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The Journal Gazette

Monday, December 12, 2016 10:14 pm

DeShone Kizer leaving Irish for NFL

Chris Goff | The Journal Gazette

Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer is entering the NFL draft, the school announced Monday.

"DeShone is an extremely gifted quarterback that was faced with a difficult decision," Irish coach Brian Kelly said in a statement issued by the team. "He could return as a captain at Notre Dame -- a place that he loves and with a program that respects him immensely. Or, he could begin the next chapter in his life and accept the opportunity that likely awaits in the NFL.

"While he chose the latter, the type of leadership DeShone displayed this past season will benefit our program moving forward. He’ll certainly be missed on and off the field, but we’re very happy for him and his family. DeShone will always represent this university with the utmost professionalism and class."

Kizer arrived on campus in 2014 and redshirted. An injury to Malik Zaire allowed him the opportunity to start in his freshman season in 2015, and Kizer took advantage by throwing for 21 touchdowns against 10 interceptions.

As a sophomore in 2016, Kizer threw for 26 touchdowns and nine interceptions amid Notre Dame's 4-8 season and was voted the team's Most Valuable Player by teammates.

In a video on Bleacher Report, Kizer said, "Thank you, NFL-bound."

The 6-foot-4, 230-pounder leaves Notre Dame ranked in the career top 10 in program history in 19 different offensive categories.

Projections have Kizer as a possible first- or second-round pick in the seven-round draft.