Arizona State wide receiver Jaelen Strong announced Monday through the Devils’ sports information department that he will be playing his football as a professional in 2015 rather than return to school for his senior season.
“This has been one of the most difficult decisions of my life. I’ve spoken to my family and we feel it is best for me to declare for the 2015 NFL Draft,” Strong said in a statement.
Strong was a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award (given to Alabama’s Amari Cooper), a First Team All-Pac-12 performer and a member of five All-America teams this fall. The Philadelphia native was college football’s 15th-leading receiver with 75 grabs for 1,062 yards and 10 touchdowns despite missing Washington State and its 127th-rated pass defense in late November. His best game came against USC on Oct. 4 as he snared 10 receptions for 202 yards and three touchdowns, including a 46-yarder as time expired to lift the Sun Devils to a 38-34 win.
“Jaelen’s enormous impact was felt from the first day he stepped on the practice field with us more than 16 months ago. His work ethic, attention to detail and overall football IQ are just a few of his attributes that make him such a special talent,” said head coach Todd Graham.”It has been a great pleasure to watch him grow into the young man he has become – a leader off the field and a giver in his community.”
Strong earned Second Team All-Pac-12 honors as a sophomore in 2013 after collecting 75 receptions for 1,122 yards and seven scores.
The 6-3 pass catcher was Mel Kiper’s 17th-rated wide receiver in October.
Strong will close his college career in the Hyundai Sun Bowl against Duke on Saturday (2 p.m. ET, CBS).