Auburn will have to find a new starting running back for next season, as Peyton Barber announced in a statement to AL.com that he will forgo his senior year to declare for the 2016 NFL Draft.
Barber ran for 1,016 yards and 13 touchdowns while averaging 78.2 rushing yards per game as a redshirt sophomore.
“I have decided to forego my eligibility at Auburn and enter the 2016 NFL Draft,” Barber said in the statement. “This was a very tough decision for many reasons but after my family and I prayed about it, I know I am ready for the next step and that this is the best decision for me.
“Auburn is a special place and having the opportunity to play football at Auburn has been a dream come true. I am close to graduating, so I will continue to work towards my degree even as I pursue my dream to play in the NFL. I would like to thank all of my coaches and all of the support staff at Auburn, especially Coach (Gus) Malzahn, Coach (Rhett) Lashlee and Coach (Tim) Horton. Thank you to all of my teammates as well. Lastly, thank you to the best fans in the world! I will always be an Auburn Tiger. War Eagle!”
This decision comes as somewhat of a surprise, as Barber still has two years of eligibility remaining at Auburn. He saw action in just six games in 2014 before assuming the feature back role this season. He was the eighth Tiger to eclipse the 1,000-yard milestone over the last seven seasons, according to AL.com’s Brandon Marcello.
Barber could have a high draft stock in a running back class that features only two tailbacks ranked inside CBSSports.com’s top 40 prospects.