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McCoy to declare for NFL Draft

University of Pittsburgh star tailback LeSean McCoy is expected to announce Friday he will turn professional.

Two family sources confirmed that McCoy is scheduled to meet with Pitt head coach Dave Wannstedt tomorrow and, barring a last-minute change of heart, plans to declare hardship to enter the April 25-26 NFL Draft. The application deadline for underclassmen is Jan. 15.

The news may stun the Pitt campus.

As recently as Monday, Wannstedt said he expected McCoy to return for his junior season.

The 6-foot, 205-pound McCoy, a two-time first-team All-Big East selection, is eligible because he is three years removed from the graduation of his high school class. McCoy left Harrisburg’s Bishop McDevitt High midway through his senior year and spent three semesters at Milford Academy, a prep school in New Berlin, N.Y., before enrolling at Pitt.

McCoy evaded questions about entering the NFL Draft all season. He declined comment for this story.

In November before Pitt played West Virginia in the 101st Backyard Brawl, McCoy said he was “definitely” returning.

“There’s a lot of stuff I’ve got to prove,” McCoy said. “I don’t think I did enough here at this university. There’s a lot left to achieve here.”

Wannstedt told reporters in a teleconference Monday that, after discussions with McCoy and his parents both before and after the Brut Sun Bowl, the tailback was “excited to come back for another year.” Daphne McCoy, the running back’s mother, said Monday the family was awaiting a report from the NFL Draft advisory board, which graded McCoy a first-round pick.

Fear of injury appears to be a key factor in the decision. A fractured leg ended McCoy’s high school senior season early.

McCoy rushed for 1,488 yards and 21 touchdowns on 308 carries this past season, ranking 10th in the NCAA in rushing and tied for second in scoring. He became Pitt’s first back-to-back 1,000-yard rusher since Curvin Richards in 1988-89. McCoy’s 2,816 rushing yards topped the 2,690 yards gained by Pitt legend Tony Dorsett in 1973-74.

Nearly two dozen underclassmen have already declared for the NFL Draft, including five running backs: juniors Donald Brown of Connecticut, Shonn Green of Iowa, P.J. Hill of Wisconsin, Chris Wells of Ohio State and Georgia redshirt sophomore Knowshon Moreno.

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