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Boston College's Luke Kuechly will declare for NFL draft

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff  January 6, 2012 06:49 PM

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Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly will forgo his senior season and enter the NFL draft.

Projections have Kuechly as a first round draft pick, some as high as sixth overall.

Kuechly's honor list this season far surpassed the accomplishments of the Eagles, which staggered to a 4-8 record, Boston College's worst season since 1998. In addition to being a consensus All American for the second consecutive season, Kuechly again led the country in total tackles (191), solo tackles (102) and set a BC career record of 532 tackles over a three-year span. Kuechly also won several individual awards including the Butkus (best linebacker) as well as being named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year. He also was awarded the Lott IMPACT Trophy and the Bronko Nagurski Award, honoring the nation's top defensive player.

Through it all, Kuechly maintained a low key, "this is nice, but the team is important'' attitude. When he was done with his exams at BC for the semester he went home to Ohio to spend the holidays with his family to make his decision about the future -- at BC and beyond.

Kuechly is currently a semester ahead of schedule in his academic progress which means he could earn his degree at Boston College next December. In the past year such high profile top draft picks as Stanford QB Andrew Luck (last winter) and USC QB Matt Barkley have returned for their senior season in college.

He had until mid January to make his final decision and announcement. BC coach Frank Spaziani has maintained that having Kuechly return would have elevated the Eagles recruiting class considerably, especially at linebacker which is already stockpiled with productive players and potential stars such as Kevin Pierre-Louis, Steele DeVitto and Sean Duggan.

Kuechly has said that he still enjoyed going to school and being a student. But he also professed his love of the game of football. He came to BC three years ago as an undersized position player who was passed by some schools for being too small to be a linebacker and too slow to be a defensive back -- both of which he played at St. Xavier in Cincinnati. His metamorphosis to a two-time All American and high profile draft pick has been remarkable.

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