Denver Kirkland helped lead a dominant rushing attack the past two seasons at Arkansas, and now the work continues.
The junior offensive lineman announced on Twitter he will skip his senior season to enter the 2016 NFL Draft.
“The last three years at (University of Arkansas) has given me the opportunity to develop as a scholar, athlete and as a person. For that, I am forever grateful,” Kirkland said.
“After much thought, prayer and consultation with my family, I have decided to forego my senior year and take the next step toward fulfilling my lifelong goal of playing in the NFL.”
The 6-foot-5, 340-pound Miami (Fla.) native played left tackle for the Razorbacks. Hidden behind the team’s potent rushing attack was strong pass protection, anchored by Kirkland.
Arkansas allowed 14 sacks on the season, the fewest of any SEC team and tied for 10th-best mark in the nation. The Razorbacks’ rushing attack also ranked No. 34 nationally, averaging 197.31 yards on the ground per game. In 2014, Arkansas had two players rush for more than 1,000, in part because of a great offensive line.
The preseason All-American is projected by some analysts to be an interior offensive lineman in the NFL. ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. rated Kirkland as the top guard and a potential first-round selection.