Penn State football’s Miles Sanders took to social media Thursday morning to announce his plans to declare for the NFL Draft.
The junior running back is the fifth Nittany Lion to announce this week that he will forgo his senior season to turn pro, joining defensive end Shareef Miller, defensive tackle Kevin Givens and offensive linemen Ryan Bates and Connor McGovern.
“I have so many people to thank for my experience at Penn State and so much love for my teammates, coaches and the FANS,” Sanders said in a post on Twitter. "The Penn State culture has allowed me to grow on and off the field while teaching me valuable life lessons along the way."
The Pittsburgh native had a strong first year as the Nittany Lions’ No. 1 running back, totaling 1,274 yards on the ground and reaching the end zone nine times.
Sanders earned second team All-Big Ten honors for his breakout campaign, finishing second overall in the conference in total rushing yards.
"So appreciative of Miles and his family for how they handled this entire process," Coach James Franklin said in a statement. "Miles is a student of the game and made the most of his opportunities when his time came. He did a great job leading the running back room this season. We are very proud of Miles and how he has grown during his entire Penn State career. We are looking forward to seeing what he can do at the next level."
There were many questions surrounding Sanders decision, as many thought another year would increase his draft stock. With that said, a weak running back draft class surely contributed to this decision. Most draft analysts have Sanders pegged as an early day three pick, but a quality combine performance could move him up.
Penn State will now turn to sophomores Ricky Slade and Journey Brown, in addition to transfer pick-up C.J. Holmes. Freshmen like Devyn Ford and Noah Cain may also factor into the offense next season.
During his Penn State tenure, Sanders didn’t have the easiest job, filling the shoes of Saquon Barkley one of the most dynamic athletes in Penn State’s history. However, he surpassed expectations, instantly becoming one of the Big Ten’s most efficient backs.
Sanders finished his career with 1,649 rushing yards, 25th in program hisory