For the second straight season, Indiana is losing an All-Big Ten rusher early to the NFL Draft.
Hoosiers running back Jordan Howard announced Monday that he will forego his junior season and enter his name in the draft, following the same path as Tevin Coleman, who did the same last winter.
Howard earned All-Big Ten honors this season, his first at Indiana after transferring in from the dissolved UAB program last offseason. Howard rushed for 1,213 yards this season, the third-most in the conference and a total that ranks 31st in the country, despite the banged-up Howard playing in just nine games.
He rushed for more than 100 yards in six games this season, surpassing the 200-yard mark twice in a win over Western Kentucky and a loss to Michigan. He had three multi-touchdown games.
Howard was bothered by injuries all season and missed four games, including the final two of the season: the rivalry win over Purdue and the bowl loss to Duke.
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Howard included this lengthy statement in Indiana's announcement Monday:
"After much thought and prayer, I have decided to forego my final year of eligibility to pursue my lifelong dream of playing in the NFL.
"My success to date would not have been possible without God and the support of family and countless people. I'd like to thank my parents, Dr. Reginald Howard (deceased) and Flora Williams for their unyielding and unwavering support over the years.
"My sincerest thanks to all of my coaches and teammates at Indiana University and the University of Alabama-Birmingham. I would like to personally thank former UAB coach Garrick McGee for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to play at the collegiate level. Coach Kevin Wilson, thank you for allowing me to be a part of a great football family. Coach Deland McCullough, thank you for coaching and pushing me to realize my true potential. Coach Mark Hill, thank you for inspiring me to work harder at strength and conditioning.
"To my IU family, I could have never imagined receiving the love and support that you all have shown me since my arrival on campus. A special thanks to the training staff, Christa Sist and IU academics.
"Today, because of the prayers, love and support of so many people, I'm one step closer to making my NFL dream a reality! God bless and Go Hoosiers!"