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Penn State Football: Yetur Gross-Matos to Forgo Final Season, Enter NFL Draft

by on December 03, 2019 6:38 PM

Penn State football star defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos will forgo his final season of NCAA eligibility and enter the 2020 NFL Draft.

“I am so appreciative of [head] coach [James] Franklin and [defensive line] coach [Sean] Spencer for the opportunity to come to an outstanding university like Penn State,” Gross-Matos said in a statement released on Twitter. “Even though I am leaving, I have promised my family and Coach Franklin that I will continue to pursue my Penn State degree.”

Although he won’t be back in Happy Valley next season, Gross-Matos said he’s looking forward to playing in the Nittany Lions’ bowl game. Some NFL Draft prospects who declare prior to their team’s postseason game don’t play, but if his comments are any indication, Gross-Matos will follow in Saquon Barkley’s footsteps and suit up for Penn State one last time in whichever bowl game the team plays in.

Gross-Matos recorded 13.5 tackles for a loss of yardage and eight sacks throughout the 2019 regular season. He burst onto the scene as a star defensive end as a sophomore in 2018 by posting eight sacks and 20 stops for a loss. The star defensive end has led the Nittany Lions in sacks in each of the past two seasons, and he truly emerged as the leader of Sean Spencer’s Wild Dogs in 2019.

Some experts have projected Gross-Matos to be a very early selection in the 2020 NFL Draft. CBS Sports’ most recent mock draft includes the defensive end being selected No. 28 overall by the Seattle Seahawks, and the Sporting News’ latest mock draft predicts Gross-Matos being selected three spots earlier by the Dallas Cowboys.

Saquon Barkley was the last Penn Stater to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft when he went No. 2 overall to the New York Giants in 2018.

Gross-Matos' announcement came a few hours after draft-eligible Nittany Lion center Michal Menet announced his own plans to return for his senior season in 2020. Tight end Pat Freiermuth, who is also eligible for the draft, said on Saturday he will be back at Penn State next season.

Mikey Mandarino is a staff writer for Onward State.
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