AUBURN Auburn will need to replace its leading rusher.
Kerryon Johnson, the SEC's Offensive Player of the Year, is entering the NFL Draft.
"There aren't enough words to express how grateful I am of the opportunity Auburn University has given me," Johnson said in a statement via Twitter. "This is truly an amazing school with an amazing fan base. With that being said ... I have decided to enter the NFL Draft. Thank you all for the endless support that has not always been deserved. I love Auburn and the Auburn family. War Eagle!"
Draft projections for Johnson range from Draftanalyst.com's first or second round evaluation to third or fourth round by NFL Draft Scout.
Johnson, a second team All-American by the AP, FWAA, Sporting News and AFCA, had 1,391 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns, 24 receptions for 194 yards and two scores and a passing touchdown this season. After rib and shoulder injuries limited him in the SEC Championship Game, Johnson had 22 carries for 71 yards and a touchdown in Auburn's loss to UCF in the Peach Bowl.
"I would like to thank KJ for all he has done for our program over the last three years," Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said in a statement. "Kerryon has made this team better both on and off the field with his great character, competitiveness and leadership. He will be very successful at the next level and more importantly in life. We wish KJ nothing but the best."
A little over a month after signing with Auburn, Kerryon Johnson was among a group of students from Madison Academy to take a mission trip to Tabacunda, Ecuador.
The Huntsville native battled injuries throughout his college career, with a hamstring injury in the 2017 season opener sidelining him for two games. He suffered a right ankle injury during the 2016 season and had shoulder surgery following his freshman season in 2015.
Johnson finishes his college career with 519 carries for 2,494 yards and 32 touchdowns, 55 receptions for 478 yards and two touchdowns, 4 of 4 passing with two touchdowns and 26 kickoff returns for 653 yards.