SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) Notre Dame running back C.J. Prosise, who led the Fighting Irish in rushing with 1,032 yards this season, has announced he will skip his final year of eligibility and enter the NFL draft.
Prosise made the announcement Saturday with a message posted on Instagram and Twitter, saying he made the decision ''after a lot of thought and reflection.'' He thanked the Notre Dame coaches, staff, faculty and fans, saying: ''I couldn't have asked for a better university to play for.''
Prosise, who started at Notre Dame at safety before switching to receiver, changed positions last spring as coach Brian Kelly sought to take some of the load off Tarean Folston and Greg Bryant, the top two returning rushers from last season.
The original plan was for Prosise to continue playing some at slot receiver. He moved up to the backup running back spot when Bryant became academically ineligible, and became the starter after Folston, the leading rusher in 2014, sustained a season-ending knee injury in the opener against Texas.
Prosise rushed for 600 yards on 74 carries in the first four games, the best start ever for a Notre Dame running back, and had six touchdowns. He was the fourth-fastest back to reach 1,000 yards at Notre Dame. But he was slowed by injuries at the end of the season, sustaining a concussion against Pittsburgh and then sitting out against Wake Forest.
Prosise sustained a high ankle sprain the following week against Boston College, missed the regular-season finale against Stanford and got in for just one play against Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl on a pass he couldn't handle.
He carried the ball 156 times this season, averaging 6.6 yards per attempt, and finished with 11 touchdowns. Prosise didn't play as a freshman and has a year of eligibility left.
The Irish return Folston next season as well as Josh Adams, who broke the freshman rushing record at Notre Dame with 835 yards on 117 carries, a 7.1 average.
Prosise was one of five Notre Dame players who asked the NFL draft advisory board for an estimate of where he might be taken in the draft. The others were tackle Ronnie Stanley, who has announced he will enter the draft, and linebacker Jaylon Smith, receiver Will Fuller and cornerback KeiVarae Russell.