Michigan State star OL announces NFL decision
It took longer than most expected, but Jack Conklin is cashing in.
The Michigan State offensive tackle announced in a release that he’ll be forgoing his final season of eligibility in East Lansing and heading for the NFL draft.
“The decision to forgo my final year was a very difficult decision,” Conklin said in a release. “I took time to talk to my family and the coaches to find out what the best decision would be for me. Ultimately, my family and I felt it was time to take the next step and start training for the NFL. I’m excited about it.
“I’m going to really miss being at Michigan State and everything about this place. I’ve loved it. Coach D was great – he gave me a chance to play Division I football when no one else believed in me. For him to give me that chance and to now be in this position is unbelievable. It’s a blessing to have been able to work with Coach D, Coach Staten and Coach Bollman. They really helped mentor me, especially in the ways of becoming a great offensive lineman. I’ll take everything that they’ve taught me and use it at the next level to help me become even a better player.”
The former two-star recruit penned a letter thanking MSU fans, teammates and coaches.
Conklin was projected by ESPN’s Todd McShay as a first-round pick in his first 2016 mock draft.
The All-B1G selection helped pave the way for one of the nation’s best offenses in the last three years. He started 38 games in his career, 35 of which at left tackle.
Conklin was a big reason the Spartans ran for over 200 yards in their victory against defending-national champion Ohio State in Columbus. He also held Penn State, the nation’s leader in tackles for loss, without a TFL for the first time all year.
He and center Jack Allen both figure to be two of the top offensive linemen in the 2015 draft. Conklin said his goal is to become a first-round pick.
The appeal of achieving his lifelong dream, he said, made it difficult to end a memorable run at Michigan State.
“My career really comes down to being part of a team and a group of guys that put Michigan State back on the map,” he said. “When I first got here, the teams in the past started to build a foundation here. While I was here, my teammates and I really have created this sense of championships around Michigan State.
“When you hear the name Michigan State, you think of Big Ten Championships and now, a team that’s going to be in playoff contention, year in and year out.”