AUSTIN (KXAN) — In a video post through the Players’ Tribune, Malik Jefferson announced he is leaving school early to enter the NFL Draft.
The only surprising part of the move is how long it took for the junior linebacker to announce his decision.
Jefferson, a Mesquite native, had to sit out the Texas Bowl due to a turf toe injury. Despite missing the season finale, he led the team in tackles with 110 — 37 more than the next closest total. He also had team bests in tackles for loss (10), sacks (4) and quarterback hurries (5).
The deadline for players to declare for the draft is January 15. With just over two weeks to do so, Jefferson becomes the fifth Longhorn to declare for the draft, joining offensive lineman Connor Williams, defensive backs DeShon Elliott and Holton Hill and punter Michael Dickson.
Jefferson was arguably the biggest recruit in Charlie Strong’s tenure, signing with Texas in 2015 and starting nearly ever game he played in. In 35 games, he compiled 233 tackles, 12 sacks, 25.5 tackles for loss and one touchdown.