Three days after a dominating win against Oklahoma State in the Sugar Bowl, Ole Miss offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil has declared for the 2016 NFL Draft, the school announced Monday.
“After weighing the decision with my family, I will forgo my senior season and enter the 2016 NFL Draft,” Tunsil said in a statement. “It’s been a lifelong dream to play in the NFL, and I’m excited about the challenge in front of me. I will always cherish my time at Ole Miss and the relationships with my teammates, coaches and staff. Those are my brothers, and I will always be a Rebel. I’m proud of what my class accomplished, and I know even bigger things are ahead for this program.
“I cannot thank the fans enough for how they embraced me and made my time in Oxford so special. I am going to bring the same passion to the NFL that I brought to Vaught-Hemingway and will make Rebel Nation proud every Sunday.”
Tunsil is the third player for the Rebels to announce their decision to forgo their senior season. Defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche announced his intentions after being suspended for the bowl game, and wide receiver Laquon Treadwell announced his decision earlier Monday.
The trio was a part of the historic 2013 recruiting class, which marked Ole Miss’ top class in program history.
“Few players have brought more joy to my life than Laremy Tunsil, and I’m so proud to see him take this next step in his life,” Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said in a statement. “I will always be grateful for the opportunity he gave us three years ago, and I look forward to seeing him walk across the stage at this year’s NFL Draft. With his spirit, hard work and determination, he has a bright future ahead of him.”
Tunsil, who missed seven games this season because of an NCAA investigation into violations, was a staple on the Rebels’ offensive line since he stepped on campus as a true freshman. He is widely considered as a top-five pick in April’s draft, and some have him projected as the top overall selection.
He finished his career at Ole Miss on a high note, even catching a touchdown pass in the Sugar Bowl. The Tennessee Titans have the No. 1 pick, and Tunsil could be protecting quarterback Marcus Mariota next season.