In the latest in a string of announcements, Syracuse became the latest FBS-level program to lose an underclassman standout to the NFL.
The Orange announced via ye olde press release Thursday evening that standout offensive tackle Justin Pugh (pictured, No. 67) has decided to forgo his final season of eligibility and enter the April draft. The decision comes after an injury curtailed the early portion of Pugh’s 2012 season.
“Coach Marrone and Coach Adkins have been great throughout my career, including through this process,” Pugh said in a statement. “I wanted to be honest with everyone as I made this decision and they were the same with me. My Syracuse career was the best four years of my life. My teammates, coaches, the staff and the fans have been great. I would not change anything about my decision to attend Syracuse or my career. I am so happy I came to Syracuse University. I will always be active in the Orange football program and the Syracuse community. I love the Orange. Go ‘Cuse.”
A shoulder injury not only knocked Pugh out of the whole of summer camp, it also kept him off the field for the first four games of the year. Despite that, Pugh was named first-team All-Big East for the second season in a row.
All told, Pugh started 34 games the past three seasons.
“Justin is a big part of this program turning the corner,” said head coach Doug Marrone. “He came in with us four years ago and gave us everything he had. We are proud of him for earning his degree and for what he has accomplished on the field as a leader of this team. He has earned it. I believe he will be very successful at the next level and in everything he does outside of football. Justin will always be part of the Orange football family.”
Pugh becomes the first offensive lineman to officially declare early for the draft. How’d I know that? By clicking HERE, of course.