Kayvon Thibodeaux, will follow Cristobal out the door. The junior defensive end announced on Monday that not only is he foregoing his senior year as expected, but he also plans to skip Oregon’s bowl game.
“After much thought, consideration, and a lifetime of preparation, I have decided to forego my senior season of football and enter the NFL Draft, further pursuing my dreams,” wrote Thibodeaux via his Instagram.
— Kayvon Thibodeaux (@kayvont) December 7, 2021
In lieu of playing in the Alamo Bowl against Oklahoma on December 29 and risking injury, Thibodeaux will instead begin preparing for April’s Draft. The 6’5 defensive end is a consensus top five pick and will certainly be in the conversation to be selected first overall.
Though occasionally slowed by an ankle injury, Thibodeaux still played in 10 games this season, finishing with 49 tackles and seven sacks for the 14th-ranked Ducks. Over three seasons in Eugene, which included the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Thibodeaux recorded 19 career sacks.
“These last 3 years have truly been a sacred period of time that I have embraced in every step of my life,” said Thibodeaux.
In late November, Pro Football Focus rated Thibodeaux as the second best NFL prospect in April’s Draft, describing him as: “explosive, long and bendy edge rusher who’s only just scratching the surface of what he could be.”
That likely aligns with what NFL teams are thinking. As of late, the pros have gone Duck hunting in the spring. Thibodeaux projects to be the fifth Duck selected in the top 10 in the last seven seasons.
Follow along on Twitter: @OhioAF