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Justin Pugh declares for draft

Shamarko Thomas, Siriki Diabate, Justin Pugh

From left, Syracuse safety Shamarko Thomas (21), linebacker Siriki Diabate and left tackle Justin Pugh celebrate with the trophy after Syracuse defeated West Virginia 38-14 in the Pinstripe Bowl NCAA college football game at Yankee Stadium in New York, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)


Another underclassman threw his hat in the ring for consideration in April’s draft.

Syracuse left tackle Justin Pugh announced that he will forgo his final year with the Orange. Pugh started every game he played in his time at Syracuse and was All-Big East in each of the last two seasons. He’s been talked about as a possibility in the late first-round as left tackles always draw interest around draft day.

Pugh did miss the first four games of the season with a shoulder injury, though, and that will be something teams examine closely in the period before the draft. Pugh’s size and athleticism definitely make him look like a fit at the professional level, but he’ll need to prove healthy enough to do the job to get picked on the first night of the draft.

With players like Luke Joeckel, Taylor Lewan and Jake Matthews also weighing an early jump to the NFL, it could be a busy year for tackles in the first round.