Flowers leaves Miami, will enter NFL Draft
CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) Miami left tackle Ereck Flowers is skipping his final season of eligibility and will enter next year's NFL Draft, the school announced Monday.
Some boards list Flowers as a potential first-round selection.
The 6-foot-6, 330-pound Flowers appeared in 12 of Miami's 13 games, drawing rave reviews for playing well against Florida State despite not even being two weeks removed from surgery to repair a torn meniscus.
''I could not be happier for Ereck and his family as he prepares to live out his lifelong dream of playing in the National Football League,'' Miami coach Al Golden said in a statement released by the school. ''Ereck has made a lot of sacrifices to put himself in this position.''
Flowers is the second underclassman to leave Miami in two days. Running back Duke Johnson, who set or tied at least 11 Miami records in his three seasons as a Hurricane, announced on Sunday he was skipping his senior season.
And that may have been fitting: Flowers and Johnson were teammates at Miami Norland High before coming to the Hurricanes, who went 6-7 this season.
Flowers' departure means Miami will need at least three new starters on the offensive line in 2015, with Shane McDermott and Jon Feliciano having now exhausted their collegiate eligibility.
''I am really proud of him for the maturity and professionalism he displayed throughout this entire process,'' Golden said of Flowers. ''He is truly making an educated decision and one that is best for he and his family.''
The Hurricanes haven't had a first-round pick since Kenny Phillips was taken No. 31 by the New York Giants in 2008. With Flowers, Johnson and senior linebacker Denzel Perryman all in the 2015 draft, Miami would figure to have a first- or second-round selection for the first time since 2011.